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Learn customer service strategies from other companies

When it comes to your company’s online customer reviews, sometimes you have to sift through several bad ones to get to the good ones. Occasionally, you might come across a truly ugly one that makes your blood boil, but how do you respond? With anger or love?

Companies, whether small or large, need to be at the top of their game when responding to customer feedback. This requires them to be prompt, witty and gracious. The goal is to earn public approval with exemplary customer service. Take a hint from these businesses in learning what to do and what not to do with your customer service strategy.

Here are the good, the bad and the ugly examples that represent some dos and don’ts of customer service.

The good: An example of a company doing it right

JetBlue is scoring points with customers due to its awesome customer service track record. The airline is serious about pleasing its customers and is willing to go the extra mile for a positive review. The company has more than 1.8 million followers on Twitter, more than 1 million likes on Facebook and hundreds of positive reviews on Yelp.

A tactic that JetBlue employs is that it doesn’t leave its customers hanging. The company responds to complaints and feedback quickly – most times within 10 minutes. The airline doesn’t stop there; it works toward surpassing customers’ expectations. For instance, when one customer, Alexa Burrows, was flying home to Boston, she went on Twitter to express her happiness about arriving home and jokingly tweeted for JetBlue to throw her a welcome home parade. JetBlue’s Twitter team sent a message to the Boston airport staff to throw Alexa a welcome home parade when she arrived, which they did. How awesome is that?

One secret to JetBlue’s top-notch customer service is that employees engage with customers cleverly, using their wits and creativity. They can’t make everyone’s wishes come true, but they do selectively respond to the online comments that provide an opportunity to add value to the company.

The bad: An example of a company doing it wrong

American Airlines is doing it wrong and customers are noticing. The airline is known for its over-the-top positivity, even when its optimistic responses don’t make an ounce of sense.

Customers suspected that something was up when American Airlines kept replying to customer complaints on Twitter with repetitive, upbeat responses. No matter what the commenter said, American Airlines replied with something along the lines of “thanks for your support.” Confused customers quickly got on Twitter to tell American Airlines that the jig was up and that robo-tweeting is lame.

Sending automatic responses is tricky. In the case of American Airlines, the automated responses didn’t make sense in the situation. The lesson: Have robotic responses, but also have humans to address the public when the situation turns sour.

The ugly: An example of a company doing it really wrong

If you are running a company, your first priority is to satisfy your customers, especially those who dislike your company. One restaurant’s response to a negative online review provides a perfect example of how not to treat your customers – ever.

The chef at Pigalle in Boston lost his cool when a patron lambasted his cooking skills on Facebook. She wrote that the pumpkin pie tasted like vomit and that it wasn’t worth the price she paid for it: $200. Instead of offering a free meal or refund, the chef responded viciously and rudely – with several expletives. It took some time – and a public and very nasty online exchange – but in the end, the chef realized his mistake and made amends with the miffed customer. Let’s hope he learned his lesson and leaves the “angry chef” gimmick to Gordon Ramsay.

Regardless of what a customer says about your company, you have to handle it with grace. If you do anything else, the entire Internet may turn against you – and ruin your company.

Responding promptly to online reviews and complaints is an important step in providing terrific customer service. It’s also extremely time-consuming. ReviewMaxer is an online review management software application that helps companies manage customer feedback and also improves their online reputation. ReviewMaxer efficiently monitors, collects and promotes your online reviews from one central dashboard. Sign up for a free demo to see how this cloud-based software can save you time and protect your company online. Read the ReviewMaxer blog for more tips on how to handle negative reviews and how to get your company at the top of search listings today.

 

Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Written by: Paul Cook


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5 ways to respond to unhappy customers and improve your company’s reputation

Before the Internet, a customer called or visited a business to complain. The only people to hear the angry customer’s complaints were the customers in the store at that time who may gossip to their neighbor about the incident. As a result, there was little negative effect on the business due to a customer’s frustration.

Now that unhappy consumers can take their complaints online, it’s a different story entirely.

When customers complain, they don’t spread the news by personally telling 10 people. Instead, they post their complaints on sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Google + and even Twitter. One comment attracts several others and has the potential to reach millions of people. As a business owner, what can you do?

The first step is to make unhappy customers your number one priority, doing what you can to make sure they don’t post a negative review about your business. In the event you are dealing with an angry customer, always address the individual with kindness. If a person posts a negative review or complaint about your business online, here are some useful strategies you can use:

  1. Automate the customer review process.
    Invest in an automated system that notifies you when a customer has posted a review about your business. Online review management software allows you to send customers a request for a review. And, it gives your customers options to post their reviews on several different review sites.

If they do post negative feedback, the system provides them with an option to post on review sites that people rarely visit to search for reviews. If customers leave positive reviews, the opposite happens, and they get sites such as Yelp and Facebook, thereby pushing your more positive reviews and comments to the top of the search engine listings.

  1. Be gentle with your responses.
    When you read a negative review about your business, it often leaves you fuming. Your anger is certainly just, but you don’t want to lose a customer or create a bad impression for others. You should pause to regain your composure, and then respond to the customer with kindness and sincerity: “We apologize about your bad experience with us. How may we fix the situation?” or “To make it up to you, we can offer you a discount on your next purchase with us.”

Think with your head and not your heart. Your heart will want to rip the bad reviewer’s comment to shreds, but your head will want you to maintain a good relationship with the customer.

  1. Think human, not robot.
    Put yourself in the shoes of the customer to see how you would like the company to handle the situation. When you draft a reply, make sure you put some human elements in the response. A robotic reply will not appease your customers and may only fuel their anger. Be as humane and sincere as possible with your responses.
  2. Reply to most reviews.
    If you are unable to respond to every review on the site, employ someone to do it. The reviews you shouldn’t reply to are those from people who seem inexplicably prejudice toward your business or those who are making unreasonable requests that you can’t fulfill. Train your employees to identify comments such as these and avoid responding. Also, instruct employees how to handle general complaints, such as accidentally charging someone too much for his or her food – perhaps by apologizing and giving the customer’s money back or offering a free meal.
  3. Make customer satisfaction your mission.
    Make customers your business’s top priority. Tell your employees that even if they have to go the extra mile to make sure a customer leaves satisfied, they should. Adopt customer satisfaction practices such as sending flowers, upgrading shipping or offering refunds. You can also tell your employees to think outside the box when trying to please customers. When your business focuses all their efforts on ensuring the happiness of its customers, reviewers are sure to celebrate the company’s customer-centric approach on review sites.

It’s difficult for businesses to keep track of everything being said about them on the Internet. But it’s critical to manage and control the reviews and complaints in order to protect your brand and reputation. Take control of your online reviews today with ReviewMaxer. This powerful, cloud-based software provides its users with a proactive review strategy to quickly and easily manage reviews and comments from more than 500 sites. Sign up for a free demo to see how the ReviewMaxer software works and read the blog for more tips and resources to protect your company’s reputation and strengthen your business.

 

Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Written by: Paul Cook


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Learn ways to improve your online reputation

We live in the digital age where positive online reviews are a valuable asset to restaurants. Four- and five-star ratings solidify the decisions of potential customers who are considering their dining options. These ratings offer credibility to restaurants because anyone can go online through social media and review sites to share a positive or negative review.

If you own a restaurant, here are five reasons why you need to care about your online reviews:

  1. Good reviews build trust with your new customers.

According to a 2013 survey by Dimensional Research, 90 percent of customers say online reviews influence their buying decisions. Positive reviews indicate that a restaurant offers amazing customer service, an awesome atmosphere and top-quality food.

  1. Positive reviews are a great way to market your restaurant online.

A good review can easily be worth its online marketing weight in gold. A local consumer review survey in 2014 by BrightLocal revealed an interesting insight into the growing importance of online reviews and their outcomes. The research showed 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations in their purchasing decisions. Another study showed steady growth in online reviews, with 72 percent of consumers saying positive reviews help them trust a local business. Keep in mind that a steady and frequent online presence makes a huge impact on potential customers.

  1. Search engines and mobile apps help attract customers to your restaurant.  

Search engines and mobile apps are a great way to encourage people to visit your restaurant who might not know about you or might be visiting your area. Not only do they help drive business, they also give you a chance to make a lasting first impression. Try updating your website or offering online coupons and loyalty points on your website or mobile app. Apps such as Yelp, Foursquare, Urbanspoon and Zomato provide ways to improve your online reputation and allow you to interact with your customers.

  1. Bad online reviews are hard to overcome.

Let’s face it: Negative reviews are tough for business. They drive potential customers away from your restaurant and make your existing customers question whether they want to visit again. If negative reviews happen, remember that you can't control every customer experience, mistake or circumstance. Counteract your negative reviews by highlighting more positive reviews from your other customers. Also, use a negative review as insight. This will show you care about your customers and will improve your customer service and customer experience.

  1. No online presence makes your restaurant invisible.

When you don’t have any online reviews for your restaurant, people may not think of your restaurant at all. No matter the size of your restaurant, having no online presence or reviews can be just as detrimental to your restaurant as having negative reviews. Facebook and Instagram are great social media outlets that almost everyone uses daily and provide a terrific platform to get your restaurant noticed. Once you’re comfortable on social media, try taking the next step and registering your restaurant on a popular online review website.

Restaurant reviews online play a critical role in driving business. If you aren’t actively managing your online reputation, you’re missing out on a great way to add revenue. If you’re new to online reviews or the process seems overwhelming, try online review management software like ReviewMaxer. ReviewMaxer is an affordable and easy-to-use system to manage your company’s online reviews and reputation. Use ReviewMaxer to promote your positive reviews and interact with your customers to resolve negative reviews. Sign up today for your free demo or check out the ReviewMaxer blog for advice to improve your restaurant's online reputation.

 

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Justin Hamilton


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3 reasons why positive reviews are key to engaging new customers

Before you set foot into a salon or spa and trust a stranger to make changes to your physical appearance, you’ve most likely gone through a long list of referrals and reviews. The salon and beauty industry flourishes through positive reviews based on customers’ experiences. Often, the first step people take when they are interested in trying a new salon or product is to search the web for online reviews, testimonials and even YouTube videos.

It’s increasingly easy for brands to generate awareness about their services through influencer marketing on social media. One way is through posting with hashtags that result in a trending conversation. Customers who had a disappointing experience at a salon are more likely to share their opinions over those who had great experiences. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for companies in the beauty industry to generate more positive reviews in order to attract new customers.

Here are three benefits to encouraging your salon and spa customers to leave reviews about their experiences.

1. Receive free online advertising. 

Teaming up with social media influencers who push a product or service they truly believe in will promote your salon or product and expand your brand awareness as a whole. People who come across an influencer’s positive review are more aware of what your company sells and what you have to offer. When positive reviews outweigh the negative ones, more people are willing to choose your company.

2. Form a closer connection with the customer. 

When you take into consideration the experiences your customers have, it provides an opportunity to connect with more prospective customers. You should use customer feedback to tailor your services or products to better fit your audience. This sends the message to your customers that you are paying attention to your reviews. Engaging with customers who leave positive reviews as well as negative ones shows customers their experiences are crucial to your company’s success. You might not be able to respond to everyone, but a simple thank you or like goes a long way. When responding to reviews, it’s important to personalize your message. Often, the consumer will feel connected to the brand and is more likely to promote your business.

3. Establish trust and credibility. 

Your potential clients feel confident in their decision to use your service or product when they read how happy your previous clients were with you. Reviews offer valuable information from your previous customers, like how well their experiences were or how a new product is worth the money. Creating consistently good products or services will ensure your credibility and trust in your current and potential clients.

ReviewMaxer makes it easier to respond quickly to negative reviews and engage with the customers who left positive ones, ultimately improving your overall online reputation and brand awareness. Having the ability to engage with customers who leave reviews with real-time alerts will help establish a closer connection.

Watch this free demonstration to see how ReviewMaxer software works or Buy Now.

 

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Amanda Murguido


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The importance of positive reviews and how they drive your company

You own a successful company. Your customers tell you they enjoy working with your company and that they would recommend you to their network. However, you’re not getting the traction you desire from your website. Have you considered your online review presence? What about your SEO presence? Is your company listed on the first page of online search results? Is your online review presence negative or minimal? These factors may be negatively impacting your business, and SEO might be one of your biggest areas for improvement in driving business.

According to a consumer review survey by SEO research company BrightLocal, 85 percent of consumers read online reviews and 90 percent claim that positive reviews influence their buying decisions. Online reviews matter, and in a world of web searching – especially for local companies – it can make a business stand out amongst its competitors.

Here are two ways online reviews improve your SEO.

  1. Reviews improve trustworthiness.

The more online reviews you have and the better representation you have online, the more likely customers will consider doing business with your company. It’s the power of social proof. People want reassurance that they are indeed making the best decision for their money. The more confidence you give prospects, the better chance they will choose you. A strong presence of online reviews influences your rankings in SEO.

  1. New reviews produce traffic.

Search engines want to see that your website is making new content, whether that’s through new landing pages, blog posts or customer reviews. They want to see that reviews are frequently added. A search on tripadvisor.com for best hotels in your area usually gives you the most recent and top-rated review for a specific hotel. The newer the positive review, the better it makes your customer feel about the recent activity of your business. This leads to your website getting more clicks, which in turn influences the consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Online reviews are important to the growth of your company and help generate a better return on SEO. ReviewMaxer is an online review management software application that helps companies manage customer reviews. ReviewMaxer monitors and collects your online reviews. Sign up today for a free demo or visit the ReviewMaxer blog for more tips.

 

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Justin Hamilton


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How to improve your brand and increase engagement

There's a very good reason that companies include testimonial pages on their websites. Did you know that research from YouGov has shown that 78 percent of Americans look at reviews before making a purchase, and 88 percent find reviews about as trustworthy as personal recommendations from their inner circle of friends and family? Those online reviews are powerful …which is why it's too bad that more businesses don't know how to use them properly.

The testimonial page is just one tool that should be in your online review toolbox. Let's talk about how to manage a broader, more effective review strategy by tapping into the social market.

Your industry and your reviews

While social channels are a popular breeding ground for reviews, it's a good idea to start by examining which channels you should focus on. Begin by asking yourself: Where do my potential customers go for reviews? Which channels will have the most impact when it comes to posting reviews? Relevancy is different for everyone, but here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Yelp is a powerful retail/restaurant review tool, but interest is starting to fade due to overuse and concerns about spamming, poor reviews, etc. For now, Yelp is still necessary for many industries, but expect it to be supplanted in coming years.
  • Google business profiles and Facebook are still requirements for nearly every industry. These are high-profile channels that directly impact both customers and your SEO. When in doubt, focus efforts here because these channels tend to have the most impact, even in B2B fields.
  • Be specific. Many industries have specific sites to garner reviews – think of Zagat for restaurants or Vitals for health care. Search for review sites unique to your industry and target them.
  • Use metrics. Examine your traffic: Where does it come from? What ads have the best conversion rates? This should point to social sites where you need to focus efforts.

A call to action for reviews

Once you know which social media channels you need to pursue – what’s next? A good review strategy requires effective calls to action. There are several places to put these calls to action. A solution that works for many companies is creating a landing page specifically for reviews, using simple forms that allow customers to quickly file a review. After a transaction, emails and links can point customers toward these landing pages with a simple request for a positive review about their experiences. Brick-and-mortar transactions can do the same with a little message on the receipt or an add-on to receipt emails.

Another powerful tool, especially for targeting specific networks, is a set of share buttons to allow customers to instantly share their reviews or visit the business profile where they can provide star reviews and messages for a particular social media site.

You should also consider incentives, especially when it comes to larger clients. Offering deals and discounts in exchange for reviews is common in many business circles; so don't feel bad about including rewards.

Using reviews when you have them

Positive reviews are starting to roll in thanks to your well-placed calls to action. Now, what do you do with them? It's smart to separate them into four different categories:

  1. Testimonials to share through website and email.

These are longer, more detailed positive reviews that are great for sharing in the right formats.

  1. Short reviews to share on social media.

These reviews are shorter and have excellent blurbs, ideal for posting on social media with a link to the review and a note about happy customers.

  1. Reviews that deserve a response.

These are reviews that raise important questions or comments that you should answer.

  1. Reviews you can ignore.

These reviews are far from useless and they contribute to overall review scores, but there's nothing much you can do with them, so don't waste energy on them.

Creating conversation

Finally, let's talk a little about poor reviews. Studies have shown that 4 out of 5 consumers back off from purchase decisions if they run across a negative online review. Here's what to do in response: answer poor reviews when possible. It doesn't matter if the review is unfair or doesn't make sense, post a reply, comment or apology. You aren't doing this for the poor review itself (although any toxic customer that you can convert is a win); you are doing this for new customers who are checking out reviews. If they see you are explaining or at least answering the negative reviews, they will be much less likely to let those reviews affect them!

Obviously, a successful review strategy requires a significant investment of time and labor (and it's probably not something you want to leave to interns). If you currently don't have the time to spare, consider using review management software to manage customer feedback and encourage positive customer reviews. ReviewMaxer is an affordable way to effectively manage your company’s reviews and online reputation – and it is extremely easy to use. Sign up for a free demo to see how this cloud-based software can save you time and promote your company online.



Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Written by: Nick Rojas


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