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Hint: Don’t do this!

It’s no longer enough for an organization to create a basic website and call it a day. In today’s digital world, if your business isn’t active on social media, you’re missing an essential marketing component.

The same goes for customer reviews. In fact, according to a recent survey, while 35 percent of consumers say that one negative review can convince them not to purchase a product, an overwhelming 92 percent of consumers will hesitate to buy if there are no reviews at all. This means that having zero customer reviews is actually a much bigger problem than having one negative review among the positive ones.

Even the best companies receive negative reviews, and they know there’s a right way to go about addressing customer complaints. Lots of companies struggle with how to deal with negative feedback on Yelp, but that’s just one platform. Many companies now rely on their Facebook pages for business listings, ad promotion and customer reviews. Because it’s a social site that’s fraught with oversharing, you need to be especially attentive when dealing with unfavorable feedback. If you aren’t careful, you could easily be swept up in a commenting storm that has serious consequences for your brand’s reputation.

The most famous example: Amy’s Baking Company

After Scottsdale, Arizona, restaurant Amy’s Baking Company appeared on an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares,” the owners took to the company Facebook page to defend themselves from an onslaught of negative comments. On the show, Ramsay actually gave up on the couple and walked off for the first time in the history of the series, deeming them too difficult to work with. After the episode aired, the owners proved that they were not, in fact, victims of clever reality TV editing. Their social media updates quickly escalated to the point where they verbally attacked commenters, threatened legal action against them, and then – like so many social media cautionary tales before them – claimed their page had been hacked.

Amy’s Baking Company was already in trouble; it had garnered dozens of negative reviews on Yelp and Google and further unsavory details emerged about the couple after their “Kitchen Nightmares” episode aired. Their infamous Facebook meltdown pushed things over the edge. The company eventually closed its doors.

What happened with Amy’s Baking Company is an over-the-top example, and it certainly doesn’t represent the norm. But it’s a lesson every business should learn about how social media practices impact customer loyalty and brand image.

The number one rule of online reviews: You should always respond to negative Facebook posts, comments and reviews. By choosing to stay silent, you allow the consumer to have the last word and give the impression that you simply want the problem to go away. You should also fight the temptation to remove negative posts, which could actually backfire, as consumers will be suspicious if every review is overwhelmingly positive.

Use caution when responding

In the same way that you should never write an email while angry, you shouldn’t respond to a negative review if you’re feeling angry or hurt. If you need to, take a few hours to calm down before responding. Be respectful of the customer’s opinions and respond in a way that shows you want to make it right. When you respond to negative reviews with patience and sincerity, you send a clear signal to your other customers.

Dishonest reviews

What about the times when a customer is actually dishonest in a review? While your first instinct may be to aggressively defend your reputation, don’t. Apologize for the customer’s experience, point out any false details without addressing blame or becoming defensive and make every attempt to make it right. Even if there’s nothing you can do to change a customer’s mind in a particular circumstance, other customers will see how well you handled the situation.

Above all, you shouldn’t take personal offense to Facebook comments and reviews, but you should take them seriously. By responding in a prompt and thoughtful manner, you can turn a bad experience into a positive impression.

Consumers expect businesses to be active on social media, and they use customer comments and reviews to help them make buying decisions. Every business should take steps to generate customer reviews and carefully respond to negative reviews. (It’s a nice touch to respond to positive reviews – a simple “thank you” will do.) A reputation management tool can help you keep track of your online customer reviews and your all-important online reputation.

Watch this free demonstration video to see how ReviewMaxer software works and how it improves your online reputation.

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Matt Harding

Matt Harding is the founder and creative director at Fan & Fuel in Carlsbad, CA. The design and digital strategy group creates branding, e-commerce, social media and digital marketing solutions to connect audiences in the manufacturing, service, retail and lifestyle trend markets.


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Reputation management software helps companies hear what customers are saying

In the real world, you hope that your satisfied customers would be kind enough to spread the word about your services or products. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing if your customers actually use the power of their voices to tell others how amazing your company is.

But you can find out if they spread the word virtually. Customers are frequently leaving feedback on popular review sites such as Google+, Yelp and TripAdvisor for the entire world to see. Have you researched your company online? Did you know that 87 percent of people will not choose your business if it has a one- or two-star rating and/or several negative reviews?

Why your business needs online review management software

Through review managing software, you will be able to give your customers a voice. The concept is simple: After they do business with you, customers will receive a notification to review your company. With positive reviews, they will have options to post their feedback on the most popular and trending review sites, earning your business recognition and trust among consumers. And here’s the best part: If customers leave negative reviews, the software conveniently provides them with options to post on lesser-known review sites.

Reviews aren’t the only thing you should be concerned about; the stars play an important role too

Would you eat at a restaurant with a three-star rating? If given a choice, you would most likely select another one with a better rating. A three-star rating only convinces 57 percent of people of the credibility of a business, and most customers will pass on anything below that. Here’s the kicker: A business with a four-star rating will entice a whopping 94 percent of consumers.

What happens if your business has negative reviews?

According to researchers from Cornell University, unfavorable reviews can mean the death of your business. It’s harsh, but research doesn’t lie. New businesses are especially at the mercy of customer reviews if they want to remain in the race, but all business owners should seriously consider investing in online review management software to help them encourage positive feedback to counteract the negative reviews.

Don’t gamble with your business’s future!

It’s critical to manage and control online reviews and complaints on your business in order to protect your reputation. It’s also useful to increase your company’s star ratings and positive feedback on review websites to grow awareness of your brand. ReviewMaxer can do both. 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 demonstration to see how the ReviewMaxer software works and read the blog for more tips and resources to protect your company’s reputation and increase consumer recognition and trust.

 

Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Written by: Paul Cook


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3 ways your company can gain more positive reviews

Facebook mobile now includes a company’s review star average, making positive online reviews even more important to businesses. The review star average is prominent, so when potential customers go to your Facebook page to decide whether they want to eat at, buy from or do business with your company, having a high review star average will be crucial.

According to Entrepreneur, a three-week survey of U.S. internet users revealed that more than one in three wouldn’t eat at a restaurant that had less than four stars. The internet plays a huge role in the consumer’s decision-making process. Let’s say you’re on vacation and you use Facebook to research the restaurants recommended by the front desk. One restaurant has three stars and the other has four and a half. Which restaurant would you try first?

Company reviews are very important to modern consumers, which is why Facebook made them even easier to access.

Here are three ways you can encourage more positive online reviews:

      1. Offer an incentive.

This is a win/win situation. The customer receives a coupon after leaving a review – positive or negative – for his or her next visit that encourages him or her to come back to your business, which could result in another purchase from that same customer. 

      2. Engage with your customers.

Customers want to be heard. For positive reviews, responding with “Thank you for the great review!” or simply liking the review goes a long way. For negative reviews, responding quickly and genuinely is important.

      3. Turn negative reviews into positive ones.

  • When a customer leaves a negative review, apologize and then offer an incentive for that customer to return. This gives your company a second chance to make a better impression, and hopefully the customer will go back and rewrite his or her review.

    You can accomplish all three of these tactics with reputation management software.

    We recommend ReviewMaxer. It’s proactive in reaching out to customers who had a positive experience but aren’t motivated to leave a review, while also reaching out to customers who had a negative experience before they go online and vent, potentially causing your review average to decrease. You can also offer coupons and discounts that encourage customers to leave reviews, and you can thank customers who left positive reviews as well as make amends with customers who left negative reviews.

     


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