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Vacation days aren’t always easy to come by, so most people want to make sure their time away from work is well-spent. As a travel agent or agency, you help your busy clients plan something personal that they may have dreamed about for months or even years. They want their vacation days in the hands of an experienced and talented agent – one with the ability to get the best rates, deals on activities and trip insurance.

With the existence of free vacation-planning websites, like Kayak and Travelocity, as well as large corporations with their own planning services, like Disney, you need to prove that your services add value. As an agent, you provide a personal touch to the vacation that these companies don’t. Many people use a travel agency based on feedback from others, which is why reviews are the most convenient way for these people to verify that you are a stellar agent.  

Here are our top three suggestions on how to get more clients reviewing your service:

  1. Ask for a review just after they’ve booked their trip.

When all your work and planning is done, all your clients have to do is anxiously await their vacation. Your expert customer service and planning is still fresh in their minds, and they’re able to give a fair and unbiased review.

  1. Ask once they’ve returned from their trip.

Your clients enjoyed a wonderful, memorable vacation. While they’re still glowing with that post-vacay bliss is a great time to remind them who helped make it all possible. Check in and ask how they enjoyed their vacation, reminding them to review your service.

  1. Offer referrals and discounts.

Offer discounts for clients who refer their friends to your services. Tons of businesses do this, and it’s a great way to organically grow your customer base. You can also create a hashtag and encourage clients to share photos from their trip with you on social media, tagging your company or using the hashtag to raise more awareness.

Getting potential clients to trust you with a service like vacation planning is a tricky business – you’re dealing with the consumer’s special limited resource (vacation days), and you face competition from free websites and other corporate vacation planning services. Having plenty of positive reviews is critical in persuading a prospect that your service is necessary and superior.

Using a site like ReviewMaxer ensures you get more great reviews by making it easier for your satisfied customers to let others know what a great job you did. Schedule a 10-15 minute demo and see how ReviewMaxer can help your travel agency grow online.

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Macey Wilson


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Apartment complexes should use close consumer connection to attract new residents

As an apartment complex manager, your consumers don’t simply judge your business based on their experiences in your leasing office. They’re judging you the entire time they rent space from you. They will consider the following:

  • How thorough and engaging the tour of the complex is the first day.
  • How responsive you are to maintenance requests.
  • How often prices increase.
  • How friendly the staff is.

In searching for an apartment, prospects will look online for reviews and ratings from previous renters. It’s crucial your company has a positive online reputation. Since most people are usually only motivated to review businesses when they’re unhappy, there are measures you can take to make the most of your residents’ positive feedback and boost your online reputation. 

We listed our top three reasons why, as an apartment manager, you need to focus on your online reviews just as much as your residents’ day-to-day experiences.

  1. Apartments aren’t like any other consumer good or service.

For many consumers, choosing an apartment to live in is a different experience from choosing where to shop or eat. It’s a bigger commitment, so people are likely to do extensive research. This is one reason reviews matter more to apartment complexes. Leases can last from a few months to a few years, and your prospective consumers want to make sure previous tenants were happy with your company the whole time. Google and Facebook reviews are bound to pop up in their research for the best complex, and if you have no reviews or several negative reviews, prospective renters will immediately disregard your business. Most cities have many apartment options; the way to stand out is by asking for positive online reviews from your current tenants.  

  1. No reviews or bad reviews bring down your credibility.

There are many factors that go into where someone decides to live. Beyond the features you advertise, prospective residents want to know how other people like living there. Was the staff cordial? Did maintenance fix issues in a timely manner? If you don’t have any reviews, prospects will feel like signing a lease with you is a risky shot in the dark. Even worse, if only dissatisfied consumers leave reviews, prospective residents will assume your business is bad. You need to make sure as many of your residents as possible are sharing their honest opinions of your complex. One way to encourage feedback is through referral bonuses on rent – if tenants like where they live, why not encourage them to tell others about their experience?     

  1. Different tenants have different experiences.

A review for an apartment complex could be from someone who lived there a few months or a few years. The experiences of short-term tenants versus long-term tenants factors into how they review you. Maybe someone lived at your complex in the midst of loud renovations and never got to enjoy the benefits from the remodel. This tenant wouldn’t have as favorable an opinion as someone who was able to use all those new amenities and perks. Ask reviewers to specify how long they lived at your complex and what was going on while they were there, so people reading the reviews have a better understanding of the situation. Remember to share positive reviews on Facebook and include a testimonial stream on your website for prospective residents to check out.

Tip: Ask your residents to review you BEFORE move-out time.

Moving out of an apartment is a busy and stressful time, so if you try to get your residents to review your complex while they’re moving out, you won’t get the results you want. Instead, promote reviews around calmer times – maybe a month or two before you expect someone to move out. Or, if someone is re-signing a lease with you, ask for feedback then. If tenants found reasons to stay with you longer, they’re more likely to have some good things to say online.

In the apartment complex industry, you have a closer connection to your consumers than most businesses. Often, a complex manager may not realize residents have an issue until they blast the complex in an online review or on social media. Using a tool like ReviewMaxer makes promoting reviews and resolving issues easy and efficient so potential tenants can get a clear picture of your property, and you can improve your online reputation.

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Macey Wilson


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Most people expect film reviews, but what about the theaters that host them?

Having good customer reviews is more important than ever. Millennials, who are quickly taking over the market, rely on reviews more than their parents did and like to make purchases collaboratively (with input from friends, family and even strangers on the internet). According to a report from Barkley, nearly 40 percent of millennials base purchase decisions on online reviews and comments, versus just 25 percent of non-millennials.

 When a potential customer is searching online for where to see that new summer blockbuster, you want your theater to pop up as the best location, with rave reviews from past customers as proof.

But we’re a movie theater. How would people even review us?

As a movie theater, much of what you serve your customers is another company’s product (the movies). However, there are still many aspects of your theater that you control, which make or break a customer's movie-going experience.  

Since customers spend the majority of their time watching the film, you only have a few chances to show them how great your particular theater is. Here are three ways you can ensure your customers have a delightful movie experience – and then share their experiences online. 

  1. Provide superior in-person customer service.

These days, when so much is done online, the few in-person interactions your customers have with your brand are even more important. Deliver excellent customer service, and then make sure to provide an easy-to-find link or code where customers can share their experiences online. Include a sign near the ticket counter and the concession stand – the places people will think about their interactions and have a moment to write a review.

  1. Make cleanliness a priority.

The cleanliness of your theater is a key factor that potential customers will consider before choosing your business. After drinking so much movie theater soda, theatergoers are sure to want to use the restrooms. Keep bathrooms spotless – and then post a QR code on the walls to provide a convenient way for patrons to let you know how they feel about the cleanliness of the bathroom as well as the theater itself. We’ve all been to that theater where the floors were just a little too sticky for anyone's liking. If that sticky floor belongs to your theater, your customers will broadcast it online.

  1. Engage your audience.

Once your customers have purchased their popcorn, chosen the perfect seat and are eagerly waiting for the featured presentation to begin, it’s a great time to ask for a review. Before the previews start, use the screen time to provide a link for customer reviews. Patrons will be more likely to pull their phones out and kill some time. Additionally, have a QR code on the ticket stub that links customers to a review site, allowing them to easily share their experiences with the world once they are home. 

While there are plenty more ways to implement practices that encourage customer reviews for your movie theater, these suggestions are a good place to start. Managing your online reviews requires a great deal of time and energy. ReviewMaxer is an easy and effective way to improve your online reputation. Watch this free demonstration today to see how ReviewMaxer software works. ReviewMaxer provides simple links and QR codes that you can use to gain more positive online reviews and address the negative reviews on a personal level. You can resolve issues one on one before customers post publicly about their negative experiences, so you can keep your business’s reputation intact.

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Macey Wilson


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Parents use online reviews when they make child care decisions

For parents, finding the right child care center can be a daunting task. There are many factors that go into making the decision, such as cost and location. However, for most parents, the most important factors are the quality of the center and the staff, which they base on the staff’s education, experience, the class size and more.

It’s hard for parents to leave their children in the care of someone else, which is why many parents spend a lot of time researching facilities to find the best possible option.

Parents find information about child care centers, like the teacher-child ratio and caregiver experience, on their websites and through on-site visits. However, parents are relying more and more on information they get from other parents whose children have attended the child care centers. They want unbiased opinions from parents who know firsthand how reliable the care center is, what activities it offers and, most importantly, how the center treated their children.

Reputation

At the end of the day, there are minor differences between one great child care center and another, and it’s the reputation of a facility that truly makes it stand out. This is why online reviews are so important to the child care industry. Two centers can have equivalent levels of experience and similar activities, and it will be their online reviews that set them apart.

A single negative online review on your business can cause a loss of credibility and discourage other parents from enrolling their children. On the other hand, positive reviews can drive parents to your business. In the child care industry, word-of-mouth and positive reviews are essential to success.

You can make sure your reputation stays positive with ReviewMaxer, which allows you to monitor, manage and promote your online reviews. You can reach out to those with a negative experience to address and fix issues, while promoting positive reviews that boost your reputation.

When it comes to child care, parents will do their due diligence and pick the centers with the best care and reputation. By monitoring reviews from one central dashboard, you can ensure your business maintains a positive reputation.

Watch this free demonstration today to see how ReviewMaxer software works.

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Andrea Benaim


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Facebook does great things for marketers and businesses on its platform

Recently, Facebook launched new features that improve your business’s online presence.

It’s very easy to set up a Facebook business page, where you can give information about your company and the services or products you offer. Now, Facebook offers customers an opportunity to leave reviews and ratings for your business on your business page.

Check-in’s: A few years ago, Facebook began giving users the option to check in whenever they visit a particular area or business. With this new update, you receive an automatic notification on your business page when a customer “checks in” to one of your physical locations. Using this feature, you can take note of frequent customers and read comments on their experiences.

A full 24 hours after your customer visits your business, Facebook sends the customer a notification with the option to leave a review on your business’s Facebook page about his or her experience. Customers are more likely to provide reviews at this time because it’s so soon after their visit. It’s an easy, streamlined process all within the same app. The bonus for your business is that Facebook sends the requests for reviews, so it doesn’t seem as if you’re hounding your customers for their reviews.

Recommendations: Another new feature that Facebook recently launched is the option for users to leave recommendations for others. Facebook introduced this feature a few months ago, offering users a chance to ask for recommendations when updating a status. This is a great asset for businesses that have a positive online presence. When a Facebook user tags your business within the comments of the recommendation status, a box will appear as a preview to your business’s Facebook page showing its overall rating.

With the advancement of technology and social media platforms, creating a strong reputation online is extremely important for any business. It can be overwhelming trying to manage customer reviews, which is where ReviewMaxer can help! When you use software like ReviewMaxer to manage your reviews, it’s easy to protect and even improve your online reputation.

Watch this free demonstration today to see how ReviewMaxer software works.

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Amanda Murguido


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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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