We live in a tech-savvy world where online reviews can be just as powerful, and possibly even more influential, than its traditional word-of-mouth counterpart. Within the span of a few keystrokes or swipes across a handheld screen, your shop’s digital footprint is created. This can make or break your small business.
While glowing reviews are obviously the gateway to a positive online presence and good for driving a steady stream of customers to your door, negative reviews can potentially cause damage. One person’s opinion, warranted or not, can adversely affect your new customer acquisition and sometimes even loyal customer retention.
However, there is a method to managing these reviews to help lessen and even prevent harm to your business’s growth.
1. Stay one step ahead
Many shop owners assume that because they aren’t listed on a review site, they don’t need to worry about it. But the truth is, on many of these social platforms, any user can add a listing — which means that customers can in fact leave reviews. It’s extremely important for you to stay on top of your business listings and, if you haven’t already, claim your listing. It’s a necessary step so you can manage any review that is left for your shop.
It’s also a good idea to have a marketing plan in place, even if it’s just a basic one that includes an email schedule and social media calendar. Add an action item in this plan to check your reviews regularly. This way, if any new reviews are added to your business’s page, you will be ahead of the game. You want to be aware of any positive reviews as well as any negative reviews. While negative reviews will need to be handled carefully, positive reviews make great social media posts and quotes for your website.
There are also tools you can use that will alert you of your shop’s online presence like Google Alerts or Brand24. These alerts are triggered by keywords so if you have a common word or phrase in your shop’s name, you may receive some alerts that are unrelated to your business. At Management Success, many of our clients are often featured as community ambassadors or recognized for their involvement in charitable events. If this is the case in your shop, these alerts would notify you that your shop was mentioned in a local article. This can be a great marketing resource.
2. Act quickly
Once you are alerted to a negative review, act fast. Especially if it’s a problem that has occurred within your shop, you will want to address it immediately. The more time that passes, the more detrimental it can be to your business and the harder it is to convince the reviewer to remove it.