How to Manage Online Reviews to Benefit Your Business
Online reviews can make a big difference to your business. In some instances they can make or break a business. Good reviews can improve the chances of people finding and choosing your product or service over another online.
It’s not just restaurants and hotels that need to be concerned about online reviews. Nowadays online customer reviews are a topic every business owner should have on their radar.
How important are online reviews?
Don’t just take our word for it. There are many studies which show how many people use online reviews in the buying process. A recent study from Moz reveals 67% of Consumers are Influenced by Online Reviews. Many studies report much higher percentages.
Think about your own behaviour. If you’re browsing Amazon, and still on the fence about a purchase, how many times have you taken to google to find reviews?
It only takes a few minutes, and at the click of a mouse you can find what other customers think. Consumers these days are much more savvy and willing to do their homework.
So how can you ensure you’re on top of reviews and making the most of them?
Google Business Reviews.
Top tips for managing online reviews
Monitor reviews to keep on top of what people are saying, learn from what they’re saying and feed it to the relevant people in the business. There are many ways to do this – just google your business regularly, set up Google alerts for key words in your business name, or even get a more sophisticated online monitoring tool.
Make it easy for people to add reviews
Prompt people to review your products and services by adding review badges and links on your site. Don’t make people jump through hoops to leave a review – offline or online.
The vast majority of website content management systems include review widgets that can be easily enabled. Research the options appropriate for your own business and make sure they’re implemented.
Request positive reviews from happy customers and clients
Mentioning you’d love them to review you on google or whichever site is most helpful to you goes a long way. People often make the effort to leave a review if they’re angry, or an exceptionally good one (and even then they need prompting) but less so if they had a fairly good service.
Have one person own the review process
Allocate a person to manage the process and keep on top of it, or it won’t happen consistently.
Respond to every review received
Always respond to reviews courteously whether positive or negative.
Responding to reviews on Facebook.
Dealing with negative reviews
Always ensure you’re prompt, polite, honest and professional. If you respond negatively, you could damage the reputation of your business.
Responding positively and politely shows that you:
- Care about your customers
- Want to provide good customer service
- Fix any issues your customers have had in the past.
Dealing with fake or misleading online reviews
So what do you do if you get negative or suspicious reviews that appear to be from competitors? Be aware that posting positive reviews about their own business, or posting negative reviews about a competitor’s business, is not only dishonest, it’s also a breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Directly incentivising customers to write positive reviews, or remove or edit negative reviews risks misleading consumers and could be in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. This includes staff and any family or friends who are not real customers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) can fine businesses for posting fake reviews (reviews not from customers).
If your business gets false or misleading reviews on your website or a review site, you can contact the site and ask for those reviews to be removed. In some cases they will oblige, depending on their terms. In extreme cases, legal action can be taken.
It really pays to be on top of what people are saying about your business, both offline and online. As long as you keep a positive attitude, and you’re willing to take on board feedback in a graceful manner, they can only be a good thing.