5 Strategies for Advanced Review Management

5 Strategies for Advanced Review Management
Reviews: we’ve all been there. Some of us scroll down to see the comments and feedback for a particular product directly on our favorite boutique or hardware site. Others search online to see what patrons may be saying about a particular restaurant, car dealership, hotel or spa. Whatever your fancy, you have unknowingly crossed into the realm of digital reputation, or review, management.


Do Reviews Matter?

I was taught as a kid to be open to new things and not be so critical of everyone and everything. You can forget that for your business, though. Your customers are judging the book by the cover, making a snap first impression in a matter of seconds.

Research tells us that 72% of consumers who visit your business will take the validity of positive reviews into consideration before choosing you. Having an even flow of reviews is crucial for your business, whether you like it or not.

Having a healthy, online review flow is also important for your overall digital health. The algorithm that Google has developed to determine if your site is applicable to a customer’s organic search is extensive and composed of many moving parts, including reputation! A recent study by Moz, a search engine optimization leader, found that review signals account for 7-13% of your website’s visibility for organic rankings, making the words of your customers even more impactful.


How to Get the Review River to Flow

Customers, by nature, are likely to talk to their circles of friends, and even more likely to share their comments online – and that’s especially true for a bad experience. This may sound like I’m reaching (because I don’t often leave reviews online), but I don’t believe many businesses ask for reviews. Research suggests, though, that they really should. In fact, a BrightLocal study suggests that 70% of your customers will leave a review if you ask. There’s a lot of valuable information in your customers’ heads that can help build your brand online!  Some of these tactics may be the spark you need to rocket your brand ahead of the competition:


1. Just ASK!

Yes – ask! I’m saying it again because it’s something that is so easy to forget to do. Add dialog into the closing of your sale — as you ring out the latest haircut, checkout your patients or hotel guests, or close with a client after the legal work is done. Just because they are brand loyal to you doesn’t mean they’ll share their feedback. Try throwing these into your closing:
  • We would love for you to share your feedback on your hair style experience today…
  • Please share your experience working with our team of doctors…
  • Did you enjoy your stay? We’d love for you to share about it…
As simple as that, you’ve changed your methods with an addition of 15-20 words as you checkout your customers.


2. Ensure They Know Where to Leave Their Feedback

There’s nothing more annoying then having a great experience and then struggling to be able to leave feedback for your great experience (okay, maybe there’s a few things, but it’s still frutrating)! If your customers can’t find you – or if they find multiple ‘yous’ online – it could create disillusionment or distrust. Claim your top local listings so customers can find you and consolidate duplicates for a concise brand image. Traditionally, the most prevalent platforms to all industries are Google My Business (what is this?), Facebook, and Yelp, among others.

One last note, don’t be afraid to attach a small handout to the receipt with links to your social channels; or, if you have a Review Us page on your website, send them there!


3. Interact with Every Consumer Everywhere

Often, especially on Facebook, customers will leave feedback in ways that you may not expect. Maybe it’s a comment on a post, a wall post, a direct message and, of course, reviews, themselves. Respond to every one. Engage with your customers no matter how they reach you – their voices will directly impact the image of your brand as a whole.

78% of consumers say they’ll believe that you and your brand care more about them and their experiences if you engage with them regardless of the sentiment. If their feedback was positive and it was not a review, it is most definitely okay to ask them to share their rating of the business.


4. Use Review Management Products or Tools

Once you begin reaping the benefits of strong consumer feedback, it can quickly become a full-time job to respond to and cultivate review communication. The systems have been set and they’re working. You’re asking for reviews, claimed your space, sharing feedback in your space and engaging with your consumers.

To save yourself valuable hours of paid time every week, online review management tools can help simplify your chatter. From sentiment and response handling to garnering more reviews via email or text, you can take hold of your reviews and keep the flow going.


5. Get Creative & Think Outside the Box

Be willing to get crafty with your review capturing. Asking for reviews is always a tried and true way to ensure you are doing your due diligence for your day-to-day customers; but there are always ways to periodically boost the influx of reviews. Creativity can really help show not only that your business is forward thinking, but also cares about the local community. Here are some ideas I’ve personally used to help generate reviews:
  • Location competitions (for multi-location businesses) – reward the location that earns the most rewards with lunch, gift cards or another small incentive
  • Internal employee incentive program or contest – reward the employee with the most review mentions over a period of time, or incentivize getting mentioned in reviews by creating a subtle pay-bonus for different tiers
  • Community Charity Drive – for a given month, donate a pre-determined amount of money per review to the charity your business decides to benefit
Review management is here to stay, and will continue to accelerate or apply the brakes on your business’ success. How are you managing your reputation today? Comment and let us know!