Online reviews are today’s version of “word of mouth,” and the cornerstone of your business’s online reputation. We’re going to talk about why online reviews are so important and show you ways to make it easy for a customer to leave a positive review.
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Sarah: Good morning, everyone! Today we’re going to talk about online reviews and specifically five star online reviews. They are internet gold for your business but it’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish, so today we’re going to take the guesswork out of it, and as always, give you solutions on how you can get there. Let’s get started.
Sarah: Hey, good morning!
Glyna: Good morning. How are you today?
Sarah: Doing well on this cloudy Tuesday.
Glyna: Yeah, it’s gloomy. I’m trying to do everything I can. I’ve got my bright pink on. I noticed you have a really pretty color. It’s like, “Let’s do something.” I got my flowers going back there.
Sarah: We’re trying.
Glyna: I need more light, but anyway, we will make it through. Welcome to Marketing Mix! Every week, we’re going to talk about all kinds of different things having to do with marketing. We just like to share with other businesses what works for us, maybe what the trends are, give some tips. We may do some Q and A, we may even have some guests. It’s all over the place, but basically the whole goal is to make sure that we’re bringing you some value as far as your marketing is concerned, so let’s go in and remind everyone where they can find us. This morning, we’ll be on Marketing and a Mic, excuse me, with our new podcast, and what’s exciting today, we are live on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and then you can catch the replays everywhere else. Happy for those Twitter folks, whoever they are.
Sarah: A whole new group that can watch now. Today, we want to talk about how important online reviews are, which they are so valuable, and then on top of that, ways that your business can get more. I mean great reviews, they really kind of are essential for customers in their decision-making process. People are looking for, they’re looking for a good service or product, so that is something that an online review, so many people, they start there. That’s what they want to see. They want to see that good online review.
Glyna: That’s exactly right. With everybody having their phone at their fingertips, they’re searching for the products and services they want, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t buy anything that doesn’t have any stars or any online reviews.
Sarah: No. Whether I’m on Amazon or I’m looking for a home service, I want to see a good review first.
Glyna: Exactly. I mean if you’re sitting there and your air conditioners out, I’m not going to pick somebody who has zero reviews over someone who may have 30 or 40 excellent reviews, so reviews are definitely necessary so let’s just talk about why they’re necessary. Your reputation these days is all online. It’s out there for the world to see. It’s really the lifeline of your business.
Sarah: Absolutely. It’s like we said before, it’s worth its weight in gold and it’s really what makes you look trustworthy to a consumer. What are people saying about them? Very much so.
Glyna: It’s really funny because I mean there’s all kinds of stats out there and everything, but on average, people want to see at least 10 good reviews before they put their trust into a business. You’re having these people come out to your house, especially this day and age, you just don’t know what you’re going to be getting into, so you have to make sure to include getting reviews as a business goal and be current and consistent.
Sarah: That’s the key too is being current and consistent because you could have 35 positive reviews, five-star reviews, but if your last review was in 2017, I’m going to question that, absolutely.
Glyna: Are you still open?
Sarah: Right. Very much so. If you’re looking at your business and you’re trying to get reviews, who is the ideal target? Who should you be asking for reviews if you need to get it? For starters, ask a satisfied customer. Reach out there and say, “Hey, you were a past customer of mine. Were you satisfied? Did you like it?” Really, anybody that can vouch for your business and who you are or anybody that you know that is just a good connection to you that can really vouch and say, “Hey, I know this company, I know this business, and they are quality.” Another way too is if you need to trade a review with another reputable company. “Hey, I’ll go ahead and leave you a good review on your site if you’ll go ahead and leave one on mine, and hey, we’re mutually benefiting from it.” That’s kind of a good baseline of where to start, wouldn’t you think?
Glyna: It really is, and as long as someone can vouch for your character or you know that person personally, a lot of small businesses these days, you know the owners, so if you know how they do business, there’s nothing wrong with giving them a review, just vouching again for that company. I think that’s a great place to start.
Sarah: I want to ask you this too. If you’re in a position and you’re like “I don’t have a lot of reviews. I need to get a lot of reviews,” would it be beneficial to just flood, just get like 30 reviews back to back to back within the course of three to four days and just say like “Hey, I’m calling grandma, I’m calling aunt Susie, I’m calling my neighbor. Everybody leave me a review as fast as possible,” Is that a way to do that or would the search engines be like “No, that’s not going to fly”?
Glyna: Yes. The search engines, especially Google, they’re just weird. Their whole thing is they want it to look natural. They want it to be a great consumer experience and they feel like if you do that, that those are bogus reviews, that they’re not going to take you seriously. Although you may get excited, “Yeah, I want to go get reviews” and you have a lot of people who can help you, you want to space those out. A couple a week would be great. You have to think about that and then take it one step further. Let’s make these really solid, good reviews. The search engines also like to see that you mentioned what that company does. I mean that may be taking it a little far, but everything helps. For instance, we do marketing. So I may say “Sarah, if you feel like you could give us a five star review, could you do that?” If you say yes, you could give them a little tip and say “And if you could mention marketing in the review, that would really help us too with the search engines.”
Sarah: Definitely start with satisfied customers, people that can vouch for your business and that sort of thing, and making it easy, that’s an important quote.
Glyna: You have to make it easy for people. When reviews first came out, it doesn’t tell how long I’ve been around in this search engine stuff, but when reviews first came out, doctor’s offices or anybody that had an office, they would get an iPad or a computer and set it to the side and they would like run their customers through or their patients through and ask them to leave a review right there. That made it easy, but then the search engines shut that down, so then we were all in a quandary of “Well gosh, nobody knows how to find my place online,” which may be another problem, but how do they find a place to do the review? When we say make it easy, here’s an example. If you have an Android phone, most Android phones are already logged into Google, so if you happen to notice the person has an Android phone, just ask them if they can leave you a Google review. Take it another step further. Show them. I mean if they’re already standing there, you can talk them through it, tell them “Type in Fusion One Marketing,” it’s going to pull right up and there’s your listing where you can leave a review. So help people. Not to say people with an iPhone can’t leave a Google review, but sometimes it’s a little difficult when you have to sign in. You could lose a lot of people, so that’s not making it easy.
Sarah: You don’t want a lot of steps.
Glyna: No, you don’t, because people get frustrated and they’re gone, and I’m one of those. When I get frustrated, I’m not going to spend much time on it. Facebook reviews. Google is gold. We say that all the time, but any review, any place is really a good thing for your business and your presence on the internet. Facebook I would say would be coming in second, and maybe LinkedIn third, if you could get those recommendations on LinkedIn. So Facebook, let’s think about this. Stats say that 75% of women use the Facebook app, and that means they’re constantly logged in. I mean I pick up my phone, I hit my Facebook app, I’m already in there. Those people would be perfect people to ask to do a Facebook review, and again, walk them through it. “Go to our Fusion One Marketing Facebook page and then you’ll see reviews on the left, click it, and then you can leave a review.” So again, always make it easy. Send a link. You can send a link to your Facebook page, you can send a link to your LinkedIn, you can send a Google link. Again, making it easy, and I would suggest doing that to your customers. If you haven’t already, just trickle some out to your customers asking them for a review, and then, really easy way to do it is have us or someone that handles your website put a button on your website so that you can just guide people to fusiononemarketing.com, you’ll see our Google icon there, click it and you can go leave us a review like that, so there are easy ways to do it even though it seems like a really monumental task.
Sarah: What we would be able to do is put a button like you said where you just guide them to their website, whatever the customer’s website is, and it’s right there and they just click on it and it’ll populate and they can just leave a review, and will it automatically post?
Glyna: Yes, because it will actually take them to Google, so you’ll be on their Google listing. It’s really just the easy way of getting there and then you would get through the same steps that you would always go through with getting on to Google.
Sarah: That is easy. That’s like the Staples’ old “Press the easy button.” I date myself with stuff like that.
Glyna: Don’t talk to me about that.
Sarah: That was like the Cheers reference we were talking about yesterday. We’re asking Kelsi, “Kelsi, have you heard of the show Cheers?”
Glyna: She’s so funny because she recognizes things that back when I was young and I’m like, I don’t know how, but it’s just old soul.
Sarah: She is an old soul, that’s for sure. So let’s talk about getting five star reviews. I would say the best way to start is to deliver a five-star quality product or service. That’s the baseline. Be a reputable company, deliver quality customer service, deliver a quality product. You have that, you make it a lot easier for people that want to do business with you and want to leave you a positive review, so make sure you’re running a real good company with a real good service. Then I think too, just specifically ask for it, right? Ask someone, “Can you leave us a review?” right there in the moment.
Glyna: I always joke when I ask people that. I specifically say “Sarah, could you do me a favor? Were you happy with the service that you received?” If you say yes, then I’ll say “Would you feel comfortable giving us a five star review?” If not, don’t give us one. No.
Sarah: Only if the answer is yes.
Glyna: You have to ask, “Tell me why you wouldn’t.” That’s an opportunity to make things better. I didn’t mean to cut you off.
Sarah: No, absolutely. It’s a good point. I think too it’s really valuable to show off your high marks as a company. It really makes you look trustworthy. It also helps with your online identity and credibility. I mean people, they want to see what you’re doing for customers, so if you’re doing good things for customers, then show it off, show off that stuff. Again, it’s just only going to make it easier so people are going to go and look at your business and say “Wow, they truly help. Look at the things that they’re doing.” All those things are really helpful, and I would say too, what’s really helpful is having a system, if the system in place that helps people and guides customers to leave a positive review, and shameless plug, we actually do. We do have a review system that’s going to help you-
Glyna: We need something to flash the shameless plug.
Sarah: I need my “More calls, more business,” I need to pop that up, but we do have a review system that can help get you there, so we want to show that to you, because seeing is believing.
Glyna: What’s funny is I’m not prepared. I can try to pull it up or I can tell about it. Do you have it? Do you really have it pulled up?
Sarah: Oh gosh, I thought you were going to show.
Glyna: I can try to show it real quick. I’m not prepared at all. As usual, I spend my time talking before the show and then I don’t have it. Hold on just a second. Dance or something, Sarah.
Sarah: Nobody wants me to sing because if sing, I’m going to clear the room. I always joke, if you want guests to leave, just get me to start singing, and you will march right out of there.
Glyna: You have just a few seconds that you have to help me with here. No, I’m kidding.
Sarah: While you’re doing that, I was going to say talking about the negative reviews, this is something that nobody wants to see a negative review obviously. You can’t control everybody’s perception of your business. Honestly too, if it feels like “Hey, this is something. This is a personal attack. That never happened” or “We don’t do that here” or “That’s not the kind of service.” It’s a personal attack, so really, your first reaction would think like “I got a negative review, that’s not fair. I’m going to go on the defense,” and we’ve seen sometimes businesses do that and it truly is a mistake. Really, how you respond to those negative reviews makes all the difference in the world because truly, customers expect, even so when they leave a negative review, positive and negative, they’re almost waiting for a response from you. You know what I mean?
Glyna: Yeah. They wouldn’t have put it there if they didn’t want a response, and it does feel like a personal attack. I’ll tell you, some of our customers are, I do have the review ready to go too by the way, the system.
Sarah: You do? I was going to say-
Glyna: I thought you’re really-
Sarah: I was going to start typing and put it up for you if you wanted me to.
Glyna: Let me get it, let’s see here. All righty. Look at me, how fancy. All right. This is our review system. Again, like Sarah said, shameless plug. Again, it’s all about making it easy and this is something we can do for businesses. All I have to do is give us a list of their customers. We can send this out to their email or their text, either way, and we really had a great, great result from doing this, but what’s cool about our system is that you can customize all of these things, you can make it say whatever you want, but you have a thumbs up, I had a good experience or you have a thumbs down, I had a bad experience. I’m not going to take it three because it takes too long, but if in this case, what’s really awesome is if you hit “I had a good experience,” it takes you to a place to leave a review, and again, it’s all customized. Do you want reviews on Google? Do you want reviews on Facebook? If you’re a customer, it takes it one step further. If you’re already logged in to one of those things, it takes you directly to our page.
Sarah: That’s great. What are the ways that you can send this out? Did you say email, text?
Glyna: Yes. You can email it or text, like for instance, I just hit the button and again, like I said, it takes too much time to get my Facebook pulled in, but I’m already on Facebook, so it was going to log me directly into Facebook and I’m ready to go.
Sarah: Could you set that up as like an automated system so if you had a customer or if you had somebody, as soon as they were done with their service, this could go right after them if you got say their phone number or their email?
Sarah: That’s really cool.
Glyna: Yeah, and it’s so awesome, and I’ll tell you, I think Rob told me the other day, 70% of the people that we texted these to did give a response, and this was for a customer, but text seems to work just as well or better than email. Anyway, it’s a great system and I’ll tell you a little awesome thing about this is if you hit “I had a bad experience,” it does not take the person to Google or Facebook or any place to leave your review because obviously, they’re in that mindset, “I had a bad experience.” You don’t want them going to your review site, so it’s a way for us to intercede that person, and let me see. Once you hit it, it’s going to take you to a form that says, you can customize this like I said, ours just says “We strive for 100% customer satisfaction. If we fell short, please tell us more so we can then address your concerns.”
Sarah: I think that’s so valuable because it gives you an opportunity to sort of respond and open up that line of communication with the consumer to kind of make it right and make them feel like “Hey, I’ve heard you. What can we do to fix it?” That’s awesome.
Glyna: Like you were getting ready to talk about, negative reviews aren’t something to be pushed to the side. You can take care of them because they are going to happen, but responding and how you handle them, it says a lot about you and your business. Rob always tells people, “Okay, take a breath. Time in the back, skate back…” I can’t say it again. “The backspace key are your friend.”
Sarah: That’s a good one. It’s like when you’re sending a text and you’re like “Backspace, backspace. Do I really want to say this? I need to think about this for a minute.”
Glyna: Do the 24-hour rule or call us, vent to me, tell me about how this wasn’t just and how it shouldn’t have been. I’ll listen all day long because I’m sure that it’s true. Most of the time, it’s just a misunderstanding.
Sarah: Yeah, and you to take the emotion out of it. I mean it is, it’s hard. You do take it personally, and when somebody says something and really you believe in your heart like “That is not our business, that doesn’t represent us,” your first reaction is to go on the defense.
Glyna: It is, and another great key is don’t type your response right away right there in Google or Facebook or LinkedIn or Yelp or any place. Why don’t you like write something out on a piece of paper or pull up Word and craft it in a different area and have a couple people look at it? Don’t be defensive, take responsibility, but don’t be offensive either, and what I mean by that is don’t respond and call them out that “Well, if you wouldn’t had done this, blah, blah, blah.” “It’s your fault. It’s not my fault.” Customer service, the customer is always right. It goes back to that if it’s logical I guess, so don’t threaten them. Don’t curse.
Sarah: No. It has a domino effect. My thing is if you rub a customer the wrong way, what are they going to do? The minute anybody asks about that company, they’re going to jump on and say “Oh no, let me tell you about my experience,” and then it’s just a ripple effect and it goes, spreads on and on and on, so yeah, your character has to come through, obviously.
Glyna: I mean nobody wants a one star review and someone bashing them on the internet. I get that, but it almost makes you look a little more human because everyone makes mistakes, and one bad writing is not going to ruin you, so be professional. This is what I tell our customers, and I do tell them that we’re here for them as a resource. Ask to speak to that individual, tell them that you understand their concern, set a time to call them or set a time for them to call you, try to talk to them and try to fix the situation. Make it right. You would not believe how many times our customers have done that, reached out, they were the bigger person, and then once they talk to that person and really made everything right, then that person can go back in, which a lot of people don’t know this, they can go back in and change their review.
Sarah: That’s really powerful. I would say too, wouldn’t you say not responding is also not a good response? I mean ignoring a negative review is actually could be just as bad as responding badly to a negative review.
Glyna: Yes. I absolutely think so. We’ve not mentioned this but every time you get a Google review or a review anywhere, it’s really good practice to respond, even if it’s positive and even if it’s negative. You don’t want to hide from it.
Sarah: No, you definitely won’t hide from it, and I was going to ask just out of curiosity, if you’re in a situation you’ve got 30 five star reviews and then you got that negative review that comes in and all of a sudden, say your average drops like a 3.5 star review just because of that one, I think that kind of also helps with why it’s so important to have current and consistent reviews going because if you only have say 10 total reviews and then you’ve got one negative review, well then it’s just going to lower your average, so your star average is going to go lower, so again, if you get that negative review and it happens, keep that flow going so that it’ll boost your stars up and keep you back up at that five star again.
Glyna: That is a huge thing to remember because all you’re thinking about is that moment. So let’s just turn it into a positive, let’s get a bunch of positive reviews and flush it out. Push it to the bottom so it’s not the first one showing.
Glyna: That’s helpful too.
Sarah: Fill the wagon back up. That kind of ties us into these review no-no’s because they are out there, and really and truly, these search engines are smart, so if you’re trying to do something that’s not authentic, they’re going to catch on, and again, along with what we were saying too about you want to have a steady flow of reviews because search engines value that when they’re choosing kind of those search engine results, so if they see that you’ve got a steady flow, that can help you, but when it comes to that, you don’t want to pay for reviews, which I know I can’t even believe I’m saying that, but that happens. Very few pay for reviews from a company that says that they can produce that. They claim that we could produce that, like “Oh, you want a bunch of reviews? Just pay us, we’ll churn them out for you.”
Glyna: The search engine sees that as bogus. I don’t know how they figured it out, but they do. We’ve had a situation, or a couple, where people did go out and buy reviews, and again, all these things were flooded in there. It didn’t look natural, they were from like places not in the United States, it’s not even a local person, how are they going to leave you a review? Then Google came through, wiped out all the reviews. All of them.
Sarah: That’s it. It’s gone. I would say too, we were talking about earlier about you want to bring people that can vouch for your business and vouch for you, but you don’t want to offer them an incentive for their review, like “If you do this, then I’ll throw in all of these things for you,” like “Wink wink,” and it’s like-
Glyna: Yeah, the wink.
Sarah: That’s not good, it can backfire for obvious reasons, but we’ve seen it happen, and again, we talk about this, but if you’re flooding it with a bunch of reviews in a short period of time, it’s not going to look good, and again, these search engines, they check it. I know it seems like I’ve got a big family so I’m going to get like every cousin I know to leave me a review really quickly, it doesn’t work. You want to make it authentic.
Glyna: I met with somebody the other day and I was like “Well, you’ve done pretty well on your reviews,” they’re like, “Yeah, all of our reviews came from everybody out in the warehouse,” so it’s like “Oh.”
Sarah: They can vouch for you.
Glyna: I do want to say good morning to Steve Johnson, the one and only Harry Slagle, and Shawn Troughton, and Shawn, I don’t know, maybe I made a mistake and said ask for a one star review, I hope I didn’t. Just to clarify, we don’t want one-star reviews or maybe we’re being funny this morning. We’ll just clarify that.
Sarah: Yeah, we want to get five stars! That’s where we’re going, and a good review system that can help get you there. That’s the biggest takeaway, wouldn’t you say, is that you need to utilize a good review system because it helps you manage these reviews, it helps you stay on top of the reviews, and it’s just a good way to get those reoccurring reviews is having a good system.
Glyna: So that’ll be our last shameless plug?
Sarah: I’ve done it all day long, Glyna.
Glyna: So yes, you can do it the hard way, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but with little effort on your part, we’d be glad to show you our review system and show you how it can help your business and really get you those great reviews, so please message me for a demo. I can show you a demo and walk you through it or send you one from Fusion One Marketing, and you can feel free to leave us a five star.
Sarah: If you’re a business center and you’re watching this, look at your reviews. I mean just look at them. Are you satisfied with them? Are you satisfied with the last time somebody left you a review? Are you satisfied with how many positive reviews you have? Because again, as a consumer, that is what we’re looking for and that solidifies your business, so if you’re looking at your reviews and you’re like “This is kind of weak,” then you really need to consider a system to help back the good company that you are.
Glyna: If you need to up your review game, make an effort to do it, set it as a goal. Let us know if you need help, and I guess that’s basically wrapping it up for today.
Sarah: Yeah, that’s it. We’ll be back on Friday with BizTalk. Glyna, you need to take it away on this because I’m so excited about our guest on Friday.
Glyna: I’m so excited. We’re going to have Meaghan Chitwood from BNI. She’s just amazing. I’ve known her for over 10 years and she loves helping small businesses succeed and she’s just so full of knowledge as far as networking and making that work for your business, so I’m so excited. She’ll be talking about BNI a little bit but she’ll also be talking about just networking in general and how you can increase your business, so that’s great for everybody. I guess we’ll see you all back Friday, 8:00 AM with BizTalk and our guest, with Meaghan Chitwood. We’ll see you all later.
Sarah: Bye everyone.