Imagine this. There’s a new restaurant in your neighborhood. You take your family out on a Friday night, eager to try the new establishment. After patiently waiting for a table, you’re finally greeted by your waiter, who forgets the night’s specials and fails to refill your drink throughout the meal. When your food finally arrives, it’s cold and you received French fries instead of your substitute side salad.
Now, if this situation would have happened 20 years ago, chances are you would tell your coworkers about it Monday morning and would avoid the restaurant until its service improved or new management stepped in. Even though it left a poor first impression, the establishment may still stick around a few years — carrying on business despite less than great service. However, today, your one bad experience can cause a ripple effect that could impact the business severely.
Online reviews can make or break a business.
Thanks to platforms like Yelp, Facebook and Google Reviews, there are numerous ways for customers to rate and review their experiences. Most of us, before we even step foot into a new restaurant or business, will vet the place by checking out its reviews. We now have the power to “consult” with countless strangers on the integrity of an establishment.
To put it simply, reviews matter. And your business should care deeply about them.
Not only can positive reviews encourage others to try your business, but you can also use them as leverage to promote your product or service. Thankfully, most review platforms will notify you when a customer leaves a review. Don’t ignore these notifications. Keep a close eye on them and respond to each review – the good and the bad. File away the good reviews to use for future leverage, and acknowledge the poor reviews, noting how your business can perform better next time. You could even take it one step further and encourage those who leave poor reviews to give your business another shot with a special promotion. Work to change their mind and gain their loyalty back.
Here is a short list of actionable items you can implement now to leverage reviews left about your business:
- Offer incentives for customers to leave reviews
- Respond to everyone
- Share positive ones on Social Media
- Regularly check all platforms
Remember, one bad review won’t necessarily destroy your business – but it’s important to keep these at a minimum, and always share any positive reviews.