Like it or not, people will review your business online. While it’s tempting to ignore the whole issue, that leaves you open to negativity and fake reviews, which could dent your reputation.
With an estimated 98% of Australian consumers using online reviews to make buying decisions, it’s a good idea to create a review management plan. Once you’ve set up a profile for your business on the major review sites, you should be regularly checking and responding to reviews – good and bad.
Not sure where to start? Here’s your weekly review checklist:
1. Check key sites.
Set aside some time at least once every week to check your chosen review sites. Many sites have apps that will send you notifications alerting you to new reviews. With other sites, you’ll need to log in and check for recent postings. Scan through reviews to spot negative feedback, potential fakes and quotes or insights that could be useful in your marketing or your business practice.
2. Respond to everyone.
The more responsive you are to reviews, the more trust you build with your audience. In one survey, 89% of respondents said they would be more likely to shop with a business that replies to every review. Responding to reviews shows there’s a human behind your online presence and that you care about your customers’ experiences.
Try to respond to as many reviews as possible as promptly as you can. If you have hundreds of reviews pouring in, focus on addressing the negative ones. Keep responses upbeat and helpful and offer a solution or apology straight away to turn that negative into a positive. You can minimise the impact of a negative review if you take a customer’s issue seriously, showing that your business values what customers have to say.
3. Flag fake reviews.
Fake reviews are more common than you might think: one study found that 30% of online reviews were likely to be fake. Fakes may be completely made up by someone who has never even visited your business, may be generated by a bot, or may include some elements of truth along with false details or exaggerations.
To spot a fake, look for inaccuracies; for example, a location that doesn’t exist or a product you no longer sell. If you think a review is probably fake, you can request removal through the review site, although this can take a few days. You can also choose to respond with your version of events – remember to keep replies positive, accurate and calm.
4. Pull out positivity.
Review management isn’t all about negativity and trolls. Reviews can also be a chance to find out what your customers are thinking and gather positive feedback, as well as genuine constructive criticism about your business.
When you sort through your reviews for the week, you may want to pull out key takeaways and note down particularly effusive praise. This can be used in your marketing later on, to give feedback to staff members or to improve an aspect of your business.
5. Run review analytics.
Many review sites compile basic stats around weekly or monthly performance. You can also use review management software to do this, or just check your numbers manually.
Analytics can help you spot issues as they arise. For example, if you see a sudden rash of one-star ratings or a downturn in your rating average, you can go straight to the written reviews and try to work out why. Is one location falling down on customer service? Has your product changed? Are you having problems with shipping times? If you can find the root of the problem, it’s much easier to find a solution.
Stay on top of online reviews.
Want to maximise the value of positive reviews and minimise the impact of negative feedback? It’s all about keeping track of reviews as they come in, responding to negativity with grace and pulling out as many valuable insights as you can.
Keen to find out more? Download our free eBook: The complete guide to online review sites.Download eBook