One of the perks and perils of being a modern company is your online presence. Without having to do anything yourself, information will be collected and submitted to help people find you. Some of this information is inherently useful, such as providing directions and operating times. But others are two-edged and can hinder as much as help. One of these is online reviews. Ideally, these allow others to rate the performance of your business. If you ignore reviews and the problems and opportunities they represent, you can find yourself with a bad reputation you may not be able to shake.
Why You Need to Review Your Reviews
A core tenant of reputation management is being aware of what people are currently saying about you. Not only does this allow you to better respond to positive and negative criticism alike, but it also allows you to proactively monitor and get ahead of issues. When analyzing a review, make sure to look for the following information:
- Rating: From stars to numbers, what was the rating? Keep this in mind when comparing it to the content and context of users to better gauge what it really means.
- Content: Did the users leave a message along with the rating? Review this to understand better what they did and did not like about their experience.
- User: Especially for negative reviews, it might be worth reviewing the user’s profile for other reviews. Is this their first review? Do they have a history of negative reviews? Do you have information that this person indeed used your products or services?
- Context: Comparing the above data together can help you better get context for the review and give you a better idea on how to handle it.
How Should You Handle Reviews?
As we explain in our blog, Should I Respond to Yelp Reviews?, analyzing the review should only be the first step. Taking action to engage with the review will not only help you understand (and even change) the mindset of the reviewer but also shows you’re both active and willing to respond to criticism and praise alike. Some pointers from the blog above:
- Always respond to reviews, both positive and negative.
- Maintain a positive tone and be diplomatic with negative reviews.
- Change your actions depending on the rating. High ratings deserve praise, and low ratings deserve action.
- After initial conversations with negative reviews, seek private communication to resolve the issue.
Using Negative Reviews to Troubleshoot Issues
More than just reviewing and responding to reviews, it’s vital to take action. This is more than just working with customers to comp meals or handle returns: it’s about using them to make sure you don’t have underlying issues with your business cause negative reviews and to praise changes that are bringing in positive reviews. Let’s go through some specific scenarios:
Example 1: Suddenly Getting Negative Reviews on Yelp
Recently your restaurant has been experiencing a lot of negative reviews on Yelp. Some cite poor service, but others are non-specific. When you reach out to the reviewers to get more information and looking at comping them, get more information on what the problem was. If you’re experiencing a lot of service-related criticism, it’s time to talk to managers about potential staff and training issues.
Example 2: Recent Facebook Fame is Bringing in Reviews
Recent success on Facebook (via better posting, engagement, and paid ads) has brought in more Facebook likes, comments, and reviews. Engaging with these Facebook reviews is critical: the more you engage on social media platforms, the more positive responses you get. With Facebook having reviews, post comments, and messages available for your audience to give feedback, you need to make sure you’ve got time for daily review and responses.
Example 3: Where Did These Positive Google Reviews Come From?
If you’ve suddenly got an influx of Google reviews on your business listing, it’s essential to track the source. If changes in your sales or marketing departments have brought this in, give praise and make sure to maximize those review channels. Look at making review soliciting part of your sales cycle, something that employees or email marketing follow up on to maximize your review power. Make sure to leverage this on your online stores as well, as numbers of reviews as well as their positivity impact customer purchasing behavior.
All of this is part of your brand reputation management, a key part of any advanced marketing plan. Want to learn more? It’s time to contact Vision Advertising. We’re marketing experts at both getting you out in the online world with website, social media, and SEO services, and then practicing global brand management to build and monitor your review and online presence.