If you’ve ever checked online reviews for other businesses, you can bet your current and prospective customers are doing the same for yours. A report published by Womply, which studied transactions and online review data for more than 38,000 retail businesses across the US, states that the number of reviews a business receives on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business, has a larger impact on revenue than their star rating on those sites. Businesses that averaged 82.5 reviews across all review sites earned 54% more in annual revenue than average. Those that went a step further and replied to at least half of their reviews earned more than $166,000 in annual revenue than businesses that didn’t reply to any!
Review aggregator sites, like the ones mentioned above, are frequented by customers more often than you think and business pages on social media, especially Facebook, have given them a new avenue to candidly write about their experience with a product or service. With so many people actively writing and seeking reviews about your business, it’s time you gave your online reputation the attention it deserves.
In this blog, we’ll explain why it is important to pay attention to your business’ online reviews, and how to do it. If you’re new to this, we’ve also included some templates that you can use to reach out to your customers and request reviews.
Once you have your business up and running, claim your listings (it’s free!) on the major review sites. Here’s a primer on how to do that. It is especially important to claim and rectify the ones that have errors in your basic information –– name, address, and phone number. Once you claim your listing, you can add details like your website, location of your store, logo, photos, etc. Use a free scanner tool like this one to find all your online listings.
Customers want to know that a business cares about their experience with your product or service and that you are open to receiving feedback. Yet 75% of retail businesses do not respond to their customers’ online reviews. This may not directly lead to a loss in revenue, but is a wasted opportunity to create lasting relationships that could potentially translate to more sales in the future.
While it may be tempting to ignore negative reviews or address them over private messages with the customer, openly accepting the feedback and responding professionally may actually be beneficial to your brand image. If you are a small business receiving only a limited number of reviews, take advantage of it and respond to all of them personally. By not copy-pasting a generic reply that sounds like it’s coming from a bot, you’ll bring a personal feel to a customer interaction that your bigger competitors can’t.
While it may be disheartening to receive even one bad review, it does not automatically spell doom for your business. Womply found that 19% of the reviews the average business received were negative. But interestingly, businesses that received 15-20% negative reviews earned 13% more in annual revenue than those with more favorable reviews! This may come down to the fact that people get suspicious of seeing only 5-star reviews for a brand because it makes it seem like the company has bought fake reviews or is actively removing the negative ones.
To spin a negative review into a positive interaction with your business, address the review on an open forum, reply professionally, and try to improve the customer’s experience with your product or service in the best way you can. It’s well worth the effort –– businesses that reply to more than 25% of their reviews earned 35% more revenue than average, and their ratings on review sites improved significantly. Fight the urge to get defensive and immediately reply to a negative review, as a lack of response may antagonize the customer even more.
Use this helpful template to reply to a negative or mixed review:
Hey (customer’s first name)!
Thank you for taking the time to leave this review. At (your business name) we love hearing from our customers and use your feedback to improve our product(s)/service(s).
I am sorry to hear about (the complaint in the negative review). This is not the experience we wanted you to have with (your business name). I have reached out to our (concerned department) Team with your feedback and am working with them to fix this as soon as possible.
Please allow me (time – hours/days) to get back to you, and let’s find a way to make this right.
Finding too few or no reviews on a business tells customers that it’s either just getting off the ground or that no one cares about it. If no one is reviewing your company, reach out to some of your best customers and ask them to help you out. The benefit to your brand is worth a few hundred bucks in gift cards or product discounts.
To get you started, use one of these templates to personalize your messages to customers.
Hey (customer’s first name),
I hope you are enjoying your recent purchase of the (product/service)!
I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to write about your experience with it, and leave an honest review for the product here (include hyperlink to website/review site/social media page where you want your reviews to appear). Your review will help us immensely in improving our product/service offering, and help other customers like you make an informed purchase decision.
Hey (customer’s first name),
How has your experience with the (product/service) been so far?
Leave an honest review – good or bad! – on the page here (include hyperlink to website/review site/social media page) and we’ll send you a discount code that you can use to get x% off your next order! Feedback from customers like you help us immensely in improving our products/services.
When reaching out to customers for reviews, email them from your very own professional domain-based email. Try Titan today and you can start sending out emails to your customers instantly!
To learn more about boosting your digital presence, check out our guide to getting your business online in 2020!
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