Do you know what people are saying about your business online?
People are talking about your company regardless of whether you are aware. The good news is you can use this to your advantage.
Having a favourable online reputation gives you free brand awareness. When people share their positive experiences about working with you, you don’t have to spend as much time trying to convince potential consumers to choose your business. Online reviews are akin to a personal recommendation — they provide consumers with reassurance that they are choosing the right company.
If you don’t have any (or many) online reviews, now is the time to start making reputation management part of your daily process. To obtain reviews, start by asking for them from current, past or loyal customers. People, particularly women, love to help, especially after they’ve had a good experience.
After a purchase, simply send an e-mail to your customer asking for a review. Be sure to make it effortless for them by providing a link directly to your preferred review platform. Also, ask for completed photos of the job to use on your website and social media. Customers are often flattered by this request. Plus, it provides additional content for your website and social media channels that shows real work that you are able to execute.
Other ways to ask for reviews include showroom signage with a QR code that directly links to your preferred review platform and a widget on your website that makes it easy for people to leave a review on their own time. You’ll also want to have a place on your website where people can read your positive reviews.
Whether you already have online reviews or just getting started, it’s important you respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. If someone takes the time to say something nice, it deserves public acknowledgement. And responding to negative reviews gives you the chance to tell your side of the story.
Don’t worry if you run a successful business and have some negative reviews. It’s actually ideal to have a few where you have responded. This shows potential consumers how you handled the problem. Every company has issues; it’s the recovery and resolution that show your dedication to customer service.
Before responding to a negative review, take a deep breath. Even walk away if needed. Then, gather the facts, remove the emotion and proceed with compassion. While the more promptly you respond, the better, it’s best to gather your thoughts and composure beforehand so your response is professional.
Regardless of review type, address the customer by name. This shows how much their review means to you and that you value the time they took to provide feedback. Be sure to restate the customer’s concerns by acknowledging the issue. And always thank the customer for their review and provide a way for them to contact you. Keep in mind, the higher the position of the person responding, the better. If you’ve ever had a problem with someone, chances are you react better when a manager or owner provides the apology or solution.
If you made a mistake, be human. Apologize for the customer’s experience, take responsibility and offer a solution to make it right. But do not offer money or discounts publicly online. This just teaches people that if they complain, they can get something for free.
Should there be an angriness to a review and you believe the person is unlikely to be satisfied with a few compassionate sentences, provide a response that acknowledges the issue is complex. State that in order to give it the full attention it deserves, the matter is best handled in person or offline.
Whenever you don’t think a review was provided by an actual customer, post a response that says, “Unfortunately, we can’t find your account in our records. Resolving this matter is very important to us. Please contact us so that we may gather more information in order to resolve your issue.” Chances are, you’ll never hear from them again but you’ve shown the public you care.
Shannon Vogel is the owner of Reach Social, a professional social media company that offers full-service, customized social media management, social advertising, content creation, reputation management, training and consultation to the floor covering industry. Shannon can be reached at [email protected].