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5 Costly Mistakes With Online Reviews

Business Reviews have become incredibly powerful and can make the difference between a potential visitor coming to you or one of your competitors. Great article on how to manage, ask and respond to your online reviews.

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Business owner reading her online reviews

Every small business owner knows how valuable word-of-mouth marketing is. But did you know that online reviews can be the digital equivalent? According to a BrightLocal survey, 80% of customers trust online customer reviews as much as a personal recommendation. In the same survey, 92% said they read online reviews.

Clearly, online reviews have a big impact on small businesses. But like any other aspect of customer service, missteps can be costly. Here are the top five most common mistakes and how to avoid them.

  1. Not tracking reviews. You can’t manage reviews you don’t know about. Set up a tracking system (like Google Alerts) so you can stay aware of what customers are saying about your business online. Track your business name, of course, and consider adding your name, your business contact info and any relevant keywords. Once you know where the reviews are, you can mitigate bad ones by responding to the complaint, and leverage positive feedback in your marketing.
  2. Not asking for reviews. Don’t have any reviews? All too often, small businesses don’t encourage customers to go online and leave feedback. Whether you use a printed card or an email, you should make a habit of politely asking customers to review your business, especially right after you’ve completed a transaction or provided a service.
  3. Not responding to reviews. Responding to online reviews—good and bad—shows that you care about what customers have to say. Take the opportunity to let your customer service shine by saying “thank you” to positive reviewers, and apologizing to negative reviewers with an offer to try and resolve the problem. This approach will impress new customers as well when they see the comments.
  4. Not offering to resolve the issue offline. When you respond to a negative review, include a phone number or email address for them to contact you directly. It’s much better to sort out the complaint in private, rather than engaging in a long back-and-forth online where other potential customers can see it.
  5. Posting argumentative comments. No matter how ugly (or incorrect) a negative review might be, it’s vital that you respond calmly and professionally. Do not engage in a public spat—it makes your business look bad. Instead, focus on resolving issues offline when possible and diluting negative reviews with lots of positive ones from happy customers.

To learn more about managing online reviews, attend the free Manta Experts webinar “How to Leverage Online Reviews to Boost Sales.”

Sources: Brandon Schmidt, YDOP Internet Marketing; Chris Post, Post Modern Marketing.

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