In today’s world, reviews matter. Everyone consults online review platforms such as Yelp and Google to determine whether or not they want to spend their time or money on a product or service. Many people I’ve asked say they won’t even entertain a purchase if it has less than a three-star rating. There are many instances in which a poor review is deserved, but there are also plenty of online reviews that threaten businesses unfairly, so it’s important to keep an eye on the feedback you’re getting so you can handle things appropriately and in a timely manner.
The other weekend I had an awful experience at a restaurant, and it really made me realize firsthand why unhappy customers are so quick to react. Working in the industry of reputation and reviews, I took a breath amidst my frustration and thought about my next move.
I figured I should wait until taking my anger to the internet in the form of a review to see if I could get through to anyone at the restaurant. I first called the restaurant and left a message on their machine. Next, I sent them a detailed email. Then, I even used their Facebook chat feature to send a message. When no one got back to me through any format, I made the decision to leave a review.
After leaving a review on Yelp and Google about my negative experience, I finally received a call from the owner. He was apologetic, yet stated to me on the phone that he typically doesn’t really pay a lot of attention to his reviews online and maybe he should.
Since the owner did the right thing, I went back to Yelp and Google and updated my reviews and star ratings along with it. In my mind, it wasn’t worth leaving the first bad part of the experience online and then not updating the review, since my experience changed after speaking with the owner who handled the situation appropriately.
Don’t Skip Reading (and Updating) Your Reviews Online
Most people read reviews online before purchasing an item or going to eat at a restaurant. In this field of reputation management, we see many of our clients who have done right by their customers after a negative review but still suffer the public consequences when the review isn’t updated.
Many customers never take the time to go back and update their initial review to reflect the current standing of their experience or how it ended. To that I’ll say: Business owners, don’t forget to read and follow up on your reviews — responding can turn an unhappy patron into a return customer. And to customers: If a business owner apologizes and tries to improve your experience with their business, help them out by updating your review.
Why Are Reviews Important?
At the end of the day, we are all responsible for the footprint we leave online. So why are reviews important? For customers, it’s important not to jump to conclusions and put everything out there before you’ve tried other routes first, like phone calls, emails, and chats. Being transparent up until the very end of an experience is knowledgeable for both parties. For businesses, there are so many different review platforms out there, so it’s important as a brand to stay up to date on each one and see what customers are saying about you and how you can improve their experience.
Tips for How to Improve Online Reviews
There are many helpful social listening tools out there that can help to keep up with any mention your business receives. Be responsive to angry customers and be knowledgeable about which review platforms you’re listed on. Read up on the content guidelines of each of those platforms as well.
Sometimes reviewers cross lines that are not tolerated on review websites, so you can flag those reviews for removal so they don’t impact the view other customers have of your business.
The point is, reviews matter, whether you’re the writer or receiver. Be responsible with reviews so that good businesses can succeed and not be negatively impacted by one bad experience. If managing or improving your online reviews is something your business could use help with, our team of online reputation management pros would be happy to work with you.