Statistics say, “Yes,” to the above questions, and in fact, there are even more things to consider about your online Web presence on review sites.
Yelp Better Than The BBB
Back in the day, your grandparents called the Better Business Bureau to learn more about the reputation and history of a local business. Today, many online review sites exist where your customers can spout about their awesome or, heaven forbid, horrible experiences with your service.
While Yelp and others don’t work to resolve issues between a client and a service provider as the BBB does, comments left by angry clients can destroy a reputation or tarnish an image at the least. Poorly worded defensive responses from your company can make things worse as the world watches your dirty laundry unfold. Problems from as recent as last night can show up online by morning with no chance to intervene. Experiences are shared online without any filtering.
What The Numbers Say About Savvy Consumers
Searchengine.com conducted a survey in 2010 and 2012 revealing a dramatic increase in consumers using review sites to check up on companies before doing business. In fact, 72% of those surveyed say they trust online reviews; 52% make their decisions based on online reviews; and only 28% make their purchase decisions based on price, but instead are willing to pay more for outstanding service. That’s great for our industry.
Encourage Clients to Review You
If you’re afraid to ask for a review, then that’s a topic for another article. When clients make positive comments to you by phone or in person, ask them to post a review on Yelp, Google Local, TripAdvisor, or wherever you want to point them. Consider creating a space on your website for testimonials about your company. There are tons of review sites, and you should be present on as many as possible. Obviously, sites such as Urbanspoon.com would not be helpful to you. However, even Facebook has a “Recommend this business to your friends” button. You can ask people to post on your Facebook page about their experience.
By the way, if your business is not on Facebook, you won’t even look like a legitimate company in our electronic world. When people search your business name on a search engine and nothing comes up, it looks sketchy.
The dominant review site of course is Yelp. There’s also Angie’s List, which is free for businesses to join, but consumers pay to use the site resulting in higher quality clients. Google Local or Google Places are worthwhile. Yahoo still holds a 13.5% share of all online searches, so it’s a good place to be. Insidepages, Citysearch and TripAdvisor are all great places to be as well for our industry. Set up your own profile on each one of these sites and then ask clients to go there and write a positive review.
Handling A Bad Review
Never attempt to resolve a bad review online. Always acknowledge the bad review with an apology. If you can identify the disgruntled party, contact them by phone and attempt to resolve the issue in an amicable way. Conclude the resolution by asking if they are satisfied with the outcome. Once this is done, return to the review site to update it with your reply. Thank the client for bringing the matter to your attention and end the reply with a statement that you are happy a satisfactory conclusion was reached. You should demonstrate that your company responds when things go bad.