Why So Important?
During the past 15 years, companies such as Yelp and TripAdvisor have changed the way consumers choose businesses and vendors. In fact, Brightlocal.com, a company that monitors online consumer activity, conducted a survey in 2015 that revealed nine out of 10 people will search a review site before engaging a particular business. Nearly 90% said they trust the online reviews and ratings, and use it to guide their decisions. A company with only a few stars and many negative reviews can easily rule you out as a potential vendor.
How Many People Use Review Sites?
The largest site in the world allowing members to review a business is Facebook. With 1.6 billion users, if someone gives you a negative review, that’s how many people could potentially see it. That’s more than the population of China, the most peopled country in the world. Although it is unlikely that all Facebook users would actually see a review of your business, potential customers snooping reviews about your company are sure to see it. Every month, Yelp dishes up 168 million reviews to searches on everything from limousine companies to restaurants, auto repair facilities to veterinarians. About 230 million people have downloaded the TripAdvisor app on their mobile devices and 190 reviews are added every minute of every day, according to TripAdvisor. The bottom line is too many people visit these sites for you to ignore them.
What Is “Managing Reviews”?
The first part of managing reviews is to “claim” your page with the site. All review sites have a link similar to “Is this your business?” that allows you to claim ownership of the business being reviewed. This enables you to respond to reviews by either thanking the client for a positive review or addressing a negative review with your side of the story. While you may not want to air out your dirty laundry for the world to see, you are better off posting a simple statement such as, “Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention. We will focus on improving in the future to avoid repeating a mistake such as this. Please contact our office so that we can make this right with you.” This lets people know your clients are important to you and you know how to engage them. To accomplish this, you must have someone who checks the pages for negative reviews and has the authority to address any issues immediately. Once you claim your page, you will be notified when people review you.
Once you have claimed the page, you not only can respond to complaints and praises, but you also will have the opportunity to make special offers targeted at new clients. Remember, they looked you up on Yelp because they consider engaging your service. These sites allow you to post photos of your fleet, offer coupons for first time users or repeat clients, and tell potential clients about your business. Since they are already checking you out, you should make it easy to do business. Add a link to your own website or directly to your reservations page if you offer that technology. If you do, make sure you say so in the description of your business on your page. If your business doesn’t appear on TripAdvisor.com or Yelp, add it yourself and ask some of your clients to post reviews for you. You should encourage clients to give positive reviews as most people only do a review when they are angry. Make sure your page is maintained with positive reviews that make negative reviews seem like they come from negative people.
Using Data For Improvement
No one likes to read a bad review of their business. Whether it is a Broadway actor or the chef at the hottest restaurant in town, it stings to read about your trips and falls for the world to see. However, put your feelings aside and read what people are saying repeatedly about your business and make corrections. Obviously, if four people post reviews about dirty vehicles, you have a problem in that area. If six people post reviews of how wonderful a particular chauffeur was in his service delivery, take the time to praise the employee and make him aware of the reviews.