With much of the world going online in the last year, businesses saw an influx in new traffic from a variety of places like Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. As these businesses acquire new customers, they also acquire reviews from those customers pertaining to their experience with the business. For this reason, it has become even more important for businesses to stay on top of their reviews and respond to customers in an immediate fashion. The last thing a business owner wants to encounter is a negative experience with a customer who is left waiting for a response.
Your Reputation Matters
In this day and age, people are going online to find reviews about businesses before choosing to work with them. Most customers will either turn to Google My Business, Facebook or Yelp to look up experiences others have had with that business. This means as the business owner, you have to be active on these profiles and respond to these reviews as quickly as possible.
Do You Handle Your Reviews?
Out of 10 small businesses interviewed, 60% claimed to ignore or not even know they had reviews online. A quick Google search of your business name + reviews will show you exactly what customers are using to decide if they want to hire you. This makes knowing where your reviews are being left a critical component of your business’s reputation.
So, what channels do you need to be paying attention to?
While it’s commonly associated with restaurant reviews, Yelp is actually a great place for a variety of businesses to acquire reviews. Head over to Yelp and look at your specific category to see what competitors are already listing and acquiring reviews.
For example, this insurance agent on Yelp created a profile and regularly receives reviews on his profile, to which he can quickly respond to. This lets the customer know they are important to the business and are more likely to be hired again.
Everyone and their grandma are on Facebook, and these people are also leaving reviews about local businesses. Make sure you have a profile for your business built out so you are able to 1) be found by people on Facebook and 2) be able to interact with customers who have left reviews.
Google My Business
Notably the largest review network online, Google My Business is likely the first destination for customers to leave a review. Nearly 80% of the internet uses Google and it’s likely they will go here to leave a review, either positive or negative. Like other profiles, it’s imperative for business owners to create a profile with their information, contact details and any other pertinent characteristics about the business.
In this example, we see where a personal injury attorney in Denver created a profile with information about his firm and is now collecting reviews from clients.
Every business should have a profile on Google My Business no matter the industry they operate in.
Specialized Review Services
Aside from the major three review networks listed above, you’ll also discover customers leaving reviews on more industry-specific websites. These may include Zillow or Trulia for real estate agents, Judy’s Book or Home Advisor for homes services professionals and Avvo for legal professionals. If you find yourself in a specialized industry, you need to be sure you have a profile built out on these kinds of sites.
Are Review Websites Free?
Most sites that offer reviews from customers are free to the business owner to use. This helps generate content for the review platform and helps the local community. These platforms of course have advertising tools as well, but any business owner can get started on a review platform for absolutely free.
Follow Up with Customers
Although it may seem somewhat difficult, the number one way to increase your reviews is simply to ask. Consider creating a text message or email program that will automatically send requests for reviews as soon as the interaction with your customer has ended. Not only will the experience be fresh on the customer’s mind, it’s also convenient for them.
If you have recently started managing your online reviews, we would love to know how it’s going in the comments.