You know that online reviews can be key to success for your business, but the task of monitoring and managing your reviews presence can be a daunting one. Here are three tips to help you make sure your online reviews strategy is a solid one.
1. Learn from the trends.
If you read a few reviews about your business, chances are you'll begin to notice some patterns. And those patterns can prove useful as you make decisions about your business. You may want to track stats about the quantity or frequency of the reviews people are leaving about your business. You could evaluate shifts in customer sentiment over time, measure how you stack up against competitors — 3.5 stars feel pretty good when your competitors are averaging two's and three's, but can hurt business if your biggest rival is averaging four stars — or examine some other trends that are impacting your business.
- The Case of the Missing Silverware A restaurant chain knew that the term "silverware" was popping up in a lot of its negative online reviews. They assumed it must be a complaint that the silverware was dirty. But after reading through all their reviews, they discovered the most common issue about silverware was that there wasn't enough of it — increasing the time customers had to wait before they could eat. That was a problem the restaurant could easily address!
By making an effort to understand the full context of customer reviews, you put yourself in a position to uncover some easy wins for your business. Reviews can certainly alert you to potential issues before they escalate — and they can help you identify and celebrate the locations and employees going above and beyond for your customers.
2. Hug your haters.
Today, customers expect businesses to respond to reviews (30% say it's important, up from 10% in 2016). And businesses who respond to reviews are 68% more likely to raise their rating by a half-star in 6 months than businesses who don't.
It's no fun to read negative reviews about your business, your employees, or yourself. But responding to negative reviews allows you to resolve issues as they arise with the goal of winning those customers over — and making your business run more smoothly. The customer experience doesn't end at your front door, so make sure you put in the effort online to perpetuate great experiences, and turn negative ones into something positive.
3. Look beyond the stars.
Consumers do pay close attention to ratings (58% say average star rating is the most important thing they look for in reviews). However, that number is just a starting point. Customers increasingly value the context around those star ratings, [reading an average of 7 reviews before deciding they trust a business.
When it comes to customers and search engines alike, the quality, quantity, and recency of your reviews make a big difference. Keep the reviews about your business fresh by encouraging customers to leave feedback on your website. Search engines only surface ratings in organic search results for businesses that publish reviews directly on their own websites. And when star ratings accompany search results, they increase the likelihood of someone clicking through to the site by 153%.