Business reputation has never been so public. Just Google a restaurant name and there it is… comments by happy customers as well as unflattering complaints. Like if you search “Chipotle” on Yelp, you’ll see one comment that says “soggy tortillas, indifferent service, and cold meat.” Another comment says “Love Chipotle. Consistent, quality, mostly organic meats.” Anyone can comment affecting business reputation; they don’t even need to be a real customer.
But what does this mean for your business? Each customer experience counts more than ever. One bad online review could turn away dozens of potential customers. Like it or not, nothing is private anymore. Just one negative blog post can spread like wild fire.
The truth is that your business is probably pretty similar to someone else’s. To stand out you need an undeniably great business reputation. It’s the only way to be successful in the long run. As part of your online marketing, specific effort should be dedicated to gathering customer testimonials and online reviews. Great service can inspire a compliment. However asking for review (and appropriately following up), will help your business leave a lasting online impression. We’ve found that using a third-party to collect a testimonial will get it off a to-do list and actually published. Having your clients interviewed by an objective sources is also a great way to get input on how to improve service.
If you do get a bad online review, respond nicely. Follow-up and share what you’re doing to improve. Those who view the review and its ensuing conversation will see through any malicious comments. Crackpots will be seen as just that. Reputation can be difficult to quantify. It takes time to build. But it show how your business uniquely serves your clientele.
How do you use online reviews? What’s working for your business?