Any Search Engine Optimization expert will tell you that good reviews are great for your business. Good reviews help your business gain trust with your customers. They are also noticed by Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.
Interestingly, most businesses fear to ask for reviews. Some dread the ‘negative review’ that might damage their reputation. Other businesses don’t like to ask customers for something in return for their business. However, a business thrives on both positive and negative reviews. A business owner can tend to their own business well enough, but there are several more aspects of any business that even a business owner may overlook or not realize. That’s where reviews, both good and bad, come into play.
In fact, in today’s digital world, reviews from other people help drive the decisions of today’s savvy customer. Search engine optimization specialists realize that people are currently more accustomed to being bombarded with online advertising. Also, they are much less likely to trust online ads from businesses than they were decades ago. People consider advertising from businesses as ‘fake’, painting a rosy picture that does not truly reflect a business.
So, as a better alternative, customers are turning to themselves as a trustworthy source. Reviews are a customer’s way of letting other people know about their personal experience with a business. In fact, most people trust a review of a business, especially a descriptive one, just as well as if they had been referred by a friend or neighbor. Many people will get a personal recommendation about a business, then check online reviews to ‘validate’ the business.
On the other hand, customers have become savvy about online reviews. They realize that businesses can manipulate reviews as well. People are wary when they see nothing but 100% perfect positive feedback about a business. After all, we do not live in a perfect world. Customers are used to, and actually prefer, a business that is ‘less than perfect’. Businesses that have a rating between 4.2 and 4.8 stars actually fare better than those with perfect 5.0-star reviews.
What most businesses don’t realize is that negative reviews are just as helpful as positive ones. Negative reviews help you get insights about your business from a completely different angle: the customer. Search engine optimization experts agree that a customer can teach an owner much more about their business than they realize. The customer may see a side of your business that you haven’t thought of before. Maybe the customer complains that they were inconveniently hassled or had to wait. Or, maybe one of your employees is continuously showing poor customer service skills. You may not realize there is a deficiency in your business unless your customer highlights it for you.
Instead of thinking of reviews as ‘positive and negative’, think of all reviews as ‘feedback’ for your business. This feedback tells you how your business is doing from a customer’s perspective. That ‘negative’ feedback that you receive is actually highlighting an area of your business that your customer believes needs improving. If several customers complain about a long wait line, then you know that maybe it’s time to find a way to speed things up. By using this negative feedback, you can make your business better by improving those areas your customers highlight for you.
So how do you ask for feedback from customers? Luckily, customers are more willing nowadays to leave some kind of feedback if given a place to do so. In fact, a whopping 94% of customers never tell a business directly how their experience was. Instead, they turn to reviews to point out good and bad parts of their experience, and ‘get it off their chest’. Customers will turn to their favorite outlet to air their grievances about a business. Search Engine Optimization specialists suggest creating and monitoring your business profile on popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This helps you find what your customers are saying about your business, in real time.
It makes good business sense to reach out to them to find out how their experience was. It shows you care about how they feel, whether it was good or bad. Online marketing experts recommend adding a feedback form to your website. Keep it simple; If customers are quickly able to use this feedback form to help tell a business how they're doing, whether good or bad, they will.
Having a feedback form on your website shows potential customers right from the start that you want to make your business better. It shows that you care about their opinion, and you're open to improving your business from their point of view. Plus, having customers give feedback on your website keeps negative feedback from leaving a bad mark on your social media profiles. Keep the form as simple as possible to encourage more people to complete the form. Use just a few multiple choice, yes/no, or 1-10 scale questions. Follow that with an open-ended question to solicit specific feedback.
Once you receive feedback from a customer, you have to let them now that you have listened. Responding to both positive and negative feedback not only shows customers you are listening, but it shows you want to improve your business and make it better. If the experience was bad, own up to it and let them know you are taking steps to correct the problem. This way, customers who come back the next time have a vastly improved experience. Even those who say ‘I’ll never go there again’ can be swayed if a business thanks them for highlighting the issue, and lets them know they are taking steps to correct it.
Finally, thank the customer for their feedback. Let your customer know that you appreciate them giving their opinion, regardless of what they thought about your business. If they left positive feedback, you can ask them to post that to their favorite social media platform. This increases your positive reviews while keeping negative reviews away from those platforms.
Of course, monitoring and responding to feedback can be a large job. A great way to help manage this is to get help from a professional Search Engine Optimization firm. And one of the best online marketing companies in Los Angeles is Nimbus Marketing. Their search engine optimization firm has been highly rated in Los Angeles for search engine optimization consulting services. With Nimbus Marketing as your social media marketing company, your business can only do better!
Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.