We live in a day where people trust what they read online more than their own friends and family. Your spouse could tell you that the pizza place down the street is the best one in the area, but you will still search for that restaurant online and make a decision about whether or not to order pizza based on the reviews! Service-based businesses tend to see the biggest benefit, or detriment, from reviews. Not just the review itself either. Many people will judge a business based on their response to the reviews they have received, both the positive and negative ones.
Google’s search algorithm is influenced by the number of reviews and the overall ranking for your company. According to Podium, a company which assists businesses in garnering and answering reviews, when a company has a 4.4 star rating or better they will be shown more frequently in search results for “best near me”. Think about the way you search for a burger joint, daycare, or pest control company. Do you search for “average pest control company near me”? No, you want the best! Google knows this, and so when a company has been deemed “the best” by consistently acquiring positive reviews, they are rewarded.
How can I get more reviews for my company?
There are a number of fantastic ways to encourage your clients to leave a positive review. They all start with the most important – and that is to provide great service or a great product. Next, be sure to ASK for the review! So many businesses forget this critical step. People are very quick to tell others when they have a negative experience, but it is not the norm to leave a positive review unless prompted. Have a way for people to easily navigate to your review sites from your website. Tell them in person, at the time of service, that your business truly values their review. Showcase positive reviews when you build or update your website and social media pages.
Should I respond to reviews?
When someone takes the time to leave your business a review, give them the courtesy of a response. On certain platforms, such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook, a notification will be sent to the reviewer that you have responded. This reminder may even prompt the reviewer to share their words more widely. Use this opportunity to make things right with someone who left a negative review. Resist the urge to respond to a negative review with more negativity. Yes, it hurts when someone blasts your business; however, this is an opportunity for you to really shine! Acknowledge the reviewer’s comments, then tell what your company is doing to make things right for that person, or if there is a company-wide change being incorporated. If you are able to, reach out to the reviewer personally and see if you can fix their issue. Many times, this will result in the negative review being removed completely. At any rate, be sure to address the negative review respectfully and professionally. Others who read the response will think more highly of your company for doing so. You can flag a review if there are hateful comments, profanity, or if it is obvious another company is attempting to harm yours. In our experience, it is difficult to get reviews removed, and better to address them quickly.
Are you too busy actually running your company to worry about things like responding to reviews? Contact Mark Thomas Media! While we know there is no silver bullet for marketing, by operating according to our fundamentals we have been able to help our clients grow their businesses. We can become an extension of your team to manage business reviews!