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How to Manage Online Reviews For Local Businesses

Managing online reviews is one of the most important things to consider when you’re running a local business. Whether it’s Google My Business, Whitepages or Yelp reviews, consumers are relying on online reviews more than ever before to make purchasing decisions. In fact, according to BIA Kelsey, 90% of consumers read online reviews and 70% use them as the primary decision-making tool when it comes to choosing local businesses.

The key to a successful review management strategy is to make sure that customers are left satisfied and that positive reviews outweigh negative ones. That requires monitoring what people are saying about your business online, responding to negative reviews as promptly as possible and generating more positive reviews to increase your star ratings.

Achieving a review management strategy is a complex task, so it’s best to get help from a company with experience in this area. They’ll have the tools and resources to help you improve your reputation, generate reviews, respond to them in a timely manner and challenge negative or defamatory ones if necessary.

1. Identify key review sites and social networks that matter to your customers.

Online reviews are the single most powerful driver of customer-business interaction, so it’s crucial that you understand which sites are influencing your market. Once you know which review sites are most relevant for your business, it’s time to start a strategy that will earn you more reviews on those platforms and drive more business to your doors.

2. Develop a review management process that works for your business, your team and your clients.

Creating a scalable and centralized review management process is essential to keep up with the volume of reviews and comments that are being generated by your customers. The right software will help you manage all of this from a central location, so you can focus on growing your business and serving your clients well. Plus, you’ll be able to remove fake or spammy reviews in a timely manner.

3. Create a consistent review response template for both positive and negative feedback.

Replying to all of your customer’s feedback in a consistent manner can make it more likely that they’ll come back again and again. It also shows your potential customers that you care about their experience and are willing to address any concerns they may have.

4. Offer an incentive for reviews.

Offering a reward for reviews is a great way to encourage people to leave their opinions about your business. However, this can lead to biased reviews that don’t accurately reflect a specific customer’s experience.

5. Don’t post fake reviews.

Having fake reviews on your website can negatively impact your online reputation and can even get you into legal trouble. Fortunately, most review sites have their own processes to flag and remove fake reviews.

6. Respond to a negative review as quickly as possible and always in a professional manner.

Negative reviews attract more attention than positive reviews, so it’s imperative that you take immediate action to resolve the problem and show your customers that they’re appreciated. This can be done by sending a personal note that explains the situation, apologizes and assures your customer that you’re working to fix the problem.

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