Are You Reviewing Your Reviews?

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When was the last time you saw what people are saying about you online? What does your online reputation say about your business? With more than 76 percent of consumers reading online reviews before visiting a local business, your online reputation is essential to maintaining and growing your customer base.

Maybe you’re thinking, “There’s not enough time in the day. I can’t keep up with all the sites,” or “Why does it matter what they say online?”

With consumers having easy access to all the social networking and review sites through their digital devices, your online reputation/digital marketing has now become the modern day word-of-mouth marketing. So what do you need to do with your reviews?

Here are some helpful tips for you to begin tackling your online reputation:

1. Resolve them before they start

The simplest way to deal with negative customer experiences is to make sure they never happen to begin with. Make sure all of your customers leave happy or with a plan to fix their issue. This minimizes the likelihood of the customer leaving negative reviews on a site.

2. Have a plan

Make time in your day to monitor social media and popular review sites for new reviews. If you don’t have time daily, do so at least once a week. Give the site reviews the same attention to detail you would give a customer calling to complain or one who is standing at your counter complaining.

Break the complaint down, and tackle it step-by- step. For example, does it involve an employee? If so, talk to that employee and gather as much information as you can before responding. Know what your course of action will be before starting your response. Plan what you can offer to rectify the complaint.

3. Contact the hosting website (exclusively for review sites)

Do you think the review is a personal attack, spam or published by a competitor? You can contact the site to try to have the review removed. However, most review sites do not allow removal of negative comments unless it violates the website’s user terms of agreement or is proven to be from a competing business. Therefore, this process is usually difficult to accomplish and very time consuming.

4. Engage in the conversation

Don’t stay silent! Remember, anyone and everyone can see these reviews. This includes potential new customers researching your shop or customers looking for shops in the area.

By responding to your negative reviews, you allow any potential customer to see your side of the story and receive a glimpse into your customer service.

5. Leave your ego at the door

The tone of your response should be professional. Sometimes negative reviews can evoke anger or frustration. Do not respond while emotional, but you shouldn’t wait too long, either. Responding within 24 hours is best.

Learn from your mistakes. Customers’ complaints are not always off base. Maybe you did miss the mark. Use the opportunity to correct your mistake and make the appropriate changes in your shop.

6. Encourage customers to leave reviews

Now that you have an idea how you can tackle bad reviews, don’t forget about the positive reviews. Positive reviews can often be forgotten. You may ask, “Why should I respond to them?”

Negative reviews, especially those posted to online review sites, will remain viewable for a very long time, it is important to have positive reviews to balance them out.

People are naturally less inclined to take the time to post a positive review. You may need to proactively encourage customers to leave reviews. Why not provide a special offer with a discount on their next service or a free tire rotation if they leave a review?

7. Use positive reviews to promote your business

Celebrate positive reviews with your employees to reemphasize the importance of doing things right all the time, and promote positive reviews within your business. Highlight what customers had serviced. Call attention to the exceptional service you provided. You will be motivating your customers and potential new customers to inquire about other services you offer. Remember, you are showing them how they will be treated at your shop!

Responding to both your good and bad reviews shows you are going the extra mile for your customers. In an age where technology rules and everything is becoming automated, you will set yourself apart by making sure you stand out for your customer service and keep customers coming through your doors!

KATE ROSS is the integrated media manager for Mighty Auto Parts. She can be reached at kate.ross@mightyautoparts.com.

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