Reputation Management 101

Are keeping an eye on your online reputation?

Do you read your reviews?

If you’re like most business owners, you don’t pay much attention to online reviews because you’re too busy running your business. However, those lurking reviews could be costing you money and stealing future clients. Yikes!

According to Harvard University research, “a 1-star different on Yelp may result in 5%-9% in business gained or lost.” That number may seem small, but it can make a HUGE difference in your bottom line. This research was done on just Yelp! Can you imagine the results from reviews on Amazon, Etsy and Trip Advisor?

If you don’t think reviews play an important part in your business, think again. According to a study by Opinion Research Corporation (June 2008), 83% of consumers say online customer reviews influence their purchase decisions.

Now, more than ever, your online reputation matters. In this digital age, word-of-mouth (WOM) referrals translate into word-of-online referrals. You may think that you create the best of the best product or service, but people could be destroying your brand with negative reviews.

If you discover negative reviews of your brand, here are 2 simple steps to recover.

1. Don’t Delete Negative Comments!

I know this may seem counter intuitive, but trust me, don’t delete them! Even if you did nothing wrong, leave the comments up. Deleting negative comments makes you look guilty and will likely backfire. 

Note: There are always exceptions to this rule. Feel free to delete and block users who use profanity and post inappropriate content. If you can’t delete them manually, flag the review.

2. Respond Nicely to Everything!

It may seem daunting and pointless, but I promise you, it’s worth it! Even if a review blames you for something that isn't your fault or not even true, respond! Here’s an example:

  • Review: This restaurant sucks! We were seated at a dirty table that went unattended for 10 minutes! We finally flagged down a server who said that it wasn’t his job to wipe down tables; it was the bus boy’s job. I promise to tell everyone I know about the horrible treatment we received at this establishment.
  • Response: I’m sorry to hear of your negative experience with us. We take cleanliness very seriously and this issue has been resolved with a new bussing policy for our restaurant. We’d love to have you back, so here’s a 20% off coupon to use during your next visit!

Here’s why it’s worth it.

  • Whoever wrote the review (however merit-less it may be) will feel that their input is valued.
  • People who read your reviews will be impressed that you take the time to respond to them. It comes across as a business owner that cares.

The most important thing to remember is to keep moving forward! Don’t let online reviews stir up self-doubt or second-guessing. The opinion of one doesn't represent the opinion of everyone. So keep your head up and keep doing what you love!