If your business relies on foot traffic to any extent, local listings are essential to your online strategy. In fact, even companies that don’t see clients at any fixed location benefit from local listings – the majority of customers want to do business with someone nearby.
Yes, that’s even true when location “doesn’t matter.” Go figure!
Whatever the case, listings in local directories make you more visible online and help search engines bring local customers to you. While some directories are provided for free, many monetize their traffic with ads or community-building features.
And what feature attracts the most attention? Reviews, of course.
Reviews, Not Your Site, May Be The First Impression Customers Have About You
Once you start claiming your listings in local directories, reviews are sure to follow.
The most powerful testimonials people can get are from their friends or family. Surprisingly, though, most people put a lot of stock in online reviews as well.
Although they might be aware online reviews can be manipulated, the majority of people trust them. 91% of users read reviews at least occasionally, and 84% consider them trustworthy.
There are two sticking points here:
That amplifies the power of your local business listings.
It means people who are in the process of choosing between two similar businesses will be more likely to choose yours over the competition. Once they do, you’ll have the chance to give them an experience that will keep them coming back.
How To Get Your Business Into The Limelight With Better Reviews
You can’t stop people from leaving bad reviews, and you have to be careful about how you encourage positive ones. Many websites will pull a company’s listing if they feel the owners have tried to “manipulate” ratings in any way.
So ... what the heck can you do? A fair question!
1. Solicit Feedback From Customers Systematically
No matter what kind of business you have, you can take the initiative and ask for the review.
For example, a restaurant might have review information on the receipt. A personal trainer, chiropractor, or other “coach” can simply ask for a review at the end of a session. And if your business is online, you can request reviews as part of your email marketing strategy.
The key is to know when to ask.
Keep these standards in mind:
2. Respond Directly To All Negative Customer Reviews
Negative reviews happen – and while that’s unfortunate, it’s not a total loss.
People tend to get a little worried when they see perfect reviews for any product or service. It’s most noticeable in retail, like Amazon, but it still applies to local businesses. The idea that a team has never had an off day strikes most customers as a tad suspicious.
When negative reviews do happen, the key is to turn them into a positive.
Respond Promptly To All Reviews
While it’s really a good idea to answer all reviews, negative ones take top priority. The sooner you address a negative review, the sooner the reviewer will stop complaining to all their friends.
Take The Right Tone
The customer isn’t always right, but it’s important to be patient no matter what their position is. You’re not only talking to them, but to everyone who might read the exchange for years to come.
With that in mind, be careful not to sound like it’s “their fault for asking.” Whoever writes the response to a bad review should talk to others on the team to get a second opinion before posting.
If you sound condescending, observers might conclude you’re trying to shoot the messenger, not solve their problem. Stay calm and give a personalized response, citing the details of the issue.
Know When To Go Private
It’s a good idea to start addressing any bad review in a public forum where others can see. Before you discuss any confidential details of a customer’s situation, take it to private message.
Follow Up Once The Situation Is Resolved
Some people do leave bad reviews in the hopes of getting something for free, but most just want to have their voice heard. If you get the details and take action on their dilemma, they will most likely be impressed. Some will even be enthusiastic to give you another try.
Once the situation is resolved you can always ask them to update their review. Not only can they let others know about your tact and professionalism, but in some cases they can even adjust the score. On top of that, you may have created a loyal customer.
New York Ave can unlock the secrets of more leads and repeat business in your local area. To get started, contact us today.