This may seem obvious to many, but it never ceases to amaze me how many businesses neglect their reputation by not addressing negative reviews online. Seriously, FAIL. It has gotten to the point where I almost feel morally obligated to give the local businesses I frequent a heads up when I see a bunch of bad reviews.
Your local business listing represents your brand and the way your customers feel about you. Even if negative reviews posted are isolated incidents or few-and-far-between bad experiences, your potential customers do not know this. Negative reviews diminish brand perception and in an economy where consumers are thinking twice about where they spend their hard earned cash, local businesses simply can’t afford to not listen.
I know, people are far more inclined to post a negative review than a positive one. But as much as I enjoy $3 movies and a beer at the Bagdad I will say that the McMenamins properties do tend to have some customer service issues. So when you see a trend in the type of customer complaints it might just be the time to make some changes.
So what to do?
- Start listening – stay on top of local reviews on local listings, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
- Claim your listing – verify that the listing is yours so you can add helpful information, pictures, etc.
- Address negative reviews – respond to the peeved customer. Say you’re sorry. Give them a coupon. Whatever, just acknowledge their concerns and let them know you care.
- Address positive reviews – say thanks. And that was a really nice thing for them to do, going out of their way to be cool like that. Humans are great!
- Encourage reviews – in print or email. On Facebook or Twitter. Ask people to show their love or share their constructive criticism. Transparency is the new black. Well not really new, has been for some time now.
- Make changes – if trends can be identified in customer complaints then fix the issue at the root. Hire nicer people. Dust the windowsills. Make better tacos.
One final note on local listings. This is the place where many people find your address and contact information. Please be sure that this information is correct and updated if locations have been moved or added. No one wants to eat dinner at an abandoned warehouse.
Now get started!