Have you ever been ready to head out to a restaurant you haven’t been to, take a quick look at a review site just to make sure there are no major red flags, then came across something like this:
it was ok. very small, waitress/bartenders (the same) didn’t know what they were doing. the menu said one price but you charged me a higher price. the chef needs to be fired…
That was from an actual review. Not all reviews on this place were as bad as this one, but not sure I’d want to take a chance there, especially if there were a lot of other choices.
Reviews like this one can stop a customer dead in her tracks, and make her not want to ever step foot inside that place. Worse, that same customer may spread that negative press to many of her friends and family as well.
This begs the question…do you know what’s being said about your business online?
Make keeping tabs a priority
It’s not easy to handle the never-ending cascade of information that gets thrown at us every day. This area though, is an important one to monitor. Here are a few ways that you can stay aware of who’s saying what about your business:
1. Stay active on social media and on review sites
A few months ago I happened to be reading some reviews on a restaurant that had changed ownership. I wanted to see when they’d be reopening and if there was anyone who knew what type of place it would be.
After reading a few comments, I noticed that one of the new owners jumped into the conversation and was addressing the questions that had been asked on the review site.
Not only did his responses sell me on giving the place a try, but just him being there and engaging was enough for me to get the feeling that this person is invested in the people who he’s serving.
2. Set up Google Alerts for your company’s name
Google makes it easy to stay up to speed on what’s being said about your brand. These alerts can notify you on comments that may need to be addressed.
3. Reply to all inquiries in a timely manner
This one is difficult for some people to do. But if you can figure out how to take a few extra minutes a day to handle these, it goes a long way.
When people see that you care enough to address their concerns, you can turn these annoyed customers into fans.
4. Address negative reviews in a positive way
A battle of words over social media never helps a brand. Fights only make the business look petty and focused solely on profits. Instead, try to take the high road, and shift the conversation off-line.
After the issue is resolved, ask the person if they could remove the negative comment (if it warrants it), or you can write a response to it so those that search in the future see how you handled the situation.
What results will these steps have?
What you’ll find is that two things will happen.
The first, and more obvious is that you can stay on top of negative information that people might write about you and you’ll be able to address it. This can save you from potential future lost sales.
The second, maybe less obvious is that you’ll have a better handle on what your community is saying about not only your business, but your industry as a whole.
That information is invaluable when looking for new and innovative ways to serve your community better, and make sure they’re getting what they are interested in.
While there no way to prevent every negative comment from surfacing, these few steps can take a little bit of the sting out, and help keep building trust with those you serve.