On line reviews can be one of the most powerful determinants of success in the business to consumer market. Studies have shown that a large percentage of people that evaluate automotive service offerings are influenced by online reviews. Thus a repair shop’s customer acquisition rate is directly affected by online reviews. And in spite of best efforts some reviews will be negative. Acting on negative reviews can significantly impact customer retention as well as acquisition. So it’s important to actively solicit reviews, monitor review postings and act quickly to mitigate the effects of negative reviews. The following tips will help in making the most of online reviews:
- Set up a Review Site Business Account – A business account allows you to add a description of your business, images and other information that will create a positive impression. It also allows communication with people that post reviews of your business.
- Actively Solicit Online Reviews – Ask your customers to post online reviews for your business. Make it as easy as possible. For example, sending a thank you email with a link to the review site will make is easier for them to post one.
- Monitor Reviews – Make it a point to be aware of what’s being said about your company on the Internet. Actively visiting the review site is one way. Another useful tool is Google Alerts which will send you a notification every time your company name is used on the Internet. Google has another tool called ‘Me on the Web’. Microsoft and Yahoo have similar services.
- Handle Negative Reviews Decisively – The best way to handle a negative review is to communicate with the customer that posted it and attempt to resolve the issue. Be prompt, polite and fair. On Yelp private and public messaging are both available. The best outcome is to have the problem corrected and keep the customer. At the very least a public comment can be posted acknowledging the problem and outlining corrective measures that will be taken.
- Create Positive Company Information – Google and other search engines will default to display more recent information higher in the list. So it’s beneficial to post information often by updating the company website or posting to its blog. This will result in positive information about the company showing up higher on the search list.
- Acknowledge Positive Reviews – Thanking someone for posting a positive review is appropriate. Offering incentives for doing so is not. When a person spends their time giving your business a vote of confidence expressing gratitude will serve to strengthen an already good relationship.