When you plan a trip away, an evening meal or look at buying any product or service, it’s likely that you will Google it beforehand to see what people say about it. Review sites such as Trip Advisor, Trust Pilot and Review Centre tend to rank highly in Google and as they cover almost every sector – it’s likely that they will have some impact on your company.
Online reviews are one of the main ways a potential customer can learn about your company before doing business with you. According to Vee Popat, 69% of all consumers now search the internet for online reviews of a product, service, hotel, restaurant, or attraction, before making a decision to purchase. That means that a large volume of your potential customers are using Google to make their own assessment of your company.
88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations according to Search Engine Land. That means not only are people reading what people say about your company, but they’re also paying attention and making prejudgments.
Chances of being removed
Plenty of businesses are hampered by the prominence of negative reviews, which can have a lasting impact on their company. Fake reviews are being clamped down on, and others can be removed for the following reasons:
- The reviews are defamatory and break the law
- If they are deemed to be outdated and/or irrelevant
- If what is being said can be proved to be untrue
- If the comments or reviews are in breach of the site’s terms and conditions
However, in most cases when you have simply received a negative online review from an unhappy customer these cannot be removed. The best course of action in this situation would be to manage your online reputation and reviews.
Managing online reviews is an important part of handling your online reputation. In order to keep on top of reviews, your company should:
- Respond – You should ensure that you have a professional but personable approach. A prompt, helpful response will go some way to appeasing the customer and may turn their discontent with your company into a positive experience.
- Encourage positive reviews – Most of the people writing on review sites concerning your company will have a gripe. It’s important that you kindly encourage people who’ve had a positive experience with your company to leave some comments online. Try setting up an email marketing database or a simple ‘please rate our services’ box in-store or online.
- Focus on locals – As mobile internet browsing continues to rise, local reputation management should be high on the agenda. Set up your company on Google My Business and ensure that contact information is consistent online. This can result in having a presence in the local community and tapping into local trade, which cannot be ignored.
If you’d like to discuss how to manage your online reviews and local reputation, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44(0)203 542 8689.