Online customer reviews are incredibly important for local businesses because they are a major deciding factor when customers are choosing where to eat or shop. A 2016 Search Engine Land survey found that 85 percent of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. Further, a follow-up survey in 2014 found that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations. If you want to track and monitor your online reputation, you may be interested in a tool called ReviewTrackers. At SXSW 2016, I caught up with founder Chris Campbell, who told me more about the tool and gave me some review tips to share with small business owners.
Monitor Your Online Reviews with ReviewTrackers
ReviewTrackers is a software platform that helps businesses track and manage their customer reviews as well as collect customer feedback. As you know, online reviews influence local purchase decisions, so ReviewTrackers makes it easy to stay up-to-date with what people are saying about your company on various review sites.
ReviewTrackers pulls in the customer reviews from all the major review sites including Google Local, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. They also monitor niche review sites that are focused on specific industries, such as restaurants, cafes, bars, medical offices, car dealerships and more. Instead of having to monitor each site on your own, you get all the information together on one dashboard.
ReviewTrackers’ other capabilities include the ability to display analytics and create custom reports with a click of a button. The software also offers tools to help you generate more reviews by asking for reviews from customers.
Learn more about ReviewTrackers’ capabilities and why reviews are so important by watching the video below.
Two Tips for Managing Customer Reviews
In the quick interview, Chris also shares some tips for small business owners who want to better manage their online reputation.
1. Deal with Negative Reviews
Every business gets a bad review from time to time, but how you handle it can make all the difference. In the interview, I gave the hypothetical situation of a customer leaving a bad review about the rice at a restaurant. Chris says that the business owner can respond to that. They can apologize for the person having a bad experience, thank them for their feedback, use the feedback to make changes, communicate that the problem has since been fixed, or offer a discount as a way to mend the relationship. Showing that you are listening and that you care about a customer’s feedback is sometimes all it takes to turn a negative reviewer into a loyal customer.
2. Ask for Reviews
Chris also says that the thing that can make the biggest impact is simply asking your customers for reviews. He mentions that Sears Home Appliance Repair gave statistics at a conference once, saying that they started out with a 0.9 star rating (yes, less than one star!) but they started a campaign where they asked for reviews – saying if you are happy with your experience or not happy, we’d love to hear the feedback online. Over the series of about six months, their rating jumped to 4.3 stars – simply by asking for reviews!
This demonstrates the point that an irate customer is already motivated to post a review, but customers who have positive experiences can be equally motivated when you ask them to post a review, thus demonstrating that their feedback matters. In the fore-mentioned Search Engine Land 2014 survey, it was also found that 85 percent of customers read up to 10 reviews. Not only can asking for reviews bring your star rating up and boost your online reputation, but it also gives the reader more information about what it’s like to do business with you.