Online Reviews: The best AND the worst thing to happen to business owners in the digital marketing age.

I know many business owners too nervous to even allow the option for public “opinion” reviews. You have very little control over the comments and occasionally you will have an unhappy client.

We all know that clients who have a bad experience are more likely to leave a negative review than clients who have had a good experience.

So how do you get in front of your reviews to manage them so that they are accurate and reflective of the vast majority of your clientele?

Here is a winning strategy for managing online reviews:

1) Develop a process to get more reviews from happy clients

Create a process for reaching out to all of your clients to ask them to leave an honest review. Just asking for the review will improve your 5-star rating by leaps and bounds. “70% of consumers that have been asked to leave reviews went on to do so.” – Via BrightLocal

Give them options for leaving a review on the platform of your choice. If you serve a local market, make sure you favor Google! 93% of local consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad.

This process will ensure that the majority of reviews are accurate, honest and favorable. It’s normal to have a couple bad reviews. And it’s actually better for your business!

Don’t believe me?

Check out this stat via Reevoo: “95% of consumers get suspicious of fake reviews if there are no bad scores.”

The process can be simple:

  1. A follow-up email after the client’s project is wrapped up. The email could say something simple like, “Hi Name, we would like to know what your experience was like working with us? Is there anything we could improve?” If they respond that they were happy with the experience, reply to the email and let them know that you would be so grateful if they would leave you a review on Facebook or Google with a link to your page.
  2. A phone call from someone in the office to ask about their experience. If they were happy, ask them to leave a review. If their experience was less than stellar, remedy it for them.

Simple, right? You will need to figure out the way that works best for your business but begin with a process that includes personal outreach while you begin to build a public reputation as the best in your industry.

To send your Google My Business link, navigate to your profile, click on Maps and from here you will see a “Share” button. Click that to reveal your customized link straight to your Google My Business page!

You can click here to see how it works!

2) Manage your reputation online by responding to unhappy clients

It happens to us all. One client with unrealistic expectations comes in, we help them and then BAM! We wake up on a Saturday morning with a negative review telling the world they weren’t happy.

Okay so you have a couple options here and you need to take out any hurt feelings from this and approach it in the most professional way possible.

Is it likely that you are ever going to get that client to change their opinion?

Probably not.

But your next client is going to see this review. They will read it and wonder what could have happened behind the scenes to make that client so unhappy.

You can take all of the wonder out of it and land a new client right there, in the comments!

“89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews” – via BrightLocal

Respond to the ad. But be verrrry careful in your approach. I recommend that you start with one of the following scripts and adjust it to your needs!

Hi Name,

I’m so sorry you are unhappy. We strive to provide a positive experience for all of our clients and want to make sure you are taken care of. Please contact us at 555-1212 or feel free to send us a message so we rectify this.

Hi Name,

I’m so sorry you are unhappy. I left you a couple messages to discuss your situation further so that we can make sure you are taken care of. Check your inbox please or reach out to us at 555-1212

Hi Name,

I’m so sorry you are unhappy. The results were out of my control as I did not have the information I needed up front. There are a couple resources I would be happy to send you so you can find the answers you need.

In all of these, you can see the general structure of the approach:

  1. Apologize. It doesn’t matter who is in the right or wrong here. The key is that you are professionally responding to a situation.
  2. If you are in the wrong, acknowledge the issue and take ownership.
  3. Offer to rectify the situation if that is an option. If it isn’t an option, offer to send them the resources they need in order to find a solution.
  4. Invite them to continue the conversation privately.

Do not continue to engage after you send this response. Any communication after this point should be in a private message or, preferably, via phone.

The purpose of this response to the negative review is to demonstrate to future clients that you do everything in your power to rectify unexpected situations!

To learn more about how online reviews can affect your business, please visit this blogpost written by Kristen McCabe: 50+ Statistics Proving the Power of Customer Reviews