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While today it’s very common to receive reviews about your business on sites like Yelp, Google Places and Angie’s List — to name a few — the need for managing the reputation of your store, restaurant or organization is more important than ever.

That’s because more and more potential customers who are living, playing and working in the area near your place of business are making buying decisions based on what other people are saying.

Some reviews may not be so great and can be a challenge to respond to because of the sensitive nature of the feedback. However, responding to negative reviews shows that you value your customer’s feedback and that you’re always striving to improve your business.

Here are six things you should do when responding to negative reviews:

1. Thank the customer for their feedback. Sometimes just a simple thank you will go a long way.

2. Acknowledge the customer’s concern(s) and let them know what you’re doing to improve.

3. Respond in a timely manner. This allows you to address feedback that may resolve a negative review. However, if you’re upset, you may want to wait until you’ve had some time to think about your response. You don’t want to write something that will reflect poorly on your business and your overall customer service.

4. Be polite and stick to the facts about the situation. Back and forth comments should be avoided, so try to contact the customer privately to resolve the issue. Never attack the reviewer under any circumstances—even if you think you’re right.

5. After addressing the situation, confirm with the customer that the situation was handled to their satisfaction.

6. After thanking the customer for the feedback a second time, do ask for  opportunity to serve them again. It’s important to make your customers feel like you appreciate their business and that their continued patronage is vital to your business.

Quick Tip: Manage Your Reputation Intentionally and Often!

To Businesses: Always be improving your image. Too many times businesses focus on just fixing their image when issues arise. Here’s the thing – reports show that businesses aggressively polishing their image in the good times and in the bad, will never work hard at building customer loyalty.

Loyal Customers = More $$$

Digital PR Tips:

1. Engage with customers whenever possible. Your company “needs” to always understand how buyers/customers think and feel about your company.

2. Don’t be afraid to “follow” your clients. Be a fan or follow your customers. Buyers are more likely to spend larger amounts of money on your products and services when they feel like they have a relationship with your company.

3. Did I mention engage with your customers?

Although more and more companies are starting to incorporate social media into their marketing strategy, websites are still a must for any business. Unlike social media, websites can still provide the best information about a company’s products, services, mission statement, etc. Then there is search engine optimization.

While social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, facilitate great communication between advertisers and buyers, websites are still the premier source for “findability or visibility” on search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Let’s analyze the example of a restaurant on search engines. If a consumer conducts a search for (restaurants San Francisco, CA), they may find a restaurant’s website, but they may not find a restaurant’s social media page.

Websites vs. Social Media

Without a website, a restaurant can only solicit fans or followers with discounts, events, or specials. But what if buyers want more information about the restaurant? Where will buyers find information about catering services, banquet space, or menu items?

Yes, there have been some eateries that try to get creative and scan and post their menus on Facebook walls…not enough. Websites, provide a complete spectrum of information that no social media network can provide. It can provide consumers with a virtual tour of the actual business, company history, mission statement, you name it. At the end of the day, your business needs both social media and web development

For years, we have been in the business of helping small businesses succeed. We know that every business is unique and every business owners’ goals are different, which is why we ask a lot of questions. Then, we listen. We listen because we know running your business is your first priority – not optimizing your website, or analyzing which search engines to use, let alone managing and measuring your marketing campaing to see if andwhat is working. That is where we come in.

Our dedicated media consultants will develop a multi-media marketing plan that is right for your business and help you reach millions of potential customers at the most critical stage of the buying cycle—when they’re actively looking for your products and services. Plus, we’ll provide you with transparent reporting so you can see detailed performance of your marketing campaing.

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