What was good ole fashioned word of mouth is now the online review. A critical part of the modern small business owner’s marketing strategy needs to be maintaining online review profiles and actively collecting feedback.
Let’s look at a few stats that prove this shift in consumer behavior.
As a small business owner, you are not a household brand, not yet at least. Reviews are a great way to legitimize your business and get out of your own head. Collecting and managing online reviews will allow you to get organic feedback about your product, helping you to track and drive growth simultaneously.
If you haven’t already, make sure you have review profiles set up on each of the major feedback sites. Google, Yelp and Facebook are still the top three, though some review sites vary by industry.
Make sure your profiles are polished and accurate with a uniform logo. Hours of operation, product descriptions and location addresses should all be up-to-date. You’re unlikely to get a positive review if your customer can’t find you.
You can’t please everyone—and you really shouldn’t try to—but you can spin the negative to a positive.
Take the time to respond to negative feedback, always in a professional manner. If you need to take some time to cool off before drafting your response, err on the side of caution. Prioritize which comments need immediate feedback and resolve the issue as quickly as you can (ideally before you post your response). Say “I’m sorry,” offer a refund and never blame the customer.
If you can do it right, it’s actually better to respond to complaints on your public review profile than in a private email.
And while you’re at it, take a minute to respond to your positive reviewers! A quick “Thank You” or “Hope to see you again soon!” will show potential customers that you’re not only focused on putting out fires, but you’re attentive to loyal customers as well.
Read this blog post for more tips on responding to reviews–as well as some helpful templates.
If you can make the review process as quick and painless as possible, you are more likely to get good reviews. Consider purchasing software products (like Vendasta or ZipBooks) that collect reviews for you and track your progress.
Additionally, you can track feedback and engagement on social media and encourage loyal customers to share their reviews on yelp or google. You could also try adding a button to your email signatures or website. Keep it neutral, “How was your experience?” or “Leave a review here”—this should be a one-click method. Another option is the in-store review station or tablet.
Whatever you choose, keep it simple. Don’t let the process of giving feedback leave your customer more frustrated with your service.
Whether or not you are currently using our accounting software, ZipBooks Reviews and Growth platform will help you build online presence and word of mouth. Our growth plans start at $49/month and are separate from our accounting subscription.
We monitor all stages of the review process and make it easy for your business to grow:
You are passionate about your business and we are passionate about your success! We want to get you more customers—and we can help you do that by mobilizing your online reviews.
Rachel Cottam is a content writer at ZipBooks and a former high school English teacher. Her writing and editing have been featured in academic journals and tech websites alike.