Have you ever wondered why one company has hundreds of 5 star ratings and another has one or two or none? There are many marketing and SEO companies out there that will tell you that
Maybe, but let’s dig deeper.
In the beginning of the Google business star rating system, it did seem to affect your listing position in search. Worse yet, it affected your business directly by allowing for a one-glance decision factor from a potential customer. If a customer saw you had low ratings or only a couple of reviewers, they might just move on to the next listing.
Unfortunately, this opened the door to scammers and spammers of all types. You may be approached by some company that offers to give you good reviews in exchange for payment. Another popular scam is an individual boasting to be an “influencer” or “local guide” that threatens a bad review UNLESS you make good on some form of settlement. They may hold your positive review hostage until you give them free stuff or money. Either offer is a bad offer and you would be cautioned to avoid either situation.
One restaurant owner handled the threat of a negative review from one patron by recording their extortion attempt and posting it on YouTube. The event was picked up by the local news channels and fortunately, their other regular customers came out in full support by giving them rave reviews on their Google business listing.
Negative Reviews Gets Dirty
There are people out there (dirty competitors) that hire dark web ne’er do wells to leave bad reviews on other companies websites. As easy as that you can damage another businesses reputation for a fee. This is called “negative SEO”.
You need to employ a strong method of Reputation management in your business. This is very important when it comes to your business appearance. Through honest and vigilant reputation management you will find there are better ways to deal with negative reviews and certainly more
How to Get Good Reviews for Your Business
Here are seven ways to help you get good reviews from your customers on your Google Local, Yelp, Bing, Hotfrog, or where ever it is that you have public listings (AKA Citations):
Really! After you have performed a service for your customer, ask them if they are happy. If the answer is yes then ask them to please say something about their experience on whatever page it is you would like them to comment on. If they aren’t happy? Do what you can to help them out – a personal touch to deal with a negative response can be a very valuable learning experience for any business owner. Perhaps the negative customer experience can turn into a positive review.
Sometimes your customer may use words like ‘good’ or ‘nice’. By asking them specific questions you get more specific testimonial – example you can say “What did you order for dinner?” “Would you recommend the salmon to your mother?” – then you can help them write the testimonial by saying “The salmon special was so good – I would recommend it to my own mother!”
3. Ease of access
Don’t wait to get your testimonial during a follow up, get the testimonial right away using your iPhone or iPod. You can already have the iPad opened to the website you want them to place their testimonial.
Some people love to be photographed, why not take one of you with the happy customer. Treat them like the queen (or king) for the day. Then, with their permission, post the photo on the listing page and invite them to comment.
You don’t need to bribe or pay for a good review but if you are clear that their satisfaction is important to you and give them a reason to come back to you – why not give a certificate or coupon at the location where you want them to leave their review? Even if the review is negative it give you a chance to shine.
Offer every person who leaves a review an entry into a contest with a tasty prize or treat.
7. Say thank you
Make the effort to publicly acknowledge the people who have taken the time to comment on your service. By saying thank you in the same forum you are doing a couple of positive things. Acknowledging the person who has gone the extra mile for you will feel good to the customer and will have the effect of encouraging others to review as well. People like to be recognised.
What can you do about bad reviews?
If someone has written a nasty review on the web – it is now out there for all to see. You might think that ignoring it is the way to go – I mean, who reads that stuff anyway? Lots of people! Plus the search engines see it too. It can affect your ranking on both the internet and in customers views. It can have an immediate negative effect on the decision of a potential client or even a future business partner.
⭐ Good news ⭐ – there are things you can do protect your reputation.
Don’t shy away from negative comments. You do have the capability to respond in the same forum they wrote their review. This is an opportunity to invite them to contact you directly to try and fix it. Assure the other readers that your customers satisfaction is very important and you will do your best to see that everyone receives excellent treatment.
2. Avoid negativity in the first place
There are two ways you can do this:
– Make sure your customer is happy before you part ways. Consider the deal isn’t done until you have gotten their assurances that they are happy.
– Read your competitors reviews. Find out what people are complaining about them on the review sites and take it to heart and learn from it. Review these sites and read what people are freely and openly saying about your competitors. This will give you a huge insight as to what they want and expect from the service you offer.
If the customer didn’t bring the issue directly to your attention, or if an employee has already been fired for the situation, or if the defect has been recalled etc… Then clarify this in your reply to the complaint and direct the reader to a url or phone number where they can get more information on the issue.
4. Get it deleted
In the case of unreasonable and/or malicious attacks, there are ways to have scathing reviews deleted. In most cases its just by contacting the forum or review site monitors and set your subject line to say “report abuse” or “fraudulent review”
5. Don’t be negative
Being defensive and hurling insults in a public forum at your critic may feel good at the time but likely won’t have a positive impact. Always be the grownup and take the high road.
What do you do when your competitor is PAYING for reviews?
You may be looking at some competitors site thinking they are probably paying for reviews – and that may be the case. Are you mad? Is it disheartening to see them climb in the rankings? Sure it is. Are you tempted to hire some company to write reviews for you? Sure.
My advise is – and always will be – don’t do it!
I guarantee you if they are manufacturing fake reviews the search engines will figure it out soon enough and their rise in the rankings will only be temporary.
If you are hurting for business there are other ways to advertise and get a good targeted response that will directly affect your bottom line.