Here we are in October already. Pandemic or not, it went by quick.

Jumping into October, we are rapidly approaching the holiday season. You and your customers. This year it will look a lot different, but some things will never change.

In this week’s edition of Mike’s Marketing Minutes, I talk about something that will happen to your business this holiday season that you have NO control over. You HAVE to be aware of this and in control, or it could hurt you, especially after the holidays.

As the holidays quickly approach, it’s important that you know that your online review volume will go up. Your customers are out shopping and will be hungry looking for a place to eat. So, whether you’re a retail store or restaurant, your customers will be talking about you online.

To prepare for the increase in reviews your business will have this holiday season, you need to do these three things:

  1. Claim and optimize your Google Business Listing and your top review sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook). This is super easy to do, don’t let those big words intimidate you ;)
  2. READ every review you get and ANSWER all of them. Make sure you’re keeping up on all your top review sites and your Google Business Listing. Google is the #1 site, so don’t leave it hanging!
  3. Market all your 5-star positive reviews. Post them on your social media pages and Google. People love to read reviews before going somewhere or buying something!

When answering your positive reviews, don’t feel like you have to write a whole paragraph for each one… because realistically, who has time for that? 2-3 sentences is perfect. Just to show your customers that you saw their kind words and that you appreciate them and their support for your business.

If you’re stuck on how to respond to your positive reviews, you can use phrases like…

  • Hi [insert name of reviewer], we are so grateful for your feedback. We are beaming with pride knowing that we hit the mark and delivered on everything that we promised. Thank you for taking the time to share details about your experience with us. We can’t wait for the next opportunity to serve you.
  • WOW! We can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to hear words of encouragement, appreciation, and praise. We want every single customer that walks through our doors to experience the same level of service. It is thanks to customers like you, taking the time to tell us what we are doing right, that we are able to constantly strive for excellence. Thank you once again for your wonderful review.
  • [insert name of reviewer], words cannot express how grateful we are for your review. We are glad to know your experience was positive in every possible way. Come visit us soon. You can count on every one of us to be doing our best!

When it comes to negative reviews, those can be tricky to answer. As a business owner, it isn’t easy to read about how angry your customer is about the experience they had at your store, restaurant, etc. My advice on this one is to read the review, take some time to let your anger out, THEN start writing a calm, professional response.

If you’re stuck on how to respond to your negative reviews, use these phrases as your starting point:

  • Hi [insert name of reviewer], thank you for reaching out to us and letting us know we dropped the ball. Please know that your situation was an exception, and we won’t allow for repeats. It is thanks to feedback like yours that we can tackle issues that may impact our most valuable asset; our customers. Please allow us an opportunity to make amends and receive our most sincere apologies.
  • [insert name of reviewer] we are truly sorry your experience was not to your satisfaction. We are looking into the issue and doing everything we can to correct it as soon as possible, for you and for future customers. This is not the way we do business and we intend to make amends. We hope you give us a second chance. Rest assured we won’t disappoint.
  • Hi [insert name of reviewer], we are sad to hear things did not go as expected. We are always hard at work to make sure our team delivers on our brand promise and every customer has a positive experience. We will take your feedback into account as we work toward improving the way we do business. We would appreciate the opportunity to make this right, but can only do so if you give us a second chance. Thank you for providing honest feedback. Knowing where we are missing the mark helps us tackle our weaknesses as we strive to be better every single day.

Use this checklist to help get on the right track for the volume increase you will see in your online presence this holiday season.

  • Claim, Optimize, and Verify all information across your Review Site business listings

  • Claim and Optimize your Google Business Listing

  • Monitor your reviews

  • Respond to ALL your reviews (positive and negative)

  • Have a system in place to generate more 5-star reviews

  • Market and leverage your 5-star reviews

If you need help claiming and optimizing your Google Business listing and top review sites to get more new customers, simply click the button below for a Discovery Session. We can jump on a call to help you out and get you ahead of the game this holiday season when your online reviews start pouring in.

Talk soon,

Michael

I see this go unchecked by so many brick and mortar businesses that have customers, and it literally hurts to watch. This is our new reality, and it’s so important all year long, but especially during the next 3 months.

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