I was recently at Disney World. Apparently, it’s “the happiest place on earth.”

Unless it’s 90 degrees and you are standing in line with a bunch of screaming kids.

There are three things you never want to be in that situation.

Hot.

Tired.

Hungry.

That’s the trifecta of the angry outburst.

In my experience, hot is the worst. It comes on fast, and it’s hard to regulate. Give someone a sandwich, a cold drink, and a chair, and solve the other two problems.

But deal with someone who’s over-heated? Problem.

When the heat of summer is on, it’s more likely to be a challenge for your customers. When over-heated, they are less tolerant of anything that isn’t perfect. This is especially true when it comes to customer service. Worse, their bad experience can quickly lead to a negative review online, which can ruin your business’ reputation and scare away prospective customers.

Reputation Management Is Key

Reviews are the first thing customers look at before visiting your local business. Even if referred by a friend, potential customers go online to read reviews. Aside from your own website, how your business is presented online and your online reviews are your most valuable new customer online acquisition tool.

That means you must ensure that you look great and that your online reputation is “dressed to impress.” Your website should be up to date, mobile responsive, and look current. It needs to quickly provide all the pertinent information your customer might want. This is where you control what is said about you and how you present yourself.

After your website, it’s time to ensure that what others, Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc., are saying about you shows you in a positive light. There are three simple steps you can follow.

You Need To Claim Your Sites

If you don’t claim your online sites, you are relinquishing control. When a business hasn’t been claimed by the owner, anyone can enter information on that business. It means that customers, disgruntled ex-employees, bots, and algorithms are deciding what is posted about your business. Web crawlers will decide what to post as your address, your hours, map your location, and your reviews will be up to the mercy of those posting. Let’s hope it’s not all your hot and bothered customers!

The other HUGE reason to claim your listing is that “businesses that claim their free listings on at least 3 review sites earn 36% more revenue than average [and those] that claim their free listing on at least 4 review sites earn 58% more revenue.” (Womply)

Claiming your sites can take time but is well worth it. Each site has different requirements for claiming your listing.

Warning: Don’t give money to any company that tells you they have a program that can do it for you. This has to be done by a human.

Now that you have claimed your sites, you are the one able to interact with people that leave reviews, leading us to Step 2.

Monitor Your Online Reviews

Positive reviews can help attract new customers; 74.2% of people say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.

Managing online reviews is good for customer relations, showing that you care and pay attention to what your current customers are saying about you. 78.6% of potential customers say that management responding to online reviews makes them believe that the local business cares more about them.

A word of caution. Do not sound formulaic. It’s easy to copy and paste and respond with the same comments each time. This will diminish the impact. You want to be genuine, personally interested, and use this as an opportunity to connect. Refer to a specific comment they made in their review, showing that you are paying attention. This shows you are interested in customer satisfaction and will use their feedback to improve. Google and other similar sites prefer this as it demonstrates engagement, and it will factor in how they rank you in organic searches.

Positive reviews are a great source of valuable feedback. Many people won’t say a word to you when they are in the business, but once they are online, there’s a lot you can learn from the comments they offer. Use them as a valuable tool to improve, and let them know when you follow through on one of their suggestions.

When you see a great review, copy it to post on your social media sites. What others say about you is far more believable than what you say about yourself – so maximize the impact positive comments can have on your business.

Do You Have To Respond To Negative Reviews?

This is not anyone’s favorite part of the job, but it’s inevitable (someone overheated eventually!). Negative reviews can hurt your business’s reputation and cause customers to go elsewhere if there is an overabundance of them.

While negative ones are inevitable, you want them to be outweighed significantly by the positive ones. When a negative one is written, you want to respond proactively, hopefully resulting in them getting a resolution and updating the review.

When you are responding, allow them to contact you offline. This will enable you to resolve their issue and encourage a return visit without publicizing the process.

Whatever you do, don’t make it personal. Be respectful, professional, and polite. Consider negative reviews an essential tool to improve your products or service. Remember that having a small business is all about building relationships, not about being right or winning. You’re in this for the long game.

For more specifics on responding to reviews – see our previous post: How To Answer Any Review

You Need To Know What They Are Saying About You

When you are regularly responding to reviews, it is viewed as fresh and up-to-date content about your business. It is part of the formula they use to move up the rankings on sites such as Google, Yelp, and Trip Advisor.

As you monitor your listings, track your progress up the local search rankings. Write down the date, how many total reviews you have, and the star rating for each site. Then watch the change over time to see how your efforts are impacting your online reputation.

With the proper tools and solid review management, you can rise to the top of Google and the review sites. This will, in turn, pay huge dividends when attracting new customers for you.

Special FREE Offer

Want to know:

  • How do you rank against your competition?
  • How to increase your star ratings and move the rankings to be seen first?
  • A complete online reputation and Google Analysis for your business done by a Review Site/Google Expert in your industry?
  • And get a detailed report of how you rank across all your business’s review sites?
  • All this for FREE???

Yep, because you made it to the end of this article. All kidding aside, this is a $297 value that requires a lot of work, which we are happy to do. It’s not a hard-core sales pitch. It’s simply us giving you valuable money-making information specifically to help your business.

If we can help you get more new customers and make more money, great! It’s what we do.

Don’t Ignore your Online Reputation. It’s what your new customers see first!

Schedule your FREE Online Reputation Analysis with a DFY Reputation Expert today. Because of the amount of work these require, we can do 3 a week, so schedule your FREE exam today.

FREE Online Reputation Exam
Michael Thibault

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.

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