Since starting your review generation campaign, you have seen your review numbers improve significantly. This is only the first step. Next, you must determine how you are going to maximize them. For this, there are several viable options.
For starters, the best practice is to respond to all reviews. It is a worthwhile investment to thank all your patrons who have taken time out of their day to give you a nice review. That little bit of appreciation builds customer loyalty. Everyone likes being acknowledged. At the same time, do not be afraid to respond to negative comments. These comments are actually looked at more than positive reviews from prospective customers. And your interaction with them will help determine if they pursue your business or keep looking.
Let’s say for example, you own an auto repair center and do oil changes. A customer leaves a review complaining about the wait time and gives you 1 star. If you are not monitoring reviews, you will miss an opportunity to catch this and potentially convert this customer from a detractor to a promoter. (This is called Service Recovery Paradox, and we will discuss this more fully in another post) However, you run a well-oiled business and discover the complaint. Instead of letting it fall by the wayside as a one-off, you address it head-on and respond to the review, “We are sorry to hear about your wait time, please come back and get a complimentary coupon fora free oil change. We value your business and will do everything to we can to keep you as a customer”. This little gesture tells this customer and every other customer reading it that you do value their loyalty. In this situation the business takes a $50 loss on an oil change. But what do they keep. They continue to have a loyal customer and maintain their lifelong value. Customer acquisition is far costlier than customer retention. So keeping customers active and loyal is paramount to keeping down costs. If the average person drives 12,000 miles a year that equates to 4 oil changes, thus over several years keeping this customer with your business, his patronage will add up, and$50 is quickly recovered. This is the importance of lifelong value and customer retention.
A scenario like this plays out across all industries. The donut shop drive-through window, which gets the order wrong, the daycare center who lost your kids clothes or the bank who charged you wrong fees. If they are not found, they cannot be responded to, and if they are not responded to, businesses risk increasing customer churn. In fact, not responding to reviews has been shown to increase customer churn by 15%.
Another way to fully maximize the potential of your newly generated reviews is “to push” them out to other digital properties. It is possible to take reviews generated on Google and have them displayed on other platforms such as Facebook, Hotels.com, Health grades, and dozens of more sites.This will allow your reviews to be seen by more viewers. The more people who view your positive reviews or see how you handle negative reviews, the more likely you are to acquire new customers. Even better, you can take these reviews and have them placed on your business website.
Your business is now well on its way to having the strongest possible online presence. Next, we will discuss the recovery service paradox and negative review management strategies.