How Five Stars Directly Affect Your Profits & How to Get Them
By: Stephen Gould
When a potential customer searches for your business online, what’s one of the very first things they see? Your “stars” and your reviews.
Like it or not, in the modern era, “digital word of mouth” is one of the most critical steps in getting that new customer to give you a try. Customers are conditioned to look at reviews about any venue or service before visiting a new business or making a purchase.
Three things customers notice, and they appear on all review sites:
- Your “stars” (scores). Anything less than 4 out of 5 and you are fighting an uphill battle to win their business;
- Quantity of reviews. If you have less than 50, your reviews lack credibility;
- What do the last 6-9 reviews actually say? If they are not positive, you have lost the opportunity.
There are a few different things you must do for each one of these critical aspects of “Review Management” that will help get you passed the review barrier.
To get you started, here are three quick steps to help your local business get more online reviews. These are steps you can start implementing today.
Getting new online reviews for your local business can be uncomfortable. Knowing how to “ask” can be difficult, but the ask is critical; without asking, 80% of your reviews will likely end up negative, leaving only 20% positive. This is just human nature. 4 out of 5 people are only motivated to leave a review when they are disappointed. To change that balance you have to ask.
There are several ways to ask for reviews – and you’ll want to make sure you’re doing so in all the right places. Consider every consumer facing element of your business. That includes social media, your website, text messaging, direct mail, and everything in between.
One of our favorites is via text messaging. With text, the request can be very personal and timely. For example, 30 minutes after the guest leaves, they receive a text “Hi, I hope we did a great job for you tonight. I’d like to ask you to take a quick survey (link)”. There’s a little more to it, a strategy about sequencing, but this demonstrates the personal nature of a well-timed, and automated, text message.
If you’re hoping to gain more online reviews, one of the very first things you need to do is start responding to the ones you receive. And not just occasionally. Staying proactive is key. One out of every five consumers expect to receive a review response within a day.
That means your team needs to be on the ball. When responding to reviews, don’t just thank the positive ones. Respond to the negative ones too. If necessary, apologize for what went wrong, don’t make excuses, and be grateful for the feedback, as “your feedback has helped us be more aware”. Make sure it’s personal and well thought out. While you won’t always earn back a customer’s business, others will notice that you’re taking initiative.
Unfortunately, online reviews aren’t all in one place. That means your team needs to manage your presence across review platforms. The most important one today is Google, as Google controls a vast majority of searches, and your business profile instantly appears on the search results and on the map. The others that have a lot of impact Yelp, OpenTable, Zomato and Facebook. While Facebook reviews are of lesser impact on general searches, if your Revenue Strategy includes Social Media then Facebook becomes critical as you are actually driving customers to your Facebook presence. And if your targeted customers are on social media, they will be checking your Facebook page 1st or 2nd to Google.
First – Answer all reviews; Second – You can’t delete bad reviews, so they have to be buried by good reviews. And the quickest, most successful way to do this is to ask. Asking needs to be personal and timely (i.e. with text messaging, or perhaps server ask); Third – Get a handle on everywhere you are going to allow reviews and own your profile, and the process to include automatic notifications; Fourth – Regularly visit your key review sites to ensure all of your information is current.
This probably seems daunting, and having technology assist you is critical. With the right configuration, each site can be set up to notify your team of a new review. But who has time to do all of that setup and then actively monitor it? This is where we recommend delegating to a professional service. The process is slightly different for each review service. You’ll want to claim your business on each platform that you are prioritizing. Then it’s critical to have regular updates, for example photos, information, menus, hours, etc., and track valuable data to ensure your long-term review success.
Marketing With CoGoBuzz
Need a little extra help? We’ve got you covered. Get more (and better) reviews easily and automatically with CoGoBuzz, and our state-of-the-art marketing service CoGoVibe. CoGoVibe leverages powerful WiFi, SMS, Displays, Email and Social Media to connect directly to your customer, heightening engagement both in-store and out and building loyalty to your brand. Your marketing solution should speak directly to increasing your revenue, and not just spending your money.
CEO and Founder, CoGoBuzz