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Business Owners’ Bad Review Responses A Case Study

Reviews are a fact of life when it comes to running a business.

They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy—depending on how you deal with them.

While it is tempting to write a scathing and entertaining response to people who leave negative reviews, as a professional, it is your duty to hold your tongue and not let your emotions do the thinking.

Below, are some examples of negative review responses, and how they could have been handled better.

1.

Where to start?

Firstly, admitting that you are inebriated when discussing a business issue is never OK. One shouldn’t be drunk in the first place when you’re on the clock (and yes, if you’re responding to reviews in your own time, that counts), but publicly admitting it is highly unprofessional. Next, making personal critiques (grammar) and suggesting a customer see a psychologist is not constructive. Especially when your own grammar and sanity could be up for review.

A more appropriate response to this review would be to apologize for their bad experience, and address the price issues. If your restaurant does have fluctuating prices, that should be noted in store and online so customers are prepared. There can certainly be reasons for this practice but it should be transparent so customers aren’t surprised.

2.

This one isn’t quite as extreme as the last, and could very well be true. However, this response is tinged with sarcasm and, if true, reveals unnecessary personal information. An apology in this case would have been better—state that you were unavailable for serious personal reasons, list that it was no excuse to not communicate with customers and let them know it won’t happen again. Offer them a discount or other incentive on a future booking should they be in town again.

If for some reason the situation is an emergency that keeps you away from your work, and you don’t have someone who can help you out with your business in this way, maybe think about hiring an assistant.

3.

As a business owner, your responses should not look like it was written by a ten year old

…and this one is a great example of what that means. Sure, this review was not the classiest, but the appropriate response would be to take the higher ground. As always, apologize! If you were having a bad day, admit that you were and say it was wrong of you to take it out on customers. Depending on what the prices are, they could be explained/defended in some way. Maybe point out that your aim is not to be cheap but to provide quality food.

What review responses come down to is the old adage “The customer is always right”. They may really not be, but your job as a business owner is to represent yourself and your company in the best way possible, no matter what others are provoking you to do. Responses can always be formulated to be reasonable even when defending oneself, but if you don’t have the time to compose something that is well thought out, apologies are the best policy.

Happy review reading, everyone!

Why Should Your Small Business Respond to Google Reviews?

garageWhen someone takes time to do something nice, you likely say thank you, almost reflexively. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be saying thank you online either, especially when it comes to Google Reviews.

Responding to Google Reviews can help your business out in more ways than one. Here are some reasons why you should respond to Google Reviews from LinkNow Media:

It’s Good Manners

From someone holding the elevator door to handing you your change, you say thank you many times throughout the day. It’s a nice thing to do and it acknowledges someone’s kindness, no matter how small it might be. If someone writes you a Google review, it only makes sense that you respond with a thank you just as you would in real life. Don’t overthink it. Let them know that you appreciate them taking time out of their day to let others know about your service or product.

It Helps SEO

You may not see the point in responding to something as simple as, “Great place” or “Good service”, but replying can help with your website’s position. After all, it isn’t like someone took a lot of time out of their day to write a long, glowing review. However, responding to a review, no matter how small, will encourage others to leave a review in the future. According to statistics, consumers are more likely to leave a review when they see that the business owner responds to reviews, and the more quality reviews you have, the better your search rankings will be.

It Builds Trust

When people are searching for a service that you offer, they are likely reading reviews from previous customers, and that means bad reviews, too. While receiving harsh criticism is never fun, it always a chance to show how far you will go to right a wrong. Demonstrate your ability to be professional, accept responsibility and offer up a solution.  This will show potential and current clients that your company is focused on client satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

What goes around comes around. If you are being nice online, people will see your kinds words and will think highly of you. Not to mention, being nice has its benefits when it comes online exposure. For instance, you’re always being cyber friendly and encouraging, other companies or clients may follow suite and return the favor!

Is Yelp Hurting Your Business?

chipsYelp is a social network that allows users to rate and review businesses. For over a decade, consumers have considered this local directory-style site a helpful source for finding new restaurants, stores, hairdressers, mechanics, and more. For some business owners, however, Yelp is anything but helpful. Many have accused Yelp for favoring businesses that have paid for advertisements and punishing those who have not.

Does Yelp Pick Favorites?

Yelp uses an algorithm to filter reviews as an effort to red flag reviews that appear to be fraudulent and to display reviews that appear to be relevant and trustworthy. According to Yelp, their software looks at a variety of signals to measure quality, readability, and legitimacy. They deny any alleged claims accusing them of  having any bias.

As far as the filtering goes, however, the algorithm seems to more lenient with negative reviews, hiding positive reviews under the not recommended section at the bottom of the page, many of which, are often from legitimate, satisfied customers. This is where small business owners grow frustrated.

You Should Be On Yelp!

If someone is searching for good, cheap tacos, they’re likely heading to Yelp. If someone is looking for a laundry delivery service, they’re heading to Yelp. If someone is curious about a new clothing boutique, they’re heading to Yelp. It isn’t hard to see – scrolling through reviews on Yelp is usually someone’s first step in the buying process.

Despite the ambiguity that surrounds Yelp’s filtering algorithm, it’s in your best interest to create a profile. If consumers aren’t going directly to the site, they are using the Yelp app, and if they aren’t using the app, they’re going there from a Google search. Yelp typically shows up on the first page of Google for searches related to the company name or service, so it is extremely helpful in building your web presence.

What About Negative Reviews?

In a perfect world, you’d only get words of praise. The fact of the matter is that you’ll get a handful of bad reviews. Where these are displayed is out of your control, but responding to them is in your control, and that is something you should do.

At LinkNow Media, we’ve pointed at the importance of responding to negative reviews  in the past, and the same points can be applied to addressing an unsatisfied customer on Yelp. Acknowledge what the customer is saying, offer a sincere apology, and find a solution to their specific problem. A negative comment is always an opportunity to show how far you will go to satisfy a customer.

That’s not all. You can incorporate them into your business operations. You know what they say: you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. Look at Yelpers as a free improvement squad there to point out what’s working and what isn’t.

Final Thoughts

There is no denying that that Yelp reviews play a very important factor in how consumers make decisions. How Yelp’s filtering algorithm will evolve in the coming years is anyone’s guess. One thing is for certain, though – people are generally good at spotting fake and authentic reviews. The more scrutiny that is placed on Yelp’s software, the more likely people are to check out hidden reviews.

How to Get Bloggers to Review Your Product

cafeThink about the last time you were on the fence about a product. You likely went to an online review site, like Amazon, and scrolled to the review section to see what others were saying about the product in question. If you still weren’t convinced, then you may have dug deeper to a product review blog to read a full-length account of someone’s experience. If the opinion was trustworthy and favorable, you likely followed through on the purchase. Was this the case? If so, there’s no denying it – you are like most consumers.

It isn’t hard to see how powerful the opinions of bloggers are when it comes to the buying process. They have revolutionized the way we make decisions in the market place, and are imperative to running a successful business. It goes without say then: the more buzz around a product, the more likely it is that people will make a purchase.

If you are looking to get the name out there about your product, then there’s no question that you are committed to finding people who have positive things to say about it. Working with a blogger is a great opportunity to get the word out there, increase brand awareness, and reach relevant consumers. Here are some recommendations about contacting someone to review your product:

Who to Ask

A blogger that gets a lot of traffic likely gets bombarded with emails asking to review this and that. If you plan to ask a popular blogger to write about your product, you’ll need to stand out. In a previous blog post, we focused on helpful tips for writing an email campaign, and a lot of those same marketing principles can be applied here. It’s important to keep your subject line concise. Don’t be afraid to make a pun, ask a question, or crack a joke – this is your chance to show that you’re unique. Be personable. Provoke curiosity. An email with a boring subject line isn’t going to get opened.

When it comes to the body of the email, put yourself in the shoes of the blogger. What’s in it for them? Bloggers want publicity, so you’ll need to sell them on that point. Explain why your product would be of interest to their audience. Be wary of coming across as too sales-pitchy or using a lot of corporate jargon.

Not getting any bites? It might be in your best interest to ask newer bloggers. They’ll be flattered by the request and they’ll love getting a freebie. Even if they’re new to the world of blogging, there are a few key things to look for, such as the consistency and frequency by which they post, and the level of engagement in the comments section.

Where to Find Review Bloggers

Pinterest is  a great place to find bloggers. Join related group boards, post your product, and interact with like-minded individuals. This is the first step to finding a pinner who might be interested in reviewing your product. They might even be the ones inquiring about it. If not, contact those who you feel you can build a relationship with. Be sure to familiarize yourself with their content before diving in.

Keep At It

These tips are a great place to start on your quest to reaching the blogger that will get your product noticed. Of course, what works for some businesses might not work for others. In the end, it’s all about what works best for your audience. Don’t get discouraged by rejection – it simply wasn’t meant to be.

At LinkNow Media, we are always looking at ways to help business owners get more online reviews, so stop by often!

Why Use Customer Reviews in Your Email Campaign?

MailboxesWhen your business first started out, you may have urged happy customers to spread the word about your good service – but that has all changed. A lot. With social media, smartphones, and online customer review sites, there is no need to encourage. Customers have very few barriers in the way of sharing what they think about your business, for better or worse. If you’ve made it easy for your customers to leave reviews, getting them is a cinch – but that doesn’t mean you can go on autopilot once you do. There are many ways to enhance your online performance with positive reviews. One such way is with email campaigns.

Make the Most Out of Online Reviews

We’ve written in the past about the benefits of sharing positive reviews on your social media pages, and this week we’re looking at the benefits of using positive reviews in your email campaigns.

Many companies shy away from using email campaigns because, well, let’s face it – emails can be annoying. If you’re like most people, you get dozens of emails a day. Do you really have time to read through all of them?

It can be difficult to see the benefits of email campaigns because of the association with spam, but there are ways of reaching your customers without flooding their inbox. If you are interested in learning ways to do this, part 6 of The Ultimate Guide to Online Marketing for Small Businesses is devoted entirely to email campaign best practice. This was written by Lauchlin, one of the digital marketing specialists here. Whether your emails are sent with the purpose of sharing information or offering discounts, you’re sure to find great tips there. If you like what you see, you can buy the full version here.

Reviews Can Help You Connect with Your Audience

With information bombarding us everywhere we turn, we don’t have time to sift through text that isn’t speaking to us. If you are going to use email campaigns as part of your online marketing efforts, you need to connect with your audience, and you need to connect with them fast. A fantastic way to do that is by including a review from a satisfied customer. Featuring a review gets the message across about your service or product in a highly economical manner.

Not only does a real review from an actual customer establish a relationship with a prospective customer, it helps keep the email concise and to the point. If you have their permission, include their photo and name for a personal touch.

Closing

There’s no shortage of people sharing advice on what to do about negative online reviews, but advice on positive reviews is few and far between. These are just a few tips on what you can do to make the most out of your positive online reviews. We’re sure to share more advice on ways to make the most out of positive reviews. Stay tuned!

How A Content Calendar Can Help You Build a Relationship with Your Customers

content calendar

Social media offers advantages for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s a great way to promote ongoing promotions, connect with clients, and enhance your brand image. Despite these reasons for implementing a social media campaign, managing social media accounts can be difficult. If you run your own business, you have a lot on your plate. When it comes to posting on the daily, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Hiring social media specialists is the way to go, but is there more you can do to streamline your digital marketing efforts? A content calendar can sure help!

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is exactly what it sounds like – a calendar that helps you keep track of content. The purpose is to let you see what you are going to post and when you are going to post it. Beyond staying organized, a content calendar is a useful tool for helping you tell your company’s story. Mapping out your posts allows you to establish an overarching theme.

Typically, content calendars include the following information:

  • Title of the post
  • Writer’s name
  • Deadline
  • The channel where it will be posted

This information ensures that each social media profile is getting equal amounts of attention, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a blog.

There are a bunch free content calendar templates available that will help take the stress out of planning and integrating a content strategy. Experiment to find one that suits your needs!

Why do you need it?

When it comes to posting regularly, coming up with new topics is half the battle. Even the best writers get stuck from time to time, and this is a major reason why posts become so few and far between. A content calendar can easily solve this problem because there won’t be any need to scramble for a new topic. Having dozens of ideas mapped out will make going to the blank page far less daunting. It also allows more time to personalize your post with GIFs and images.

A Content Calendar Will Keep You Organized

A content calendar makes it easy for writers to see who is posting what and when, streamlining your digital marketing strategy.  Since a content calendar aids in organization, it also lets others members of your staff get involved. Two heads are always better than one, and a content calendar can open up the stage to employees who have a unique perspective on your business’s mission. All your writers need to do is ask around! The more the merrier, as they say.

And Prepare You for The Holiday Season

Holidays are the perfect time to post about ongoing promotions and spread some holiday cheer. But, as you may already know, holidays have a way of sneaking up. Nothing is more overwhelming than trying to scramble together a piece to post on the appropriate day. A content calendar allows you to plan out a longer, or more important post, such as a holiday special.

Closing

Keeping a calendar will help you post consistently. It also allows you to see individual posts as part of a bigger story. The latter is arguably the most important point when it comes to posting content. The most successful companies have a have a story to tell. If it’s well-honed, people will stick around to hear it.

4 Tips To Help You Make The Most of Your Testimonial Page

apples

If you are selling a product or providing a service, incorporating a customer testimonial page on your website should be part of your digital marketing strategy. Unbiased comments from a third party greatly increase credibility and can help a client who is on the fence choose your company over your competitor.

Once integrated, encourage satisfied clients to share their words of praise on your website. If they’re happy with your services, they’ll be happy to do so. These reviews can prompt visitors to make a purchase or encourage an already satisfied client to follow suit with a comment. Even when customer testimonials are coming in, you shouldn’t go on autopilot. There’s more you can do to drive traffic to your website. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your testimonials:

Showcase Your Testimonials

Reviews needn’t be relegated to the testimonial page. Consider using testimonials elsewhere on your website, such as your homepage. Your homepage serves as an introduction to your company, so why toot your own horn? No one likes a bragger! Let your happy clients do the legwork.

Consider Video Testimonials

Seeing and hearing a real person talk about your company can have a greater impact than simply reading. Approach a loyal client with the idea of creating a short video about how they benefited from your service or product. Video testimonials can provide visitors with the experience they’re looking for.

Include a Visual  

Numerous studies indicate that including a human face on your website can increase conversions. This is because people often buy based on emotional factors, so an image of a person can be an effective way to connect with your audience. Including a photo of your happy customer alongside their testimonial can significantly elevate the text.

Write Testimonials For Other Companies

As the old saying goes, what goes around comes around. As a small business, you should always be looking to build relationships with other businesses in your area. If you need a professional, like a plumber or a painter, team up with someone local. If you are pleased with their services, leave a testimonial on their webpage. It’s not only a nice thing to do, but it is a great way to build links back to your website. Not to mention, they’ll be giving you a call when they’re in a pickle. It’s a win-win.

Closing

Never underestimate the power of customer reviews. If technical work isn’t in your wheelhouse, get in touch with your web designer to get the ball rolling on your testimonial page.

How Successful Companies Respond to Tweets

planeThere’s no shortage of people on the internet sharing advice on the best and worst ways to respond to negative feedback. A lot of it seems like common-sense: be kind, be prompt, offer an apology. Still, as much as fighting fire with fire seems like an obvious no-no, keeping cool can be difficult when faced with harsh criticism. Hearing nasty words about your company isn’t easy, especially when a lot of people can see it, so your gut reaction may be to go on the defense. You can brush up all you want on the do’s and don’ts, but it doesn’t change the fact that negative Tweets can often leave you at a loss for words. Likewise, even words of praise can prove difficult. How do you show your customer’s your appreciation in a way that is personable? Sometimes, it helps to take a hint from the pros.

Quick Response Times and Problem Solvers

Airlines probably get the most abuse in terms of customer reviews. Think about it, one thing goes wrong and it’s the end of the world. Travelers are often overtired, jet lagged and in a hurry to get home or begin their trip. No one writes a scathing review like an unsatisfied vacationer who has a delayed flight or missing baggage. Jet Blue usually responds to online comments within an hour. Their Twitter feed is impressive! People experiencing flight concerns, luggage hassles, Wi-Fi or boarding issues are less likely to post a negative review if they receive speedy social media replies. Sometimes a negative comment will be retracted and replaced with a positive one. As long as you show your support and demonstrate that your company is working its hardest to deliver the best services available everything will be just fine! Just use Jet Blue as your guiding Twitter source.

Always empathetic, Jet Blue demonstrates their ability to empathize with unhappy customers. In this instance, it took them 30 minutes to resolve an issue during a flight.

The Client is Always Right

A client is always right, even when they’re not. Customer satisfaction means knowing that whatever the circumstance, the client is top priority. No matter how upset, angry or insulting their feedback is; always respond professionally and empathetically. The professionalism will reflect positively on your brand and makes it easier for people to voice their opinion.

Personalized Responses

Just apologizing and directing an unsatisfied client to a helpline or saying a generic thanks to a raving review is not enough. Show your customers that what they say matters and make your replies personal. What are you more likely to respond to; a massive text for a party or a friend’s personal invite?  Exactly. You want to directly tag people, use personalized well written responses, and refrain from all things mechanical, generic and impersonal.  When you actively engage with online followers, you’ll gain more visibility and improve ratings. Zipcar is known for their positive responses to clients who are either frustrated or satisfied with services.

Have Some Fun!

Unsure on how to respond to sarcastic twitter remarks and followers poking fun at your company? First step is to not take yourselves too seriously and maybe even poke back, in a friendly sassy way! Not only will humor detract from a rude or sarcastic comment, it’ll showcase your company as a brand that knows how to have fun and can take a joke. Old Spice is known for their provocative and funny Twitter feed. They respond to ridiculous posts on a regular basis and in return end up creating a lot more visibility for themselves.

Closing

So what do you do when a disgruntled customer writes a horrible evaluation online for everyone to see? Feeling offended by a biting review is normal, but the most important thing to do is to sit back, and think to yourself; am I reacting or responding? What message am I sending out and how will this reflect on the company? If I were a distraught client, how would I want customer service to respond and what would make me feel better?  Treat others the way you would like to be treated, and you’ll be more than fine!

Is It Ever OK to Delete a Negative Social Media Comment?

deleteSocial media comments come in a variety of flavors. As a business owner, it’s your job to roll with the punches and respond accordingly. You can’t satisfy everyone all of the time, and you can’t stop people from sharing how they feel. Harsh criticism on the web isn’t a matter of if, but when. So, what is the best way to deal with a negative comment? Your knee jerk reaction might be to delete the negative social media comment and move on, but you need to fight the urge to do so. Here’s three ways you can take that negative comment and turn it into something positive:

Show How Far You Will Go

Sure, reading a scathing review about your business can feel like looking into the sun, but it’s also an opportunity to establish a positive reputation. When faced with criticism, it is important that you respond promptly. People are going to see that negative comment, and you don’t want that to be the only thing they see. Offer a sincere apology and a solution to their problem. In a sense, this is your side of the story. Show that you will go the extra mile to meet their complete satisfaction.

See it as an Opportunity to Improve

You know what they say, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. A negative review isn’t only a chance to show how far you will go to meet a client’s satisfaction, but it’s an opportunity to improve your company. Writing off every angry client as crazy can seriously hinder your ability grow. We hate to break it to you, but your company might have shortcomings. A negative comment can shed light on that fact. If it does, let your client know how you plan on making sure it never happens again. In a way, they have done a huge favor by pointing out your faults, and it didn’t cost you dime.

Take The Conversation Elsewhere

While you may have created a company page for sharing promotions, related articles, and other updates, there is another side of the coin. Facebook also opens up the stage for your customers, and you might not always be a fan of their performance. Remember, deleting a negative comment is a no-go, but you do have the option of taking the conversation offline. Offer a sincere apology and simply ask for the client’s phone number or email address. Explain that it would be more efficient to address the issue by having a conversion in a more direct environment. By doing so, you’re more likely to see eye to eye.

Closing

There are some instances when deleting a negative comment is totally ok. If the comment contains highly offensive language or imagery, go ahead and make it a thing of the past!

How do you handle negative social media comments? Let us know.


 

3 Benefits of Using Glass Door for Your Company

glassdoorGlassdoor is a website where current or former employees can submit reviews anonymously about their company. It is often described as the TripAdvisor for HR, and is rapidly changing how we look at workplace culture. Typically, Glassdoor provides the following information:

  • Basic company information (size, location, industry, etc.)
  • Company values
  • Salary, compensation, and benefits
  • Workplace culture
  • Recruitment/interview process
  • Employee and former employee reviews (pros, cons, and advice to management)

Glassdoor is up there with other business-oriented platforms, like LinkedIn, and offers similar advantages for companies. Here are the big 3:

Strengthens Your Brand

Your company’s brand plays a significant role in who is going to submit a resume for hire. Likewise, your brand dramatically effects employee retention. If your employees are reluctant to recommend your company to a friend in real life, chances are they won’t on Glassdoor either. Complaints about management, upward mobility, and salary can really hurt you because the way your company appears online shapes how people perceive you. On the other hand, comments about a fun and positive work culture will strengthen your brand identity.

Attracts Job Seekers

Glassdoor is also a great way to find and keep top talent and discover new and qualified applicants.

When you receive a resume from a potential employee, you most likely look at their social media pages and check out their employment history, education history, and skill set to get a better idea of who they are. In the same way, when someone is looking for employment, they are scoping out a prospective business anyway they can: a company’s website, Facebook page, LinkedIn company page, and Glassdoor profile. Beyond wage and benefits, they are looking to see if they are a good fit. Company photos and employee reviews can be a deal breaker in whether or not they’ll apply.

Improves Employee Morale

Your business is only as strong as your employees. Rewarding your employees, either through recognition or compensation, is a surefire way to boost morale. Encourage your employees to write reviews about their experience. Sometimes all it takes is one happy worker to write a good review, for the rest to follow suit.

Keep in mind, you’re bound to get negative reviews from time to time. Job candidates will see that, so it’s important that you respond to them. In doing so, you are not only having a conversation with a former employee, but a prospective one. Ultimately, the types of employees that you want working for you, are ones who will not agree with unjust criticisms.

Closing

It’s not a good idea to strong arm your employees into writing positive reviews as an attempt to counter balance the negativity. People are more intuitive than you may think when it comes to online reviews. You’ll be losing out on top talent as well as your reputation. Stay candid and honest and remember communication is key!

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