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Relaxation Techniques for Responding to Negative Online Reviews

zenWe talk a lot about the dos and don’ts when it comes to responding to negative reviews, and we always stress the importance of keeping your cool. Today, we’re going to take that advice one step further by providing you with a few relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to keep you level-headed when faced with a scathing review. Follow this advice from LinkNow Media and you can’t go wrong.

Mindfulness app

Stop, Breathe & Think is a guided meditation and mindfulness app that offers breathing techniques with the aim of assisting you in broadening your perspective, getting in touch with your emotions, and improving your reactions to stressful situations. Many of the exercises can be performed in under 10 minutes, so not having time is no excuse! When practiced regularly, this app can help reduce anxiety, increase compassion and enhance motivation. It has everything you need to respond to an unfavourable opinion about your business in a calm manner.

Inhale pink, exhale blue

Inhale pink, exhale blue is a breathing exercise that can regulate stress, relieve tension and improve your mood. This breathing exercise is practiced by bringing your awareness to your breath and imagining yourself inhaling pink and exhaling blue. Another variation of this exercise involves inhaling love and exhaling fear. Whichever one you choose, this awareness will help bring you to the present moment, which is integral to managing the emotional distress of whatever is front of you—in this case, harsh words about your service or product.

Stretch, stretch, stretch

Most people associate stretching with warming up or cooling down after physical exercise as a way improve flexibility and prevent injury. However, stretching can also do wonders for the mind too. This is because stretching regulates your heart rate and blood pressure, helping to promote mental calmness, which is key when it comes to responding to a negative review. Here you can find a handful of yoga poses and stretches that you can do at your work desk. Or, just simply touch your toes. Even something as small as this can help improve your mood to assist you in responding to a negative review without getting defensive.

Final Thoughts

Getting a negative review on Yelp or any other customer review website is never fun. If you are like most people, your response might be to go on the defense, but you need to find ways to avoid doing that. Being defensive isn’t going to help right a wrong, and it certainly won’t win over someone who is upset about your service. When it comes to fixing the problem, you need to remain calm. Exercises like the ones above can help with that, but you’ll need to practice them consistently.

Have you had any success with practices of nature? If so, have they helped other areas of your work life? At LinkNow Media, we’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments section below

How to Get People Talking About Your Products

productsWe’ve said it again and again – content is king. That is why so many small businesses have made it a priority to produce a lot of it – and not just a lot of it, but interesting content – the kind of content that gets people talking. This is key when it comes to getting people to review a product. After all, people aren’t likely to spend money on a product that doesn’t have any buzz surrounding it. The best way to get people talking is by creating and distributing content that is conversational. So, let’s give them something to talk about. Follow these tips from LinkNow Media, and you’re sure to see some friction in the comments section.

Contests

Who doesn’t love the opportunity to win a prize? Enticing your customers with a chance to win a prize is a great way to spread the word about your product. One good thing about contests is that they can be introduced through many different social media platforms as well as through email campaigns. When it comes to contests, there are so many different directions you can take. If your product is easily photographed, for example, then hosting a photo contest is a great idea.

Email Campaigns

In the simplest sense, email campaigns are friendly reminders for customers to something. In this case, you are trying to get customers who recently bought your product to write a review about their experience. If you want them to follow through with that action, you’ll need to get personal. Personalization is more than plugging in a client’s name in the email. By using data collected from CRM software, you can produce content relevant to their behavior, interests, and demographic. Sometimes, what’s in it for them isn’t anything tangible, but rather the feeling of being noticed and appreciated. When they feel recognized, they’ll be more likely to share their thoughts on your company. What goes around comes around.

Video Bloggers

Reading about someone’s experience is one thing, but seeing them use your product is another. There’s no harm in reaching out and asking a video blogger if they’ll review your product if it’s the type of product they typically review. Their contact information is usually provided at the end of their videos or somewhere on their personal website, if they have one.

Final Thoughts

These are surefire ways to get people talking about your products and level of customer service. If you plan to follow through with these tips, it’s important that you are prepared. What we mean is that you need to be ready to meet the demands of your newfound popularity. Once reviews start coming in, make sure you have enough inventory to meet the needs of your consumers.

Online Customer Review Tips for Small Business Owners

Paper ClipThere’s no denying that attracting new customers can involve a lot of effort. Unfortunately, as a business owner, it can be difficult to devote time to your digital marketing strategy. One way to bring in new business that doesn’t involve too much effort on your end is by letting your satisfied clients do the leg work. Online customer reviews are one of the most effective ways to push a person to follow through on a purchase. That means it’s well worth it to do what you can to make leaving online reviews a seamless process. After all, the more online reviews you obtain, the more likely you are to make sales. Here are 3 tips for getting the most out of your online customer reviews:

Ask for Reviews on Expensive Products

It’s a fair assumption to make that cost is a major factor holding people back. So, if you are going to encourage satisfied customers to leave online reviews, it pays to give an extra push on your more expensive products. Reviews from satisfied customers can illustrate why your product is worth every penny.

Send a Follow Up Email

Let’s face it – emails are easy to ignore. Half of them can be deleted, and the majority of them don’t demand your immediate attention. None-the-less, an email can be that extra nudge a person needs to write a review. The hard part is getting them to open that email, so it’s important that your email demands attention.

When it comes to sending out a follow up email, timing is key. You want to make sure they receive the email at the point where they have had enough time to reflect on their feelings about your product, but not past the point where they are no longer excited.

Have A Strong Call to Action

A call to action is exactly what it sounds like – it involves getting someone to perform a certain action. If that action is getting a customer to write a review you need, then you need to put yourself in their shoes. Why should someone take time out of their day to write a review? What’s in it for them? We’ve looked at the features that make a strong CTA in the past, and the same principles can be applied to getting someone to share their experience about your product or service. It’s important that you provide them with a clear and straight path to where they need to be. If writing a review involves multiple steps or filling out a form, they may be reluctant to follow through.

Make the Most Out of Your Google My Business Page

milkMilk or cream? T-shirt or sweater? Stay or leave? Romance or comedy? Every day, each one of us makes hundreds of decisions, both big and small. Sometimes, it can seem as though we decide in the blink of an eye. Other times, however, we weigh the pros and cons of each and flip back and forth on our decision for what feels like an eternity. Whether we are going with our intuition, or mulling over past experiences and considering the short- and long-term effects of our choice, there are a ton of factors that play into our decision-making process.  When it comes to making decisions on the internet, the process is no different.

Let’s say you’re looking for a home cleaning company in your home-town of Portland, Maine. If you don’t have any recommendations from friends or colleagues, you’re likely relying on the internet to find a residential cleaner near you. When you type “residential cleaning company in Portland” into Google, you will be shown which cleaning businesses are available to you in your area, along with some basic information, like their address, phone number, hours of operation, and rating. The higher the rating a company has, the more likely you are to head to their website.

Optimize Your Google My Business Page

Just as you search for services, other people are taking similar steps to find businesses. So, if you rely on getting visitors to get to your website from local search traffic, then reviews from Google My Business should be a priority. Here are few tips for a better optimized page:

Citations Management

When people are talking about citations, they are referring to any mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number online. This information is listed on customer review sites, like Yelp and Angie’s List, and social media platforms, like Facebook. It’s important that this information is consistent across the board, or else Google will doubt the validity of your business. Any discrepancy, such as your address appearing as 705 Main Street one place and 705 Main on another, could hurt your ranking. If you don’t have a physical location, here’s advice from Google on the best way to handle it.

Category Selection

It important that you select the right category for your business-type. This might sound like a no-brainer, but for companies that offer more than one service this can prove to be difficult. If you’re unsure, read up on Google’s guidelines for representing your business.

Images

Never under estimate the power of visuals. Adding photos of your business to your page is the best way to show off your business’s human-side. Be sure to include photos of your staff in action and the interior of your business, if possible. You also have the option of providing people with a virtual tour of your business by enlisting a Google-improved photographer.

Ask for Reviews

Yelp uses a recommendation software specifically designed to flag comments that appear to be fraudulent. We’ve looked at this in the past, and mentioned how it seems to be more lenient with negative reviews, hiding many legitimate reviews from satisfied customers. This isn’t the case with Google My Business, so don’t be shy about encouraging a happy customer to rate your business and share their experience. Be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them taking the time to share their kind words by writing a response comment. Of course, not every comment is going to be a glowing review. It is important that you respond to harsh criticism too, whether that means offering an apology or clearing up a miscommunication.

Those are just a handle of ways you can better optimize your Google My Business Page. At LinkNow Media, we are sure to look into this topic again.

How to Spring Clean Your Business’s Yelp Reviews

springReviews are an increasingly important way that customers engage with a brand, product, or business. A good review can win over potential customers the same way that a negative review can do the opposite. A constant stream of positive reviews on your Yelp page suggests that your business is popular, successful, and well run. At LinkNow Media, we believe that in the spirit of spring, it is always a good idea to do some spring cleaning. This includes putting in order strategies to increase positive reviews on Yelp. The following are some easy ways to encourage new positive reviews.

Encourage New Reviews

The best way to encourage your clients to review your business is by providing great service and asking them about their experience upon completion. Speaking with your customers in person about their opinion of your service allows for an opportunity for you to remedy any disappointments or concerns before they make it to the internet. After speaking with your customer, gently encourage them to write a review if they are so inclined, and thank them graciously for their patronage. This will make your clients feel appreciated and as if their opinions are valued and taken into consideration.

Respond to Challenging Reviews

The best way to respond to challenging customer reviews is to firstly wait 24 hours before responding. This will give you sufficient time to approach the situation with intellect rather than emotion. The second tip is to let go of any defensive tendencies you may have to show your point of view. It’s not about your defense, it’s about the client’s perceived experience. Lastly, just go with it. Accept your client’s criticism with kindness, grace and dignity. Offer your sincere apologies and hope they will give you another shot. If you have lost them, at least you have demonstrated your ability to extend kindness and generosity to other potential clients who may have read this online interaction.

LinkNow Media always recommends that you choose which reviews to respond to wisely. Address reviews with specific complaints, or that seem genuine and not mean spirited. This will more likely be worth your while as opposed to engaging with an internet troll.

Share Positive Reviews!

If there is a particularly glowing review that made an impression on you, feel free to publicly thank your customer for being so generous with their words! Trust us, it won’t go unnoticed.

Is Asking for Yelp Reviews Hurting Your Small Business?

waffleIt’s a fair assumption to make that anyone who owns a business knows a thing or two about the importance of having a good rating on Yelp. Positive reviews from satisfied customers are enough to win over someone who has no idea where to go for breakfast, a haircut, or an oil change. It comes as no surprise then that many business owners urge happy customers to go to Yelp to share their experience. After all, the more people writing positive reviews, the higher the rating, right? This might not be the case. Yelp themselves discourages business owners from asking for reviews because asking people for reviews creates a bias. Because really, would you encourage an unhappy customer to write a review?

Whether you agree with their point or not, reviews that have been strong armed are likely to be flagged by Yelp’s recommendation software. So, here are alternative ways that you can get happy customers to write a review about your business.

Add a Review Badge

The last thing you want is to offer discounts or freebies as incentive for customers to write reviews. Not only does this run the risk of being flagged, it’s bribery. Let others know you’re on Yelp by using a review badge. Once your business page is set up, you’ll notice that you’ll have the option of adding a Review Badge to your website. This is a great way to drive traffic to your Yelp page from your website.

Choose Your Words Wisely

We’ve all been there – a waiter asks how everything was, and you respond by saying it was good, even when it wasn’t. Or a hairdresser asks if you like your new haircut, and you say yes, but it’s the worst haircut you’ve ever received. The point here is that unless someone is throwing you flowers, there is no way of knowing if someone had a pleasant experience or is just being polite. Only when someone is over the moon about your service or product should you drop a hint to leave an online review.

Share Reviews

Even if someone doesn’t write Yelp reviews, they rely on Yelpers to get a better idea about where to spend their time and money. So, throw them a bone. If you got ‘em, flaunt ‘em. Don’t be shy to share Yelp reviews on other social media platforms, like Facebook. You also have the option of posting all your reviews by changing the settings in your Yelp account. All you need to do is check the “connect to Facebook” option under the “External Services Settings.” This will prompt you to allow Yelp access to your business Facebook account. If you choose to display all your Yelp reviews on your Facebook wall, be sure that you respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. You can brush up on appropriate ways of responding to negative reviews by clicking here.

Add the Yelp Icon to Your Signature

If you are like most businesses these days, you communicate with clients via email, whether for business updates or sending out campaigns. The average person is not going to your business or enlisting your services with the end-goal of writing a Yelp review, so they might need a nudge to follow through on doing so. A small Yelp icon in your signature is like a call to action.

Provide Exceptional Service

The single best way to get positive reviews on Yelp is by providing your customers with excellent service. This might sound obvious, but it can be easy to lose sight of good old fashioned customer service when your main focus is getting a 5 star-rating on Yelp. This could cause you to be overly enthusiastic, or worse bothersome. Give your customers a delightful, stress-free experience and positive reviews will come rolling in.

 

Sharing Button Integration: See More Friction in The Comments Section

 

beachYou’ve likely already scrolled through your Facebook newsfeed at least once today, and probably came across a plethora of different types of shared content, from baby videos to political articles to personality quizzes. Despite the variety, there’s a common denominator here. Your Facebook friends were not posting a website, but an article from a website, and that means they likely hit a sharing button.

What Is A Sharing Button?

A sharing button is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a button that enables visitors to share content on their social media pages. These buttons are something that visitors have come to expect on a website, especially on blogs, and are often placed at the bottom of the page. We suggest placing them there too since this is where readers who want to share are looking. Provide your visitors with the experience they’re expecting, or else they’re heading elsewhere.

Why Do You Need It?

There are so many elements that go into making a website successful, and sharing buttons are definitely on that list. The more people you have reading your content, the more voices there will likely be in the comments section. This is of course going to help you discover more about your customers, which will allow for more effective communication.

Obviously, if you want to get more customer reviews, you’ll want to get more visitors to the content that you wish to have shared. Adding sharing buttons any place that you wish to have content shared is a sure fire way to gain a wider audience. This includes landing pages, blogs, and web pages, or, any place where a visitor can join a conversation in a comments section.

The comments section provides an awesome opportunity to discover more about your customers. It’s not only what they’re saying, but HOW they’re choosing to say it. The latter is extremely important when it comes to the ways you communicate with your customers. The words you choose, and the way by which they are arranged says a lot about you.

Final Thoughts

This post from LinkNow Media is a short, casual reminder about the importance of integrating a sharing button. It’s a simple way to get more people chatting about your products or services, which presents the opportunity for you to join in as well. Don’t yet have a sharing button on your blogs or landing pages? Get in touch with your web designer. You’re sure to see more friction in the comments section.

The Customer Is Always Right, Right? Advice for Small Businesses

teacupsLinkNow Media has written about ways of responding to negative reviews before. We’ve shown you how to handle negative reviews, and how to use positive reviews to boost your brand. Today, we’re going to take it one step further to help you understand the process and the value of analyzing your customer reviews. We’ve all heard the age old adage that “the customer is always right”, and through the careful consideration of customer feedback, you’ll see that this is true in more ways than one. Not only is it the go-to model for good customer service, it’s also the best way to approach customer reviews, negative or positive.

ABC: Always Be Changing

A stagnant business is a failing business. If you’re not consistently changing your business model to better serve your customers, your customers are heading to your competitors. This is where analysis of your reviews can be integral to success. Think of it this way, wouldn’t it be great to have a helpful coach in real time telling you what and how you could improve your business? If you approach feedback not as either congratulation or denigration, but as a roadmap to help you get where you want to go, then you’ve tapped into a very powerful resource. There are a few simple how-to’s online that can help you create a system to harness this new found resource. We recommend taking a look at this post on analyzing from CSM.

Learn From Mistakes

It’s Fine to Celebrate Success But it is More Important to Heed the Lessons of Failure.” This quote from Bill Gates is the perfect way to summarize why paying attention to customer reviews is important. Learning from your failures keeps your company moving forward and maximizing growth. That being said, it’s equally important to play to your strengths. If you notice throughout your analysis of customer reviews that you’re hearing the same things repeated in every positive review, work with that information to better market your services. You don’t want your slogan to be about speed if every bad review of your service cites long wait times, that kind of inconsistency can damage your credibility. On the other hand, if you notice that customers are responding positively to how simple it is to access your services, than focus on marketing your company as customer friendly. This doesn’t mean you get to stop implementing plans to improve on your weaknesses, but it does mean that sometimes it pays to keep on the sunny side.

These are all very simplified ideas regarding customer review analysis, but once you start critically engaging with your audience it will open up a lot of doors for your business. There are a lot of resources available to help you move forward with more advanced analytics of feedback. But today at LinkNow Media, we hope we’ve at least got you thinking, let us know in the comments below!

3 Tips for Responding to Negative Online Reviews

hot airAs long as there are reviews, there will be negative reviews. Read up on all the tips you want about responding to harsh criticism, but you’ll still be at a loss for words when someone is badmouthing your business and staff. It never hurts to read a blog like this one for a refreshment on appropriate ways to respond to negativity. The last thing you want to do is call over your coworkers to show them the outrageous claims some crazy person made (because let’s face it, it sometimes feels that way). That will only deepen your rage, and kill the mood in the workplace. Instead, take a deep breath and respond with these points in mind:

Use the phrase “I hear you.”

Businesses don’t become successful because they get it right the first time. Success is achieved when businesses face their problems and find appropriate resolutions. Don’t let a negative comment get you down. Rather, look at it as an opportunity to highlight how committed you are to making things right for your clients. If your knee-jerk reaction is to jump right into justification, you are essentially saying that you know better than them. Instead, think over what they’re saying. Look at where they’re coming from. Let them know you hear them, and offer an apology if necessary. The bottom line is that people want to be heard, so listen. By doing so, you show that you value your customer’s feedback, even if negative.

Address the customer by name

All reviews deserve to be handled with care, even negative ones. If you continuously use the same framework for addressing negative reviews, you run the risk of leaving a cookie-cutter response. Every customer is different, and each problem must be addressed individually. One way to connect personally with unsatisfied customer is by using the customer’s name in your response. Addressing someone by name is a form of flattery. As author, Dale Carnegie stated, in his 1936 novel, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” Keep this principle in mind when addressing an unsatisfied customer. It’s an effective way to engage with someone who is ticked off. Just remember to check your spelling before hitting reply.

Ask a question

Most the time, issues between a customer and a business owner are due to a miscommunication or misunderstanding. One way to clear up confusion is by asking a question. By asking a question, you are calling attention to the problem in an indirect, unconfrontational manner. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, and have a customer who is unhappy about the hour wait time for a table, ask if they had made a reservation, and inform them of your reservation policy. Or, ask when they arrived, and provide them with alternative time when it might be less busy. Always look for the opportunity to ask a question. This helps to avoid the conversation from getting into he said/she said territory, and creates an open dialogue.

Closing

At LinkNow Media, we’ve looked at ways of responding to negative reviews in the past, and are likely to revisit this topic again in the future. We believe that if you can handle the situation competently, you’ll be given another chance.

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