Small Business Advice for Reviews
If you run a small business, you probably think that having a website is necessary; however it’s just as important to listen to what users are saying about your products and services on the Internet.
There are a number of websites and apps which enable your customers to write reviews about your business. It is vital to keep checking these reviews, and if anyone writes a negative review, to do something about it.
Take for example, a restaurant. Customers can rate a restaurant on Google Places (which display reviews on Google Maps), Facebook, FourSquare and individual restaurant reviews forums such as TopTable or London-Eating (if your restaurant is in London).
As part of your monthly routine, you should be checking reader reviews of your restaurant to see if there are any negative reviews to respond to.
The first thing to do is to read what users are writing about you. Even if there’s a scathing review, don’t respond immediately.
There are tools to make it easier to read all about your reviews in one place – such as Google Alerts. You can type in the name of your restaurant and the keywords ‘review’, ‘comment’, etc. Google Alerts will then send you daily or weekly emails when someone writes a comment.
There are also specialist tools which crawl social networks looking for keywords. Try the free tools such Alterian’s SM2 for starters. This will crawl Facebook, Twitter, etc. for any mention of your keywords (e.g. your restaurant name) and send you regular reports.
After you’ve read a number of reviews it is time to respond. You can try and contact users who provided a poor review and ask for them to return. Most review sites allow users to edit their review. Once edited, it’s highly unlikely the first review will be available for anyone to read again.
Do not fall into the trap of openly responding to all reviewers (thanking positive ones and berating poor reviews). It will become very obvious that you are checking the reviews and stalking the reviewers. If you insist on commenting on them, try to do so privately if possible, if there’s an option to contact the reviewer.
A good side effect of checking your reviews is that you will become more acquainted with the popular review sites for your particular business. You can then introduce relevant loyalty schemes, and ask your customers to write reviews on the valuable (high traffic) sites.
Photo courtesy of NataschaM on Flickr