Remember the good old days when you would go to your neighbor for a cup of coffee and causally inquire if they know a good handyman, hairdresser, bakery, nanny or whatever? And you could rely on that information without a second thought?Yeah, us neither. Instead we have things like Official Top 5 Review–powerful hubs of information about products, services, and the people who offer them.
In a certain way, our grandmas had it easier with all the lack of technology and no world wide web to consult. Nowadays, online reviews are what makes a business sink or swim, and online reviewers are far less fair than you would like. How many fake review stories have you read so far?
To combat this unique business world menace, you need to take a proactive approach and ensure that your own reviewers will be so happy with you that they will want to leave you good reviews, and that they will want to leave honest good reviews.
The very first thing you should do is learn to recognize all the things that you should absolutely never do. A lot of businesses would actually see a great improvement in their online ratings if they would just avoid the lousy practices that make their reputation plummet. Here are the most common reputational pitfalls to be wary of:
Hiring a third party to write fake reviews for you.
This is lousy for an obvious reason. It is quite easy to get caught, because these “reviewers for hire” never work for just one client at a time (even when they say they do), and they tend to overuse message templates or recognizable review patterns. And once you get caught, you will lose any credibility you may have had, and many review sites will outright remove your account and obliterate any content you had on their platform. Check out this article for some more insight into why this practice should be avoided like the plague.
Personally writing reviews for your own business.
Whether you have multiple fake accounts or you write a feedback piece and get someone else to post it from their own account, this is just awful business. Many people go for it, yeah, but they tend to fall through in no time – and they often get served complete humiliation on social networks, too.
Not only is this practice absolutely unethical, it is also totally unsustainable. How many fake accounts can you make and maintain, or how many seemingly authentic review pieces can you write before slipping up? In fact, how much can you really trust anyone you might be in cahoots with? Just don’t.
Allowing a sudden influx of reviews in a short period of time.
Ironically, it would not even matter if the reviews in question were good or bad. It would even be irrelevant whether real people wrote them; you still have to have some management system in place and spread out the dates and times when these reviews become publicly visible on your pages.
This problem is in fact a direct consequence of the above two points. With so many scammers and dishonest business people online these days, it will look terribly strange and outright suspicious if you suddenly get a large number of reviews in a comparably short while. Therefore, your best solution would probably be to slam an administrative padlock on all of them – make it so that only a fixed number of reviews can be published per day, or at least make sure it will hang “pending” in a virtual limbo for a while before it goes public.
So, now you have a fairly decent idea of what to avoid when it comes to establishing and maintaining your virtual world reputation. But what about the things you actually should aim for? Not to worry, we dug up a couple of tips on that, too!
Keep track of all your reviews, all the time.
Having your focus on just one review channel may seem like a cost-effective approach, but it will cost you fortunes in the long run.Imagine being a star on Yelp, but a rotten egg on TripAdvisor.
There are too many places where people can share opinions, and you have to mind them all if you want to get a clear picture.You have to try and keep your reviews consistent across platforms.
Otherwise, buyers will become skeptical and likely give up on purchasing your products. Pay attention to the platforms where you are making a weaker overall impression and work quickly to remedy that.
Smart monitoring is your friend.
“Smart” is the key word here. Read through all of your reviews, and reply to all of them any way you can. This directly “rewards” people who leave you feedback, so they are more willing to do it again, and this sets a trend for other users to follow.
However, smart monitoring means that you focus on something in particular – on the bad reviews you get.You may feel the urge to just gloss over a few bad ones, especially if they are overwhelmingly in the minority. But never, ever forget that each review is public, and every single one of them stays online for the rest of eternity.
If a person leaves you some less than stellar feedback, and sees that it has been completely ignored for a month, or even a year or more, you will be branded as unsupportive, and bad word will spread.
Even if you are not able to solve a problem right away, people are usually understanding of that – so long as they know you listened. They need to know that you take their concerns seriously, and that you are working in earnest to resolve whatever issue they may have brought up.In this line, a generic “Thanks for your feedback, we put it on the list for future updates” will not cut it. Write custom responses and demonstrate concrete results.