Online review sites like Yelp are a fact of retail life these days. You can ignore them if you like, but they’re not going away. Here’s how to deal with them effectively in all their frustrating glory. [level-members]
First, forget that bit about ignoring them. Whether it’s review sites or social media channels, the conversation is happening. Pretending it’s not just because you’re afraid of what you might find is a bad idea. There’s too much to be learned. (And you might be pleasantly surprised. We read recently that the average review score across the web is 4.3 out of 5.)
The main reason for not ignoring reviews and social media is exactly because of what can be learned. Frequently, it’s the really small details – things that can easily be remedied – that bother customers the most. Fix those things. And if you have the opportunity, let people know why you’ve fixed them. Customers love knowing they’re being heard.
Bigger problems also present a great opportunity to strengthen your brand. But you have to follow a few simple guidelines.
- Be reasonable
- Fight, but with dignity
Those guidelines are simple, but they get more difficult as you get closer – and more emotionally involved – in a problem.
It’s important to keep your cool, though. If you’re reasonable and make an honest attempt to address someone’s concerns, you’ll win fans, no matter how unhappy your critic may be. In fact, the more unreasonable the critic, the more respect you’ll wind from your fans.
Online reviews and social media conversations don’t have to be positive to have a positive impact on your business. Even the negative comments give you the opportunity to create great relationships with customers and potential customers. Just keep your cool and keep your focus on providing great customer service and strengthening your shop’s reputation.