The Grapevine

Peer Ratings and Reviews of Your Business, Not Your Products

March 14th, 2017

We talked last week  about the value placed on peer ratings and reviews, but that was about reviews for products. You might consider tapping into that power for your wine shop and not just the wines in your shop. [level-members]

In some ways, this is a bit of a defensive play since only the most dedicated social sharers comment on the tepid and mediocre. Most retail reviewers are motivated by an especially noteworthy experience. Whether it’s really good or really bad doesn’t seem to matter much.

For starters, you’ll want to monitor the big online review sites as well as the local forums, discussion boards and Facebook groups where your customers and potential customers are likely to gather and talk about the good and bad experiences they’ve had.

And you’ll want to engage as much as you can – and as calmly as you can – thanking those who have had good experiences and attempting to work with those whose experiences have been less positive.

Since the sites don’t always make it easy to tell who the reviewer is, you won’t always be able to identify the incident. But frequently the details will make that pretty clear. When they do, you may be tempted to ignore or blast a person because you know how unreasonable they had been. Don’t. Take the opportunity to stay above the fray, address the situation as if there might be a reasonable solution and do all you can to make the rest of the community realize that you’re a reasonable person.

The goal isn’t to make the crazy person happy – that’s probably not going to happen. The goal is to make it clear that you’re a reasonable person who will correct mistakes and even indulge a little bit of crazy.

Most consumers recognize when someone is being unreasonable – we all have that crazy friend or relative – and like to see a retailer who can bend a little without sinking to the same level of crazy.

And of course, encourage your best customers to review you so that you can build a solid reputation that counterbalances the occasional bad experience. One bad review has a lot less weight to it if there are dozens of positive reviews alongside it.

Finally, make sure your encouragement doesn’t cross the line to bribery. Most review sites frown upon this and will penalize you if they catch wind of your efforts. They’ll also come down hard on you if they find you posting fake reviews of your own business. Don’t do it.

It can sometimes feel like herding cats, but staying on top of your online reputation is a most for any retail business today. [/level-members]