Online Reviews 101 for the Smart Small Business Owner (Part 2)

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Thanks to technology and social media, the written word has become more common than ever. And in the words of J.K. Rowling via Dumbledore:

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

In our previous blog post, we discussed about negative and positive reviews that our business can get and how they could impact sales growth or otherwise.

More importantly, following the sensibility of prevention being better than cure, we touched on what we can do to avoid getting unpleasant feedback in general.

But should you get a mixture of the good, the bad, and the ugly, what do you do?


Turning negative reviews around


You cannot please everyone. But you can take into account what they’re saying and do your best to turn that into something beneficial for your business in more ways than one.


  • Respond quick and respond well


Timing is key, as they say. The soonest you can respond to negative feedback, the better. And the simple reason is, it shows that you care.

A faster response time can help subside anger or disappointment, especially when paired with genuine sympathy and concern.

While knowing what the customer needs early on by asking generally applies, it is here when the right questions and responses prove crucial.

Please avoid asking provoking questions and making assuming statements that may make matters worse. Train your support staff to ask first when in doubt.

Be it live chat, email, or phone support, it’s about knowing why your client or customer is contacting you and giving them the resolution best you can.

The important thing is to make them return again, which brings us to our next item.


  • Offer a special coupon or discount


If restaurants have their “We’re sorry we messed something up,” coupon ready, you can have one for your negative reviews.

It’s one way of showing that you’re concerned about your customer’s experience, and that the untoward incident was the exception and not the norm.

Just be sure to put certain measures in place to protect you from frauders who didn’t really buy anything or experienced anything yet and just want to get a discount.

But the goal here is clear: To make them come back and essentially give you a second chance. If you’re successful, there’s be a third, fourth, fifth, nth.


  • Make customers feel you welcome feedback


In your store or office, it could be a suggestion box on the counter, a slogan on the wall, having both, or more.

Online, you can do the same by having a section on the homepage and links on different pages on your website that lead to the Contact Us page.


  • Turn feedback into improvement


While a few may be just rants from irascible customers, even those, consider. Yes, you cannot please everybody, but the important result of a negative feedback is improvement.

Take it as a chance to see your service or product from a different angle, especially if the one who gave the review has used other similar products or services.



Getting more out of positive reviews


If you shouldn’t let negative reviews just hanging around because they can impact sales, you should do the same when it comes to positive feedback.


  • Turn positive comments into reviews


“You did a great job!” and indeed you have if a customer has left a similar positive note on your social media page or website.

In fact, they were so satisfied that they took the time and made the effort to just let you know that.

That being said, make sure you let them know you appreciate it and that the thing that they were pleased with is part of what makes you tick as a company.

Then ask them if they could rate you or leave a quick review. Just make the process as easy as you can, because that would mean their extra time and effort.


  • Turn comments into testimonials


Why not take comments up a notch and turn them into testimonials featured on your website?

If they took the time to email you a positive note, then reply back and at the end of your conversation, you can ask them if you can use their feedback as a testimonial for posting on your social media site.

These will be great in proving the quality of service that you have, especially, if it’s another service or company that commends your good work.

(Note: Just be sure to have a screenshot of it and record the time and date for records purposes.)


  • Offer a subscription to your newsletter


Why not ask your satisfied customer to subscribe to your newsletter? “Why not?” indeed.

Getting your customer’s email address gets you on a more personal relationship with them.

But what will they get out of it? Latest discount or promo announcements delivered in a timely manner? Whatever they may be, be sure to include them in your invitation for subscription.


When they say nothing at all


Remember that bad publicity is still publicity. But having no publicity can be just as bad. So what do you do to help put your product on the online map?


  • Ask family and friends


Your family has been supporting you with the extra time you need for your business and other things. Leaving a short review or giving a rating shouldn’t be so hard, especially when you explain how it could help your business move forward. Then, there are your friends and neighbors who have tried your product or service to leave a short review or rating online.  As advised before, make it easy. Provide the link to where they can leave reviews. And especially since they’re your friends, throw in a little something extra as a reward the next time they come by your store or acquire your service.


  • Advertise on social media


Having a social media page is useless if no one ever hears about it. While sharing it to family and friends helps, there’s another way to effectively boost it to people who are already consumers of a similar product or service.

With just a few bucks, you can advertise on social media. Just be sure to specify the settings so that it will target the particular demographics of consumers who are most likely to buy from you.

Of course, you didn’t just go through all the trouble you did of setting up your business because you had something mediocre to share to the public.

You have a good product or service. But good can become better and better can become best, if you understand how to handle feedback — online or offline — well enough for a (literally and figuratively) profitable experience.


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