The small business landscape is very competitive. Smart entrepreneurs take note of the things that can help them succeed and stand out, but there are some things that can seem out of your control. A great example of this is online reviews.
The positives and negatives of online reviews
As the digital age got underway, reviews and testimonials became an important part of how people found products and services and made decisions as consumers. Few of us today go to a restaurant without first checking Google or Yelp, and even fewer hire a contractor or make a large expense – or even a small one on Amazon – without first checking for five stars. Reviews, love them or loathe them, matter.
The positive thing about reviews is that they can really drive your business. The higher the reviews, the higher the consumer trust level. The big negative is, sometimes a review is left in bad faith.
A bad faith review happens when a consumer has a negative, or perceived negative, experience and then leaves a review before talking to the place of business. For example, an impatient customer in a coffee shop might leave a bad review if they felt their service was too slow without knowing if the coffee shop was understaffed, or if their “triple mocha latte with non-dairy whip and one shot of flavor poured over ice” order simply took longer to make than a regular Americano.
Sadly, there is another side to reviews – some leave negative reviews to either try and get free products or to hurt the business out of spite. Some people that leave terrible reviews have never even visited the premises.
How to respond to reviews
Thankfully, consumers have come a long way in sussing out bad faith reviews, but that doesn’t mean you can be complacent as a business owner.
Show your present and potential customers that you take all feedback seriously. Leave a note saying thank you for the positive feedback. If a review was left in bad faith, leave a public reply stating that you would be happy to discuss the situation and for the customer to contact you personally. For reviews where it is obviously someone with no ties as a customer, plainly state that you have no record of their transaction or visit, and you would appreciate more input to ensure they are a legitimate customer.
Get help with reputation management
If you are a business that thrives on reviews, such as those in the hospitality industry, consider getting help with your online reputation management. Social media and marketing companies offer this service to help you get positive reviews and manage negative ones.
We are here for small businesses in Canada
Here at AF Accounting we are invested in Canadian small businesses and offer modern, cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping solutions. We understand how the digital age has changed established businesses and given rise to today’s e-commerce society. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar business, operate solely online, or both, AF Accounting has solutions you can count on. Visit our service page to learn more.