Got a Negative Review? Here’s what you can do.

Stewing over a negative review that a customer left online? Read on for the solution.

In 2019, 90% of people searched the internet when looking for a local business, and 33% of them did so every day. While consumers search for restaurants, bars, and shops, they also search for accountants, physiotherapists, doctors, car dealerships and garages, pet services, and salons – to name a few. No matter what industry you’re in, ensuring you have social proof should be a crucial part of your marketing strategy. 

“Social Proof” in the form of reviews, ratings, testimonials, and recommendations is a critical factor in most consumers’ decision-making processes. 85% of people trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. Reviews can: 

  • Increase consumer trust in you,
  • Convince consumers to spend more money with you (up to 31% more), and
  • Increase your overall business revenue

And these are only a few reasons. For more, check out this previous post of ours for more examples of why building a bank of online reviews is essential. 

There’s also evidence that 57% of customers won’t use a business with fewer than four stars – so what about negative reviews? How do they affect your business, and what can you do about them? We’ve broken down the impact of negative reviews and how you can handle them as business owners or managers. 

You Got a Negative Review – Is it That Bad?

Aside from the blow to your ego, a negative review (yes, even just one) can hurt your business: it causes people to think twice about working with you. Studies show that one bad review can cost you about 22% of customers, and three negative reviews can drive away almost 60%.

What Can You do to Mitigate a Negative Review?

While you want to respond to the review, having your Google My Business account set up properly comes in handy. You’ll get a notification when someone leaves an online review, which will help you create a timely response as the business owner – but you don’t want to rush into it.

First things first: figure out what happened.

Take a look at the customer’s purchase history and try to determine if this is a long-time or new customer. Find out from your staff what happened and gather any information you can. Ideally, this allows you to see what went wrong and when. Not only is this helpful for the current situation, but it can hopefully prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

Second, you’ll want to come up with a way to make it up to them.

In today’s customer-first world, how you handle unhappy customers says as much about your business (if not more) than if a mistake had never happened. Now is your chance to go above and beyond, make it up to them, and win them back.

Be sure to respond quickly (but not until you’ve discovered what went wrong, as we mentioned), and apologize – yes, even if it wasn’t your fault. Tell the reviewer how you plan to fix the issue and follow through.

The majority of people are understanding and realize that mistakes happen. Once everything is resolved and everyone happy, make a polite request to update the review with the outcome. Keep the old review available, though, as you’ll want to appear transparent!

It’s not all bad news

While a negative review can drive consumers away, it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate how you handle these situations publicly. When a potential customer has faith that you’ll quickly solve a problem, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you despite the odd bad review.

Don’t forget that your overall star rating is critical, and is an average of all of your reviews. Make collecting online reviews part of your marketing strategy by adding a link in your email signature, on your website, social media feeds, and even by reaching out to your top customers to ask them to leave you a review. Requesting a review will help tip the balance in favour of your business and bump you back up over the 4-star crest.

What do you think? Do negative reviews typically turn you away from a business? Let us know in the comments – we’re always interested in hearing your perspectives!

Three pillars of a customer review marketing strategy

One of the best secret weapons small business owners have when it comes to building confidence in their business is good online customer reviews. Customer reviews are not only essential, but they’re also a proven business strategy for building your location-based business. But don’t take our word for it, either. Read some of these examples of why online customer reviews are so vital

Today, we’re going to focus on the three key pillars of developing a solid customer review marketing strategy. First, though, let’s look at why having customer testimonials appear on your business listings is so important. And, to do so, let’s look at some statistics:

  • If you have less than a 4-star rating, over half of consumers won’t use your business. 
  • It takes less than 10 reviews for 90% of people to form an opinion about your business. 
  • WHOA! 72% percent of people won’t take action before consulting online reviews.
  • 15% of customers will not trust a business if they don’t have reviews to consult. 
  • Consumers will spend up to 31% more on a business that has great reviews associated with it. 
  • WHOA! Google accounts for 57.5% of all reviews available in the world. 
  • WHOA! 63.6% of consumers visit Google to check for reviews of a business.
  • 73% of consumers consider written reviews to be more important than star and number ratings.
  • LOCAL ALERT! Positive reviews encourage 68% of consumers to use a local business.
  • Have more than four negative reviews about your business? That may decrease sales by 70%.

These are just a few of the many statistics available about reviews. We encourage you to read others right from our source

So now that you understand the importance of your business’s reviews, it’s time to learn the three pillars of a customer review marketing strategy. 

Pillar #1: Make sure that you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing (and other directories)

While we’ve written a comprehensive post that details everything you need to know about Google My Business, it’s important to reiterate that a sound review marketing strategy starts with owning your listings. Why is this so important? There are several reasons.

Owning (claiming) your listing gives you full control over what business information is placed there. Yes, this refers to all the key elements you would think of, including your business name, address, phone number, business description and more. What this also does is allow you to 1) get alerts whenever someone leaves you a review and 2) respond to reviews and have those responses appear as being from you, the business owner (more on that soon). 

Owning your listing is the first step to having a successful online review marketing strategy.

Pillar #2: Respond to your reviews

Use the alerts mentioned above (see, told you it would be soon) to stay on top of the feedback you’re getting – and help guide your response. When reviews are positive, get in there and thank your customers, share your positive experiences with them and validate their visit and the reasons why they gave you that positive review in the first place. When reviews are negative, think of them as an opportunity to learn about your business, rebuild consumer trust and turn the negative into a positive. Most people will be shocked that you’re paying attention and care. This is a good thing. Take advantage and get them back on your side. 

Another very important factor was validated by Google earlier this year. The company confirmed that responding to reviews is an important factor in getting your local business ranked in a “local pack”. In fact, in the Google My Business help section, they explicitly state that responding to reviews is a vital element to improve your local ranking on Google:

Manage and respond to reviews

Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews.

Pillar #3: Ask for reviews

At the tail end of Google’s note about how to manage and respond to reviews, you may have noticed the following note to “Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews.”

So Google is encouraging you to encourage people to leave reviews. Excellent! When you consider how competitive it is to get into the Local Pack and rank well organically, coupled with the fact that the average local business has 39 Google reviews associated to their listing (same sources as our previous statistics), you can see why it becomes important to solicit reviews from your best customers. 

There are many ways you can go about this, some easier to implement than others. Here are some ideas:

  • Personally email your best customers asking them to support your business with an online review.
  • Plant a link to your listing in your email signature.
  • Add a URL to your receipts
  • Embark on a drip email campaign with requests and links
  • Use a specialized tool to monitor reviews, send out requests or embark on a campaign

These are just some ideas, and we’re able to help with any online review marketing strategies as well, even the more involved processes. 

Go beyond Google if need be!

While we’ve talked a lot about Google here for its obvious power via its market share alone, it’s important to consider other search engines, directories, social networks and mapping technologies too. So if you’re established on Facebook, point reviewers there. If you’re reliant on Yelp, ask for reviews there and continually monitor that network. But remember where most people search, and that’s on Google. It’s likely that for most businesses, Google will have the greatest impact on traffic to your store and to your website. 

What are some of your strategies to generate reviews? How do you go about monitoring for them? Do you respond? Let us know in the comments below.

Case Study: How One Jewellery Wholesaler Achieved a Brilliant 120% Increase In Google My Business Views In Five Months

One of our clients is a relatively new custom jewellery wholesaler with a family tradition of over 70 years behind it. They were referred to 10|20 Marketing by another one of our clients – they wanted help with organizing and optimizing their existing Google My Business listing and getting on other online directories. Though the reputation of the owners was well known in the community, the new business name and location were not.

The following is a Local Listing Case Study about a jewellery business that shows how adding posts and online reviews to your Google My Business listing can have a significant impact on the number of times Google presents your listing in search results. With more views comes more website visits and other purchase intent-based actions.  

BACKGROUND

Maison Goldberg Bijouterie has worked with 10|20 Marketing since November 2018. When we first met, the client explained that their website was changing, notably with the addition of an e-commerce platform. Also, they were starting to establish a following on Instagram and Facebook, but relying solely on organic growth.

After meeting with us, the client decided to move forward with three of our services:

SERVICES DESCRIPTIONS

Our local listings management offer helps clients own, organize and optimize their listing on Google My Business and the web’s other most relevant directories, such as Facebook, Yelp, Bing, Foursquare and Apple Maps. We make sure that all the information in these listings is consistent from one directory to the next by monitoring them for changes from directory users. The more consistency you build across the web, the more Google rewards your business with views of your listing.

Review marketing helps clients monitor their online reviews and respond to them from a single platform. Also, our clients can send email or SMS invitations to their clients, asking them for Google reviews. The best reviews can then act as marketing content, sent automatically from our platform to the client’s Facebook or Twitter account as a post or tweet. Google appreciates these authentic reviews and will again reward businesses with more views as new reviews come in. Gaining new positive reviews also helps businesses solidify their credibility with people searching for what they offer.

To understand Google My Business posts, you’ll have to think of a Google My Business listing as a social media channel. As part of your listing, you’re able to add business updates or product descriptions with photos and links. Google My Business posts are powerful because they allow you to add more written content to your listing. The more content, the more terms you feed into Google to index for your listing. For Maison Goldberg Bijouterie, we post content at least twice a week.

RESULTS

Maison Goldberg Bijouterie’s goal is to build awareness of their business, establish credibility and build online sales. After accessing data from the Google My Business platform, we have a year’s worth of data from before the client started working with us and five months of data since being placed on our Local Listings Management and Review Marketing platforms.

Here are the monthly averages for views and action clicks, as well as the total number of reviews before subscribing to our service and after:

Before

After Difference % Increase
GMB Views Per Month

871

1,917

+1,047

+120%

GMB Actions Per Month

26

65

+39

+150%

GMB Reviews 2 17 +15

+750%

While these numbers are impressive to us, our client is even happier.

“We’re thrilled with the way we’ve been able to increase the visibility of our business with the help of 10|20 Marketing,” says Keely Goldberg, owner of Maison Goldberg Bijouterie. “More specifically, though, we’ve listened to their advice on how to approach building a deeper bank of reviews on our Google listing and we’ve received authentic reviews from our clients about their experience working with us – all in a very short time. This helps us establish immediate credibility with people who are looking for our services and helps us create more business.”

The proof is in the charts as well. Have a look at the 18 months of data we’ve collected.

We believe that this is the beginning of the first new plateau, as we discussed in our optometry case study. Also, by helping the client generate reviews, they’ve been able to maintain a stellar 4.9 average rating on Google. This is a reflection of their excellent personalized service and their ability to drive the right reviewers to their profile. While we can’t help with the former, we do help with the latter!

MOVING FORWARD

We monitor metrics on an ongoing basis to help our clients understand the impact of our optimizations on their Google My Business listing. In the coming months, we will continue to collect and trend the client’s metrics, digging out insights and suggestions to continue to improve their results. Of course, we’ll work with the client to generate more reviews, post new content to their Google My Business listing and continue to build consistency with their listings.

We’ll leave the last word to our client. “10|20 Marketing has helped us understand and utilize all the tools that Google has to offer,” says Keely.  “Our business wouldn’t be where it is today without their help.”

Thank you, Keely! We’ll update this case study in the fall to see where these metrics stand.

10|20 Marketing Case Studies

We invite you to read our other case studies to learn how our services have brought tangible value to other clients in different industries.

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Learn How To Find Your Google Place ID And Point Customers To Your Google Listing Now!

The biggest question we get from our clients after we claim their listing(s) across Tier 1 online directories is, “How do we optimize our listing now?” One of the best strategies to keep Google interested in your listing is to have a steady stream of reviews trickle in. So how do you do that? Well, it’s important to know your Google Place ID so you can point people to your listing. Luckily, there’s a little tool available from Google that allows you to find your unique Google Place ID. Once you’re there, the rest should be quite easy. Just enter your location in the search bar and Google will straight up hand over your place ID. Here’s ours for 10|20 Marketing:


ChIJ57GitNoZyUwRpn0cN126RWk

So now that you have your Google Place ID, what do you do next? That’s easy too! You’re just two steps away:

  1. Copy your Place ID, which you’ll see beneath your business name.
  2. Add your Place ID to the following URL to create your link: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=<place_id>

Using this example, the link for our business is:

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJ57GitNoZyUwRpn0cN126RWk

You’ll see that we’ve just removed the <place_id> placeholder, including the brackets, and replaced it with the ID we found using the Google Place ID tool.

Next, you’ll want to embed that link into an email or text that you’ll send to the people whom you think will give you a fair review. Monitor for new reviews and respond with a thank you right away.

Building Online Reviews Is Worth Your Time

If you’re wondering why you should go through the trouble, there are many reasons why building online reviews are worth the effort. The benefits are tangible over time. Here are some other posts we’ve written on the topic. Let us know what you think and if you’ve used the Google Place ID tool in the past!

 

Building Online Reviews Are Worth The Effort. But Don’t Take Our Word For It.

Meeting with clients every day, we get to see their frustrations with online strategies, promises of improved SEO and solutions that have come, been paid for and gone. We talk about SEO – and the corner of it that we operate in – as a series of small improvements that add up to make a big impact.

What we’re seeing now, with the adoption of online review building solutions now a stable of our offering, is that a steady stream of reviews can have a significant impact on getting discovered and generating conversions to sales. Building online reviews does have seen success, but don’t take our word for it. We’ve been reading quite a bit and have found some really great articles around the web that point out the reasons why.

We encourage you to have a look at these and join us back here in the comments for a discussion about building online reviews.

• Reviews are the Most Prominent Local SEO Ranking Factor in 2017
Search Engine Journal, November 13, 2017

A business with a significant number of reviews on its Google My Business page can rank relatively well in local packs. However, it’s not just the number of reviews that matter. Even more important than quantity of reviews is what’s being said in those reviews. Google My Business pages with reviews that mention a keyword, and/or the name of a city, were found to have higher rankings in Google’s local pack. (Read more)

• The Impact of Online Reviews on Businesses
BrightLocal, March 15, 2017

Key ‘Takeaways’ From This Post

  • Consumers are likely to spend 31% more on products/services from businesses that have excellent reviews.
  • 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • A negative review can drive away approximately 22% of customers
    (Read more)

• How Online Reviews Impact Local SEO and Why They Matter to Your Bottom Line
Shopify, February 7, 2018

Typically, by the time someone has started looking at review websites (like reviews on your product pages or Facebook, Epinions, Angie’s List, or elsewhere), they’ve already figured out what they need and how a business might ideally fulfill that need. The critical thing to note is that the mental gap between reading a review and making a decision is ridiculously small — and customers typically decide yes or no almost immediately. So, as a small business, your online reputation can directly influence your bottom line. (Read more)

• Why Online Reputation Management Is Like Brushing Your Teeth
Entrepreneur, December 17, 2015

Think about why you brush your teeth. You don’t do it because your teeth are brown and dirty. You do it preventatively. It’s a habit that’s good for you because it impacts your long-term health and the look of your smile. Now think what would happen if you waited until your teeth were gross before you decided to start brushing. Your teeth might fall out. You’d probably get gum disease. Your smile would be tarnished and discolored. It might be too late to fix everything and, at the very least, you’d have a lot of ground to make up. Brushing your teeth is an insurance policy against all those negative outcomes. Online reputation management (ORM) works the same way. Many folks realize how important their online presence is only once they have a problem — a nasty negative, an ex’s rant, a sketchy forum that sticks out like a sore thumb, etc. We fix these results, but it can take months and months, or even years. And that can be a hard pill to swallow. (Read more)

• Why you always need to get online reviews?
BirdEye

You could have hundreds of reviews and a high average star rating, but if your most recent review is from a year ago, for all a customer knows you could be a completely different business by now. How do they know that your current staff is as friendly and knowledgeable as last year’s? How can they be sure your product quality hasn’t declined over time? If customers haven’t been reviewing your business lately, who have they been reviewing instead? (Read more)

These are just a handful of articles about the importance of building online reviews that are available online. It’s a topic we’re always happy to discuss too.

Hells Angels Use Online Reviews For Revenge

Wow! This is a great article by Caroline Barghout of the CBC and a cautionary tale for business owners who doubt the power of online reviews. After being denied service at a local establishment, the Hells Angels launched a coordinated campaign to hurt the business online by giving them low ratings. Overnight, the business’s average rating dropped a full point. And then they did it to other businesses as well.

Online reviews are an important way for business owners to drive customers to their business. The review plays two key roles:

1) It helps those who are searching for your location to create an opinion of your business. People trust the opinions of people who are similar to themselves more than they do brands or business owners. So generating positive reviews is vital.

2) Reviews help with the SEO of your business listing. The more you get, the more likely your directory listing will be presented when people are looking online for what you sell. The more positive, the better.

For local business owners, creating an online review strategy is a great advantage. Monitor and respond to them, but also create an environment where you let your customers know that you’d like a review. This could be an in-store strategy, email campaign or by simply asking your clients for one after house calls. Either way, the results could be truly impactful.

It’s not that you risk having the Hells Angels conspire against your business. But keeping things positive and encouraging good reviews from your best customers can go a long way towards getting your business found and then driving phone calls, visits to your website and traffic to your store.

To learn more about reviews, read our post titled, “Four Fantastic Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Have An Online Customer Review Monitoring Strategy.”