Do you know the business impact of your bad reviews on social media and other online outlets?
The truth is, negative reviews cost more than you think. Research has suggested that just one bad review can cost you up to 30 new customers. No matter your industry — and especially in an industry as fickle as retail — these reviews can add up to millions in lost revenue.
But how can your business stay on top of reviews when you have hundreds or thousands of locations? When you have multiple locations to oversee, your strategy is only as good as the tools you use. Successfully managing reviews involves staying up to date and responding to them as quickly as possible, ensuring the messaging is on-brand and empowering your local teams as well as corporate.
However, when you have thousands of locations it’s hard to be proactive with reviews and to respond quickly to negative experiences. Reviews are worth more than you think, and proactive review management can help you harness this untapped resource.
Reviews Drive Revenue
Like it or not, online reviews have a very strong correlation with purchasing behavior. 84% of Americans report that online customer reviews influence their buying decisions. On the other hand, only 3% report that they never check brands or products online before purchase. So, we know that reviews influence what to buy, but what about where?
Research has found that customer reviews also inform where purchases are made. In fact, eight in 10 customers report they won’t buy from a business with bad reviews. Plus, people buy more things more often from businesses with good reviews. Customers are 45% more likely to consider shopping at a three-star business than a two-star business.
Bad Reviews Are An Opportunity
Some businesses see a bad review as something they need to cover up, bury beneath better reviews or pay to remove. What these business owners don’t realize is that reviews are an exceptional business opportunity to sway customer opinions about your business and your brand.
Let’s be clear, it’s not the bad reviews that cost you, but the response. You can easily redeem your business in the customer’s eyes with a personalized, on-brand, timely response to a negative review. When negative experiences are unresolved, it can take up to 12 positive experiences to earn redemption.
Bad reviews are an opportunity to learn, to improve, and to do better the next time. At the very least reviews are a way to start a conversation, and to invite new customers to try things out for themselves! Case in point:
How To Manage Your Reviews
To manage the innumerable reviews and interactions generated by multi-location businesses, you need tools to help take the pulse of your audience and respond in kind, while hitting the right balance between corporate and local.
1) Social Listening
At the very heart of review management is social listening. This is the practice of monitoring the sentiment of conversations about your brand online. To manage your reviews, you first need to know what is being said about you. This is difficult, if not nearly impossible, to do manually. For truly effective social listening, you need to engage a platform that aggregates posts, tweets, images and reviews that pertain to your brand.
2) Managing Multiple Responses
Managing large volumes of customer reviews can’t be done one-by-one. Rather, you need the power to be able to respond to multiple reviews at the same time with personalized messaging. You need to be able to respond to many reviews at the same time with locally relevant, personalized messaging. Save hours of time and energy each week writing responses and do the work of 100 local marketers in the matter of minutes.
3) Respond Immediately
Timeliness in responding to reviews is essential. Ignored or unanswered negative reviews only make a bad situation worse. Look for a solution that allows you to set up custom alerts to notify you of new reviews so that you can reply immediately and mitigate issues right away. Quick responses often lead to adjusted reviews or ratings, and favorable commentary.
4) Empower Your Team
The best multi-location review management strategy balances corporate messaging with the local touch. There’s a need for corporate teams to work in synergy with local managers with workflows, approvals and pre-vetted canned responses. You need to ensure a unified, on-brand voice while still allowing the entire team to view, read and respond to reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google and Facebook.
5) Monitor Success
Review management is bolstered by powerful analytics. Having access to custom reporting functionality allows you to oversee the health of specific locations, regions or custom-made groups. These analytics offer meaningful insights into average star ratings, response times, response rates and improvement over time.
Turn Reviews Into Revenue
Bad reviews hurt your bottom line. Diligent review management gives you the power to make a positive impact, regardless of how many locations your business operates. A review management strategy that encompasses social listening with personalized, immediate responses is the best way to make your customers happy and ensure they return.
And happy customers are worth more than any five-star review.
Tom Kuhr is Senior Vice President of Marketing at MomentFeed, a mobile customer experience management platform that enables multi-location brands to make their nearest location the best choice for every mobile customer. Kuhr leads the company’s marketing efforts to drive growth and is responsible for creating and driving awareness of MomentFeed’s award winning SaaS products. Follow him on Twitter: @tomkuhr