The word of mouth referral remains one of the most powerful assets to any business owner, but those relying on that alone are being left behind by their tech savvy competitors. In the past, one person could reach a small network. Mom and pop business thrived and they relied on community networks to reach newcomers and outsiders.
Now social circles and experiences spread across the globe instantly. The good news about your business can be shared with others at lightning speed, but bad news travels just as fast. Whether it’s true/untrue/authentic or even fake- everyone now has a bullhorn.
All thanks to the power of the internet.
Reviews can shape the reputation of a business and are crucial to their ongoing success. Regardless of industry, people are looking for what’s popular and well-liked by others in order to reduce their own chances of having a bad experience (physicians and healthcare business owners should see this article about how patients use online reviews to decide on their provider).
Unfortunately, people that have negative experiences are often more likely to post feedback online. Some businesses are exploring reputation management options to increase the volume of honest and positive feedback that tends to elude review sites.
Acknowledging the positive feedback is just as crucial as handling negative experiences (a good read for physicians can be found here, others can look here), since online reviews are seen as the “the marketing platform that either makes or breaks your business.” Those not embracing the technology may look back and wonder what happened.
How does one become or stay successful? One way is to fix what’s broken. Recently, Google announced that it would notify customers via email when a business owner responds to their online review. This tool enhances the capabilities of customer relationship management.
People are 65% more likely to be loyal and 25% less likely to go elsewhere when there’s a social response.
Successful people and businesses alike thrive on negative experiences.
They see a negative online review as a gained opportunity. Rather than simply walking away from your business and not returning, the customer provided feedback that can be openly or privately addressed. Policies, procedures and personnel can be changed. The ability to address a customer’s concerns is a potential “do-over,” which can enhance the relationship.
While Google is proactively providing better communication to both the customer and business, there are plenty of other channels in the online community that don’t currently have this. You or your staff can continue to scour the internet for reviews and other citations, although there are more efficient ways to manage this more proactively.
Negative reviews are not a bad thing. They are a shining opportunity for you to turn a lemon into an Arnold Palmer or a John Daly, depending on your style.