Remember the last time you were so angry you wanted to write a letter or email to tell that scum bag just exactly what you really thought of them? Saying good stuff takes just as much effort as saying bad stuff, but when someone is wound up and angry, they often make that extra effort to tell everyone what they really think. And that can be really bad and damaging news for your local business listing.
Making comments, providing reviews and rating websites have become increasingly popular past-times and pretty much absolutely necessary to improve search engine rankings. And those reviews can carry a lot of weight. Think of the power of TripAdvisor. How many times you have decided against going to a certain hotel because one reviewer (out of loads of people) said something bad about the place?
People can do, and do do, exactly the same thing on Google Places. So it is vital, for the continuing health of your listing that you keep track of what people are saying about you and your company.
Check the local business listing below – it has a review (only three reviews on the site) that has been visible to all visitors since September 2010 (it’s now July 2011), especially with the big capital letters. Wow, that won’t be helping to bring in floods of business!
You absolutely must check your profile/listing every couple of weeks to monitor reviews and respond to them. Particularly negative reviews, but also positive reviews.
Negative reviews can be a shock, especially when they seem totally out of the blue and not something that you recall happening or occurring. Let’s face it – a poor customer service situation between one of your staff and a customer is probably not going to cross your radar. Until, that is, you see it in a review and it makes your blood boil! Not only that, but all those other people visiting your local business listing site will see it too, and make no mistake, that will impact on a potential customer.
The only practical response you can make is to neutralize the situation. Which is what should have happened in the review above. A considered and reasonable response could have made the business owner look like he cared about customer service and counter the anger of the reviewer.
A poor review actually does provide you with a good opportunity to make good, showing potential visitors that (a) there are real people in your company, (b) that you care about the customer, and (c) that you do provide great customer service. And you also get the opportunity to explain a situation or at least apologise.
Obviously the manager of the Quality Inn dubbo (it’s a large franchise in Australia) wasn’t watching the reviews because here is some ‘valuable’ feedback and he could have thanked his reviewers for the information, if nothing else! But this is not a hotel I’ll be staying at – ever. (Doesn’t look like the franchise cares much either.)
Don’t get caught napping – take your local business listing seriously and treat it as an important marketing tool. Don’t let unhappy customers hold control over your future business.