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Why Checking On-line Reviews is So Important

By Equestrian Advisor Customer Experience

You must not ignore Reviews! Replying to them is the Key… Avoid looking? Afraid you’ll find a criticism? Don't be, read on...

Do you avoid looking at online reviews of your business because you’re afraid you’ll find a criticism from a disgruntled customer? Read on...

Ignoring Equestrian Advisor , Google and other review sites that feature your business is a bad idea as this shows prospective new customers that you don’t care and have not tried to understand and improve your services. A quality review site will ALWAYS give you the option to respond, if they don’t, very simply don’t use it…the prospect of not being able to respond in a public manner could be very detrimental to your business.

According to the Institute of Customer Service a high percentage of customers will re-use your services even if they have had a bad experience if they feel they have been recognized and treated fairly or compensated.

The key is to listen to you customers and keeping your eye on reviews are the best way as people will rarely tell you to your face, they are not happy or why. They simply leave or stop using your services. The problem here is that they then tell 8-10 other people of their bad experience and the word spreads.

Remember…You are not going to win against true accounts of dissatisfaction, so it is best to approach with a strategy to turn negative into a positive in a transparent manner.

The first step in taking control of your company’s online presence is regularly monitoring Equestrian Advisor, Google, Amazon and other review sites, rather than looking at them every six months. Then respond to all the reviews, good and bad. Saying thankyou for good reviews is important too!

Prepare Your Apology

Despite our best intentions, we all make mistakes and customers will remind us with less-than-glowing reviews. If you realize your customer has a valid complaint, own up to your mistake. Send a TAT apology by email. TAT sands for thank, apologize, then thank again. For instance, you can thank customers for using your service, apologize that you neglected to provide that service as agreed, then thank them for allowing you to come in and perform the neglected service.

Apologies are powerful because they acknowledge that a customer’s complaints have been heard. The best time to write a TAT apology email is before you need it, you will not be emotional and can concentrate on writing.

Take time to write several apologies and save them as templates on your computer. That way when you need one, you can easily send it out without having to think too much in the heat of the moment.

Make an Offer

If you feel the situation warrants more than an apology, call the customer with an offer. We recommended another acronym—OCA—to help you with the process. Offer something, like a free service or a discount, check in after making the offer to gage if the customer is interested, then ask if the customer needs anything else. If you don’t get a response, email the offer, or explain it to the customer on his or her voicemail.

If the customer takes you up on the offer, there is a good chance her or she will use your services again, even without a discount. Result! Well done!

If you don’t want to offer a discount or a complete free service, other options include a free add-on service, such as a voucher, we would suggest. You also can offer a refund to dissatisfied customers in exchange for them removing or updating a bad review. As a last resort, perhaps for an especially poor review, you can offer to pay the customer to remove the review. Make sure to get the agreement in writing.

Put Your Emotions in Check

But what about a customer who gives you a bad review for no apparent reason? It’s easy to feel betrayed by what feels like a spiteful attack. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you!

“Most of the time people who give bad reviews that you feel are unfounded are not doing it to be malicious or to get free services,” she said. “You need to step away from the situation emotionally and take steps to protect your reputation.”

Just as you would with a valid complaint, send a TAT apology and execute an OCA, both by phone and email. Some people process better when they’re reading rather than listening, and vice versa.

A Small Gift Goes a Long Way

It’s often helpful to offer less-than-satisfied customers a little perk to get them to reconsider your services. We suggest a token gift that costs £20 or less, such as flowers, a fruit arrangement, or a plate of nut-free cookies or brownies or chocolates... it after-all, the thought that counts!

You can have the gift delivered to the customer’s workplace or home. You may also consider hand-delivering it if the complaint against your business was especially serious. “If you show up at a customer’s home with a bouquet of flowers or a nice fruit arrangement, that will really make a big impact”.

Cultivate Positive Reviews

After defusing any negative reviews, the next step in improving your online reputation is garnering more positive reviews. Equestrian Advisor recommended several tactics to help convince your customers to take time out of their busy lives to write a glowing review:

  • Create an evaluation card for your clients to fill out, so they have a template to follow when they write online reviews.
  • Announce that you are having a competition to gather positive reviews for your staff and encourage customers an incentive to write reviews, such as a small discount or gift. Equestrian Advisor will help you do this as part of your Showcase package.
  • If customers offer verbal praise or write a positive review on your showcase, send them a friendly text thanking them and asking them to put the comments on Google also and vise-versa.
  • Email a selfie video to you clients, asking them for positive reviews or a message via social media. “I’ve found I usually get a positive response from customers when I send them a personalized message,”.

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