Although there are many reasons to want to avoid the topic of customer reviews, there are more good reasons why your business should be open to it. Don’t fall into the trap of being the stubborn business owner who would rather not deal with Yelp (or any other third party review site):
“I would rather have my business seem ‘mysterious’.”
One excuse spins the perspective that NO reviews (good or bad) is a good thing! The assumption is that if customers can’t find anything about a business, they’ll be curious and motivated to give it a try.
Realistically, a business without any reviews or any type of online presence may seem suspicious. Especially if the business has been around for a long time. It may also convey the message that the business has an old and outdated mentality on marketing and customer service.
In today’s world, customers have a handful of options to choose from. And guess what? If your “mysterious” business has 0 reviews and your competitors have 20, guess which choice the customer will make?
1 bad review will ruin 10 good ones
Criticism is hard to take whether it’s coming from a real loyal customer or a competitor in disguise, who’s looking to sabotage your business with false, bad reviews. It’s a good thing that Yelp has a filtering system that is especially designed to combat these reviews.
Dealing with negative reviews is a crummy part of running a business but it’s part of the package. In today’s world of the “social” customer, it’s important to learn how to deal with all types of reviews. In the long run, addressing these issues will only help your business.
As far as having negative reviews, it’s bound to happen. All customers aren’t alike and people will have different experiences and your business may just be having an off day. In fact, one argument is that it would seem unnatural if your business had nothing except good reviews!
Can’t I just fake my customer reviews?
It’s understandable that it can be embarrassing and a lot of hard work to ask for customer reviews. Wouldn’t it just be easier if I pretend to be a satisfied customer (you have one in mind) and write a review as if I were that person? The answer is NO! This risky behavior is not worth the potential backlash and penalties if Yelp figures out that you’ve been writing fake reviews.
Check out our blog post “How to Ask Customers for Reviews” for more information.
Why should I bother? Reviews won’t help my website.
Because third party reviews aren’t directly related to your website, the ultimate excuse would be that it shouldn’t matter. But Yelp, Google+, Yellow Pages and City Search do matter. These are often sites that show up in a branded search for your business name. Maintaining your website and brand reputation means dealing things even if it’s off-site. Also with the recent Google Pigeon update, it’s been shown that good reviews are considered a factor in your website’s authority (in the ranking of the 7 local pack).
It’s All About Customer Service
Social media and online customer reviews are a relatively new aspect of business that owners have to deal with. But they aren’t going anywhere soon. The longer you delay, the more behind your business will fall. Don’t be afraid of the unknown but embrace it and engage with your customers so you have a better gauge on what they have to say and understanding of the appropriate response. The time to act is now!
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.