Empowering business owners with information on handling online reviews
The online review eco-system is a vital entity composed of many hosts who symbiotically serve as a critical interface between consumers and suppliers. Seated at the top of the food chain; most notably in the service industry, is Yelp.
As the leading business review site, a reported 90+ million people visit Yelp each month, and with reviews influencing a reported 93% of consumers’ decisions, the platform certainly commands our attention.
However, when we think about Yelp in those terms, it can be intimidating to fully embrace your power as a business owner. So while it’s important to respect Yelp’s influence on your business with their detailed review system that ties directly to online searchability, we certainly don’t want to paint THEM as the hand that feeds you.
Today’s discussion is here to assist you in sorting through some important considerations when deciding your best course of action in response to a negative Yelp.com review.
But first, we feel it’s important to shed some necessary light on the topic of control so that we don’t allow our personal insecurities to become a professional liability.
Understanding your limitations is a sign of strength
As a business owner, you have probably found yourself holding a few internal debates on the topic of control. Perhaps you’ve even gone public with your concerns. But on a personal level, accepting what power lies within and beyond your limits of control takes courage.
Leadership takes confidence in your ability to create change as well as in the actions to take (and not take) to influence a desirable outcome. Those who embrace the sowing of such an invaluable skill set with intention, end up reaping major rewards in the world of online business.
Point blank, if you struggle to understand what is within your control when it comes to the online review process, it is nearly impossible to navigate this complex system in a way that best serves you or your customers.
What can’t you control on customer review platforms?
While you can heavily influence consumer feedback, you can not (directly) control the individual or entity (robot) posting remarks. Of course, it is always best practice to provide the level of excellence in customer service that garners positive feedback, including a timely response to each review left.
You can not control a platform’s responsiveness should you need to report an inaccurate or false claim about your business. Yelp allows businesses to flag/review a report immediately, but its support team of moderators may take days to fully review the report and respond.
Playing the waiting game takes some serious inner fortitude when your reputation hangs in the balance. It helps to zoom out and assess the situation from a higher perspective to focus on what you can control.
What can you control?
Regardless of if the chips are down, you play a much stronger hand when the cards are stacked in your favor. This can take some up-front work to ensure you have many positive reviews in place to outweigh the negative and it never hurts to use a little strategy.
We feel strongly that if you are a brand new business or your business is exceeding expectations regularly, the decision to solicit reviews from the majority of your exchanges is not really up for debate.
All things considered, even the best of the best out there will experience the disappointment of a negative review. And we want you to be prepared in advance. The very first thing we advise you to do when this unfortunate situation occurs is to remain calm and composed.
This has nothing to do with bluffing. We know you’re anxious, afraid, and potentially enraged; Just control your emotions long enough, maintain your poker face, and do not fold.
If you lack confidence in your ability to ride the wave of emotion in the face of an online reputation assault, then you need to partner with a shark.
Kevin Harrington, entrepreneur, investor, and original shark on “Shark Tank” states that is why he enlisted Reputation Rhino’s team of online reputation management experts to monitor, respond, address, and help remove damaging claims on Yelp and other review platforms.
What are other options?
Now that you know how important it is to remain calm if you’re going to have a chance at winning the hand you’ve been dealt, we want you to scan for opportunities.
Online reviews give you the chance to create conversation, come up with solutions, provide context, gain beneficial opinions to re-work your current products and services, and help others see that your brand cares about what they have to say.
Rather than risking your online business with a knee-jerk reaction, there is real potential to control the conversation in your favor.
Online reviews are the new age word-of-mouth, only more powerful in terms of reach. It’s common to be uncomfortable broaching the sensitive subject of criticism with grace but we’ve developed an ultimate guide to online reviews for you to familiarize yourself with the process.
Finally, if you have remained calm and composed in your response and still feel you must have this damaging negative review removed, report it.
You will have to provide strong evidence that the review is in violation of Yelp’s content guidelines, and as mentioned it could take several days for a response.
If you meet the requirements, feel comfortable with your submission, and have control over your emotions enough to play the waiting game, continue with business as usual.
But if you’re at all uneasy in the face of uncertainty, why not team up with the sharks of online reputation management?
Reach out to our trusted team of advisors at Reputation Rhino today.