The Reviews are in, and Flowerpot Can Help


Date: Friday, December 29, 2017
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Imagine you own a restaurant and one day during the lunch rush, a disgruntled customer walks in, stands on a table in the middle of the room, holds up a megaphone and starts loudly broadcasting every little thing he or she didn’t like about the one time they ate there. The other customers would probably ignore that person and dismiss their opinions as the rants of a lunatic.

But such is life in the modern age that for anyone who needs to share their grievances, whether real or perceived, technology has given them a virtual megaphone to do so in the form of online reviews. When potential customers read online reviews, it can be difficult to discern between real issues and bloviated bluster, and unfortunately, those online reviews can have a big impact on your bottom line.

Comments on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp and a myriad of other sites can be the first thing a potential new customer sees about your business. And no matter how many positive reviews you’ve garnered, a couple of bad ones can skew your ratings and how you’re perceived by potential new customers.

It’s important to stay on top of online reviews. Word of mouth is the most effective advertising campaign there is, and if it’s negative, it can be tough to recover. Consider these points when dealing with online reviews:

Is there a legitimate complaint?

Many business owners have horror stories about unruly customers who threaten them with bad reviews unless they provide their goods or services for free or at a discount. That’s a separate issue we’ll get into a bit later.

But what about the people who have a legitimate complaint? Try as you might, nobody’s perfect, and it could be someone caught you or a staff member on a day when things just weren’t going right. If you remember the incident in question, or feel like it’s a legitimate complaint, there’s only one thing to do: own it.

If you or an employee messed up, you need to acknowledge a mistake, and make clear, specific points about what you’ll do to remedy the problem. Not only does it hopefully assuage a prior customer, potential new customers will see that even if a mistake was made, you take it seriously and care about their experience at your business.

Use it as a learning tool

Along those same lines, if a customer or number of customers have complaints about a similar issue, you can use those as a learning tool for yourself and your staff.

Maybe there’s a way you can improve your company’s efficiency, or communication, or some other aspect of your business. As difficult as it is to see a negative review, it could be just what you need to look at an aspect of your business in a different light.

Reward staff

On the flip side, maybe instead of a negative review, someone had a tremendous experience and felt compelled to write about it. Maybe an employee went above and beyond to help a customer, who in turn raved about them on Yelp.

If an employee is singled out as having had a positive influence on a customer’s experience, make sure you recognize them for it, either in private or in front of the whole staff. That kind of recognition can have a huge boost on employee morale, and give them a sense of their value to the company. If there’s a victory, celebrate it.

What if the criticism isn’t fair?

“If you don’t give me X, then I’ll post a bad review on Yelp”.

Many business owners have stories about a customer looking for free or reduced prices, and threatening to leave a negative review online should their demands not be met. Or, they entered with a fundamental misunderstanding of what the business is, and as a result aren’t happy.

So when they speak out, what do you do? Well, there’s always the high road, and that’s usually the best bet (be it in business or in life). Maybe you go passive-aggressive. Or, in some cases, business owners will fire back. If that's the route you go, you'll join some business owners who are  blunt but professional, or, well, respond in a way you have to read for yourself to believe. 

It can be a risky maneuver - you need to have established a loyal following of people that know what you’re about and will trust that you’re in the right in these situations. But as long as you clearly articulate why the person was wrong in their review, you might be able to pull it off.

But before it gets to that point, contact Flowerpot to find out how we can assist in not just growing your company’s online profile, but maintaining your reputation there as well.

About Abigail Diskin, Content Manager

With a B.A. in Journalism and a strong background in both communications and creative writing, Abby is the lead writer at Flowerpot. Her passion for words comes through wholeheartedly, as she researches and crafts high-quality content for client websites, blogs, and email campaigns across a variety of industries. In her spare time, you can find her getting her hiking boots muddy in the Columbia River Gorge, blues dancing at the Bossanova Ballroom, or taming imaginary dragons with her niece and nephew.

About Arthur Lapies, Co-Founder

With over 15 years of experience in behavioral science and consumer marketing, Arthur has applied his education and skills to technology, sales operations and project management teams in multiple Fortune 100 organizations. His ability to tap into the consumer mindset and translate behavior into meaningful marketing actions for business owners makes him a key asset to Flowerpot clients. As Flowerpot’s Data Scientist, Arthur leads all aspects of technology, development and analytics. A Pacific Northwest native, Arthur now enjoys the company of the Bay Area’s Karl the Fog and arduous SF city hill climbs with his Great Dane.

About Laura Bakken, CEO & Co-Founder

With over 20 years of enterprise-level leadership in the high-tech industry, Laura’s knowledge of business optimization, sales excellence, change management and marketing savvy greatly benefits small and mid-size business owners navigating their path to success. As Flowerpot’s Chief Marketing Strategist, Laura leads all aspects of client consulting, content strategy and business development. Outside of the office, Laura enjoys gardening with her husband and their chocolate lab, menu hopping through Portland’s foodie scene, and traveling to sunny locales with friends to get a break from the rainy days of the Pacific Northwest.

Tags: Customers / Strategy / Messaging / featured



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