Manage Your Own Reviews

What Is Review Management?

What can you do to “manage” reviews, since they are written independently by your customers, out of your control?

You can influence the review process at every stage!  For example:

  1. Encourage customers to write reviews.  Even better, encourage happy customers to write reviews.
  2. When reviews are written, respond to them promptly.  This provides evidence that you care what customers think.
  3. Track your cumulative reviews so that you know whether your average review score is going up or town.
  4. Make sure others see your reviews by displaying all your reviews, from all review sites, on your own Web site.

If you’d like to do your own review management, the discussion here tells you just how to go about it.  If you decide that you’d like some help to reduce the amount of effort required, then you’ll be interested in Dave’s Certified Reviews, a new review management service created for small businesses, so that you can manage your review campaign and do it well in just a few minutes per day.  You can read more about DCR here.

Encourage Reviews

Depending on how your business works, you might provide a tablet computer for review-writing in your waiting room or a place where customers waiting to check out will see it.  The tablet could allow customers to enter a review directly to a review site, or it could allow them to enter an email address and be contacted later to complete a review.

These methods will get you reviews from customers who are happy and some who are unhappy.  In fact, since unhappy customers are more likely to write reviews than happy customers, you may get more unfavorable reviews than you’d like.  A better approach would be to ask customers who indicate that they are happy with your business to write reviews.

You should find review sites and make sure your business is listed correctly on them.  While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to also be sure that local directories show your business correctly, so that anyone looking for you gets a correct address, URL and phone number.

Alternatively, if you’d like to use a comprehensive platform for encouraging your customers to give you reviews, that gets feedback for you from the unhappy customers and asks the happy ones to write reviews on the best sites for you, then check out Dave’s Certified Reviews, described on the next page.

Correct Review Site Listings

When a prospect decides to contact you based on your reviews, you want to make sure that they can!  It’s important that review sites are correct with regard to your NAP–that is, your name address and phone number.  While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to fix your listing in common local directories as well.  There are about 40 of them of some importance.

They can be fixed by establishing an account on each one, claiming your listing, and fixing it.  Or you can let DCR take over this annoying task.

Respond to Reviews

Responding to reviews is one of the most important aspects of review management, especially for unfavorable reviews.  It’s a way to turn an unfavorable review into a favorable review–some times– but even if the unfavorable review it’s changed, it still demonstrates to all readers of the review that you care what your customers think.  For favorable reviews, a few thank yous now and then will serve to show that you’re paying attention.

It’s especially important to respond quickly to an unfavorable review.  If a customer hears back quickly from such a review, that’s a signal to them that you take their complaint seriously, and they are much more likely to respond favorably.

You’ll need to find new reviews in order to respond to them.  Googling a handful of top review sites for your area of business will do a reasonable job of this, although you won’t find every review.  You can set aside time each day to search each of the half-dozen review sites, or you can do a single Google search for reviews about your business and hope for the best.

DCR provides you immediate notification of every review when you receive it, so that you’ll be able to respond right away.

Track Reviews

A useful measure of how you’re doing with reviews is your average score on review sites.  Tracking your average number of stars for reviews will tell you if you’re improving your average review score.  As you noticed from the discussion of average scores, the higher your average score the more business you’ll get from people who are reading reviews.  A review with 4 stars is a lot more effective at bringing business than a review with three stars.

It’s not a bad idea to track the average review score for each review site, because a single reader of reviews may well see your reviews on only one site.  So if you’re not doing well on one review site, then that’s a site to focus on, where you need more favorable reviews.

DCR provides you a monthly report that shows your average review score overall, and plots it on a graph to make trends very obvious.  The report also shows you your average review score on every review site where you have a review, to allow you to ensure that a favorable picture is being painted on every review site, since a given reader is likely to read only one or two review sites.

Display Your Reviews

Because your prospective customers may see your reviews on only one or two review sites, it’s a good idea to display all of your reviews on your own site.  You may choose to show only the positive reviews, or, if you have a high score, show them all.  The occasional bad review improves the credibility of your reviews, at least for the more experienced review reader.

You can display reviews on your site by having your Webmaster copy your new reviews from the most popular review sites once a month or so, to keep the display current.

DCR provides you a live feed of reviews from all important review sites.  If you like, you can filter those reviews so that unfavorable reviews don’t appear.  With one simple paste operation, done one time by your Webmaster, your site will have an up-to-date live display of your latest reviews, all the time.

Next:  The Easy Way to Manage Your Reviews–Dave’s Certified Reviews