AreXYouXManagingXYourXOnlineXReviewsOnline reviews, particularly for products that aren’t bought in store (or can’t be), are incredibly powerful. This is especially true for the businesses that provide these products. If you start to soak up bad reviews, people will notice, especially if there is competition nearby. However, sometimes you just can’t help a bad review – and sometimes you didn’t even know you had one. So how do you manage your reviews, and how do you stay on top of the good and the bad? Here are just a few ways you can make that happen.

Pay a Lot of Attention

This should go without saying, but it’s important that you pay a lot of attention to what people are saying. Google Alerts is a free program, and it’ll tell you when someone leaves a review for you on Google (Google and Yelp are the two most popular review sites). This means that no one has to stumble onto a bad review that was left unaddressed by a representative of your company, since the alert can remind you to reply promptly. As for Yelp, you can also set the system to alert you when a review is posted, and the site itself gives you an opportunity to review your reviews.

Reply, Reply, Reply

Even if you have a good review, don’t forget to leave a little personal note! Nothing is more meaningful to a potential customer than a response to a good review or a courteous, reasonable response to a bad one. Reply promptly to any review you can so that someone knows either that they’re appreciated, or that they can come back for a meal on you (or that you do care that they had something bad to say).

To take this a step further, it’s very important that you never respond unprofessionally to a review, no matter how upset the review makes you (or how untrue it is). Always remain professional, as that will matter more to potential clients than the bad review itself. If you need a minute, step away. Get angry. Then come back and respond later after you’ve had some venting time.

Ask for Reviews

While you can’t outwardly ask for a good or bad review from your customers, there are several ways to ask for reviews legally. For one, you can just ask that people leave reviews, good or bad, on your review websites. You can also hint that you’d like reviews by posting a “We’re on Yelp” sticker in your window, which are available for free to businesses on Yelp. Secondly, you can leave a survey request at the table or counter that you know they’ll be at before they leave.

These reviews, while they aren’t publicly shared, are great to post on your website in the “reviews and opinions” section on your website. Don’t have one? Time to go create one. If you remind people to leave reviews, you’ll get more good ones, which will help your cause tremendously.

Reviews are important for the success of your business, and with a little love, a lot of attention, and maybe a push in the right direction, you’ll see how essential it is to manage them each and every day.

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