This is the first of many posts from our Digital Content Manager, Kelsey Archibald. She’s always diligently creating and managing content for several of our clients, with Weinkeller being one of her favourites.
Some of our clients operate in the Niagara Falls Tourism and destination marketing space. Businesses who are involved in tourism marketing rely on online reviews from prominent tourist review websites like Trip Advisor, Yelp, the new Foursquare and it’s new sister app, Swarm.
In this post, Kelsey discusses how to monitor your online reviews and why it’s so crucial to your business.
Minding Your Customer’s Manners – How to Monitor Online Reviews
In the digital age, online reviews have taken the place of the word-of-mouth referrals. This means businesses need to learn how to monitor online reviews.
I honestly (and quite sadly) trust tips from strangers on four-square over my friends and family.
Why do we turn to the web for reviews?
For one, online reviews are convenient (it’s quicker to type in a google search for let’s say, a good place to eat in Niagara Falls, rather than calling up a friend to ask where they ate the last time they visited).
Plus, there is way more information online, so you’re obviously more likely to find exactly what you’re looking for.
These days, people rely on online reviews for practically everything, which is why reviews could make or break your business. Since reviews are user-generated, these can go both ways depending on customer experience.
So what can you do to ensure positive reviews for your business? Well, you could try to create the best customer experience possible. Or, like one New York hotel does, you could fine your guests for every bad review they write.
Yes, that’s correct, according to Time, the Union Street Guest House in New York fines couples who book weddings at the venue a whopping $500 for every bad review posted online by their guests.
Under the hotel’s policy is this message:
“If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event. If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review.”
While the hotel states that they would refund the charges once the negative review is removed, this is a totally excessive and ridiculous way to monitor what’s being said about your business.
So, if you don’t want to go to the extreme of charging your customers $500 bucks every time they write a bad review (I wouldn’t recommend this as it would more than likely hurt your business as opposed to helping it) there are other ways to monitor and improve your online reviews.
When monitoring, you need to be proactive by constantly checking for new reviews so you are able to respond to these in a timely manner.
You also need to remember that no matter how great you build your customer’s experience to be, there is always likely going to be some sort of bad review.
These negative reviews can be unfair, inappropriate, and hurtful. When dealing with these negative reviews, first and foremost you must remain calm and keep your reply in a professional and polite tone.
Further, rather than ignoring the issue, address it and offer to make it right through the offering of refunds, discounts, etc.
In order to encourage more good reviews, make reviews available for explicit viewing on your website and Facebook page and provide a link to these reviews anywhere you have an online presence.
Not only will potential customers read these reviews (which will potentially lead to conversions) but they will be more likely to add their positive feedback, creating a better buzz about your business on the web.
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