The Ultimate Guide to Review Monitoring
Director of Marketing
25 September 2019
Online customer reviews are often the first thing potential customers see about your company. Online reviews can put you on a sound footing with new or potential customers before they even meet you, but they can also work against you and stop customers from ever coming in or even contacting you.
Loyal customers are priceless, and they bring value to your company when they write quality reviews. Online review management helps you keep the customers you have while helping you bring in new ones. It is important to not only know how to get reviews from customers, but how to monitor and grow those reviews.
In this comprehensive guide to review monitoring, we will be highlighting the most important aspects of reviews to help you maintain a solid and helpful online review portfolio.
How to Get New Reviews
Getting quality, meaningful, and honest reviews is priceless for any company. Good reviews will help bring in new customers, and are great to have. Even bad reviews can be useful and give you a good idea of what you could do to make your company better, as well as a chance for you to show exceptional customer service online.
Here are a few different ways you can get meaningful reviews:
One way a company can work on obtaining reviews is through individual conversations with customers and reminders about leaving a review. While one on one customer outreach is a great way to cultivate customer reviews, this can take a lot of personal time, and might not always yield results.
A tricky aspect of trying to obtain reviews through outreach is that certain review platforms do not accept solicited or prompted reviews. If the platform gets the hint or inclination that a customer was told or asked to give a review, the platform will not include it as part of your company’s profile, nor let the score they gave you act as part of the total. The platform may even diminish your overall score for soliciting reviews from customers.
Organic reviews happen when your customers are naturally inclined to write a review for you. Either your company provided them with amazing service, or they were disappointed with their experience. These customer reviews require no additional effort on your part and are acquired naturally.
The difficult part about organic reviews is that they are generally from customers that are either extremely dissatisfied or over-the-top satisfied with your work. This will make your reviews scattered toward the edges of the scale and show mainly biased reviews. While some reviews are better than no reviews, it is ideal to get a sample of all of your customers in your reviews, instead of just those who had either a great or a poor experience.
One thing which can help you get more reviews is a platform that can help automate generating reviews. These programs are designed to reach out to your customers and politely nudge them to leave a quick review of your business.
Sometimes this nudging can be as simple as taking a minute to give you a 1-5 star ranking. It can also be expanded on depending on what aspects of your business you would like your customers to comment on so they can leave a more detailed review.
The best part about using a platform like this is that it is automated and gives you more contact with your customers with less time investment. This also gives you direct contact with your customers so that if a customer is upset about a service or product they purchased from you, you are able to deal with them directly.
How to Respond to Good & Bad Reviews
One of the most important aspects of online review monitoring is responding to reviews. If you’re trying to reach out to your customers and ask them for reviews in face to face interactions, through quality service, and even in emails and digital outreach to them, you will get reviews. An important part of these reviews is not only receiving them, but responding to them, whether they be positive or negative.
Positive reviews are often overlooked when businesses are responding to reviews. While it is tempting to focus only on the negatives, and defend yourself from them, positive reviews also need attention.
Responding to positive reviews can help your company look authentic, grateful, and in touch with your customers. Thanking a customer for their review acknowledges the time and effort they put into writing the review, and shows your customers you’re aware of them and appreciate their business.
Negative reviews are going to happen. Even the best companies with the best customer support teams are going to get the occasional negative review.
When you respond to a customer’s negative review the most important thing you need to remember is to not escalate the situation. Even if you think they are overreacting, are asking too much from you or your employees, or are being too critical, you must keep a level head.
Negative reviews give you a chance to take the high road, and be understanding and professional with your customers. This is a great way to counterbalance a bad review. Potential customers are able to see the dissatisfied customer, but are more importantly able to see that you care for your customers and are respectful of everyone.
How to Deal With Fake Reviews
Knowing what to look for in a fake review is a major part of dealing with them. There are a few things that can help you when determining if a review is fake or not.
- Check the customer’s name versus your customer records. If you have an accurate list of all your customers and cannot find a record of a reviewer having bought from you or used your service, it might be a fake review. This is not always accurate as they might be using a spouse or family member’s account to review your business, or might be using a screen name.
- Check the customer’s history of reviews. If they have a number of reviews similar to yours for other companies, they might be abusing the system. Sometimes competitors will try to fill their competitors’ profiles with fake reviews in hopes of lowering the average score of their competitors.
- Check to see if there is any incorrect information in their review. Some companies have similar names and they may have confused your business with another and have mistakenly given you a bad review that belonged somewhere else. If the review mentions services or products that don’t come from you, or even false information about your business, there’s a chance you’ve been mistaken for another brand or service.
If a customer leaves no notes or further details to a bad review, it might be a fake review. This is not a constant as some people will leave reviews in only stars and not feel it necessary or helpful to include any details. Just because you got a one-star review with no comments does not always mean it is a fake review.
Once you get a fake review, it becomes a battle to try to recover from the potential damage it dealt to your business. The first step you should take when dealing with a fake review is to flag it for review.
For some platforms a single flag will be enough to call the fake review into question and have it removed, while other platforms may need to have a much stronger response from multiple individuals or accounts to help remove the review.
For some review platforms, you will be able to directly remove fake reviews from your company’s page. If you have this power, use it. However, be cautious when using it, because taking down fake reviews is different from taking down bad reviews. While it might be tempting to remove that one disgruntled customer who gave you a one-star review, you should never remove a review that is from a real customer.
The hardest fake reviews to flag or remove are those with no comments left in them. With no details or information built into the review, it’s difficult to show the review is fake. For all reviews, and even fake reviews, one great way of dealing with the problem is to respond to it.
If the review is indeed fake, you won’t be able to help resolve the problem for the person, but your response can make it clear to other customers that you are aware of the review, that you take the review seriously, and that you are constantly trying to improve your company.
Remember – If you cannot respond calmly and professionally, take time to gather your thoughts and try again. Make sure you read through your response, or even ask others for feedback on your tone in the response. An angry, unprofessional response may suggest an angry, unprofessional company.
Online Review Management Platforms
There is a wide variety of review platforms for customers to choose from. Review sites may be specific to an industry, or even a country. It is important to keep in mind that as customers leave reviews, each site follows its own set of rules when it comes to review monitoring. Here are some of the biggest platforms where people can leave reviews about your company, and what you need to know about them:
Google is the first place most people go when they need something on the internet, which makes review monitoring on their platform extremely important. Being able to have good, consistent, meaningful reviews on Google can make your company stick out from the field.
Customers are able to give a quick star review and leave comments. When other people read the reviews, they’re able to see not only the review but some basic information about the person who left the review and their history of reviews.
It is no surprise that Google is the most accessed source for reviews. If you’re not familiar with their business profile management platform, it can be difficult to use for businesses. If the idea of managing the profile yourself is intimidating or confusing, you can enlist the help of a professional online review management service.
With over 2.41 billion active users, Facebook is a great starting point for your company to have influence and get reviews. Reviews on Facebook include a star rating, and the comment section. A great part about Facebook reviews is that they are linked directly to customers’ names and information, so you can verify who a reviewer is. Keep in mind, individuals can create a fake profile.
Customers are able to leave reviews blank, which can make reviews difficult to deal with or respond to. If you respond to reviews or like them, you will be able to raise their status in the rankings. Not responding or liking can cause blank reviews to fall lower in the rankings you will receive.
A strong point for business owners on Facebook is that you can have direct relationships with customers who leave reviews. You can not only respond to the reviews directly, but you are able to set up and optimize your Facebook page so that frequently sought information is visible, like business hours.
Yelp provides a strong defense against fake reviews as part of its internal review system. One of the biggest parts of this defense is that Yelp will also remove any solicited reviews. They believe you shouldn’t ask customers to leave a review, and will punish companies who do.
Yelp also groups reviews as ‘recommended’ and ‘not recommended’. The majority of its reviews are recommended, but reviews that become lengthy rants or are unjust reviews of a company are shown as not recommended because they don’t accurately depict the average customer’s experience. A review that is not recommended will still show up on a business’s page, but does not factor into their overall rating.
If you would like to have more direct contact with reviews on Yelp, it does provide you the option to become affiliated with Yelp. This will allow you to more easily respond to customer reviews, either individually with the customer or in public on your page.
Glassdoor lets your employees leave reviews about working for your company. Seeing how a company treats its employees can drive growth from more job applications, and even from customers wanting to do business with you depending on your interaction with your employees.
Glassdoor also protects from fake reviews with a strict policy and guidelines of what they will accept from reviews. They even have a system in place which allows you to flag a comment or evaluate a review to get it removed. If you use incentives or rewards for reviews, Glassdoor will likely remove them as they do not support reviews that have been solicited or paid for.
Indeed is not just a place for potential employees to find jobs, but is also a place for you to manage your reviews. Employees and customers are able to give reviews of companies on Indeed which can affect the view of your company. Much like other companies it has the option to report a post if it is seen as a fake report.
Monitoring your reviews and feedback for your business is an important part of your online presence. Reviews simplify the process of collecting feedback, improving your online reputation, and winning back customers. With all of the different websites that can be used for customer reviews, it can be helpful to have a program that can unify everything in one place. FreshLime’s online review management provides a way for you to manage your review monitoring campaign.
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