In one word, there’s a reason my online consumer review sites should matter to any small business:
We just recently learned of the passing of the great Coach John Wooden. He is quoted as saying this about “reputation”:
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
This is at the core of who we are as individuals; your character is really more important than worrying what people think about you. However, in the world we live in, especially where consumers are researching businesses online before ever calling you up or trying you out, your online reputation is at least something to be concerned about. While you can’t control what everyone thinks about you, you need to be aware of what is being spewed out online (especially if it is negative).
WHAT IS AN ONLINE REVIEW SITE?
Some of the more popular sites are:
- City Search
- Insider Pages
- Google Places and Yahoo Local
- Merchant Circle
- Angie’s List
There are hundreds of these, especially when you factor in industry-specific review sites (Edmunds.com for automotive, UrbanSpoon.com for restaurants, etc.) Some of the sites, including Angie’s List above, are paid membership sites, so they are not as broadly viewed (although those who are loyal Angie’s List reviewers will often check that list for service professionals first!) Normal everyday consumers get to write pretty much whatever they want about their experience with your business. These sites are growing in popularity and it is part of our culture’s infatuation with our computers! We can get on a write a great review of a book we bought on Amazon.com, or trash a hotel for lousy customer service and bad accomodations. We feel empowered.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT:
You cannot influence everyone, but you would not likely want alot of negative reviews about your business for potential customers to see. The problem is, once they are out there, they are likely there to stay (unless you can prove some malicious intent). So for years, negative reviews can haunt you because that’s what online researchers are going to see first. If you are a local mechanic or a pediatric dentist, people are searching online all the time for businesses like yours. If you live in any large metro area, where people don’t know everyone, this is becoming the most popular way to find out about a business. See what others have written about you. That’s a scary place to be: in the hands of amateur reviewers.
If you are in the Colleyville/NRH area, join us on Tuesday for a presentation, “What To Do About Online Reviews?” Hosted by the Colleyville Chamber of Commerce at the DBU Hurst/Colleyville campus, we will discover:
- 5 Ways to Respond if You Get a Negative Review
- Making Online Reviews a Part of Your Referral System
- Develop a Strategy on Getting 5-Star Reviews from Your Customers
RSVP is necessary although it is FREE to attend – see the Chamber site for details!