The importance of a good review
As we end January and businesses across the country really start churning along we've had alot of client's ask about whether they should be seeking Google or Facebook reviews. Every lay person seems to have a different opinion, and we've heard some businesses go so far as saying they don't want any sort of Google review profile because it opens them up to the risk of bad reviews. There is some logic to that, so in today's blog we weigh up the importance of reviews, and look at what a consumer should be turning their mind to when leaving a review.
Should my business have Google or Facebook reviews?
Here at 543 Design we are a huge fan of both the Google and Facebook review system. As a professional services business, people will tend to only leave a review if they are prompted (which tends to end up being a high review), or if they have a terrible experience (which we aim to never happen!). Our philosophy has always been that if we do a stellar job with every client then they are likely to only leave positive feedback. That feedback can be seen by future potential customers and is one of a myriad of factors that Google takes into account when establishing their search engine rankings. You'll notice that the majority of the top search rankings also tend to have a good review presence - and that is no coincidence.
The flipside of that is if you do end up getting a number of bad or indifferent reviews. For a services based company, even a 3 star rating is going to have a negative effect. That's unfortunately just a fact of life when it comes to review systems - you need to be prepared to cop the bad along with the good. Luckily, if you focus on performing a good job for every customer, you will have a huge range of clients and customers to call on for a good review. By following those positive customers up, you will be able to flood your listing with high reviews and keep your rating strong.
Unfortunately, there is always the possibility of an outlier in the mix. Someone who doesn't know your businesses, or leaves a frivolous or unfair review that brings your rating down. We've recently experienced this, and while Google does offer some remedies for removing a review, for the most part you won't be able to get rid of it. Should this happen to you; read the review, understand what the customer/client's issue is, and respond in a reasoned manner. Never over-react or get too deep into a 'he said, she said' that would aggravate the reviewer further, but try to leave a response that other potential customers can relate to. In the ideal world the reviewer would change their review - so contacting them directly in a positive light could even be worth a try. Should that fail, try to find three people who would leave you a positive review to drown out the negative one.
As a consumer, when should I leave a review?
Since owning a business we've become hugely more aware of how a review can impact your company and possibly even sales. That leads us to a much more circumspect approach to reviewing, and we'd absolutely love it if everyone asked themselves a few simple questions before leaving a rating:
A bit of context
It's important to read the above with a little bit of context about 543's experience of the Google review system. As a website design company it took us about 4 years to build up 26 positive (5 star) reviews from clients that used us for a full build and loved our work. We're now sitting at a 4.9 star rating after a one off sales enquiry phone call where the client left a review saying they might use us in the future, but didn't have an opinion on us yet (so left a 3 star review). A crushing way to lose a hard earned 5 star rating and a real lesson to us in the consequences involved in the reviews we leave for other companies!