Are Online Reviews Out Of Your Control?
Customers today are incredibly informed about products and solutions before they engage a salesperson for the first time. Some research shows that nearly half of the buying process is over before you — the seller — ever gets involved.
Potential buyers are not just using the Internet to do research on your products. They’re also validating their findings with online reviews.
A recent Nielsen study shows that 85 percent of consumers go online for information and reviews about local businesses. Another study shows consumers take these online reviews very seriously, with 70 percent of them saying they trust the sources.
Does this mean that online reviews are out of your control? The answer is yes and no. While you’re not able to change posted reviews, there are several steps sellers should take to better manage what people say about them.
- Be better at your job: The very best way to keep bad reviews and references from floating around online is to provide the very best products and services. In the age of social media, organizations and sales reps must work even harder to do a great job developing relationships and helping people solve their issues. No one is going to nail these tasks 100 percent of the time, but you want to get as close as possible to that number.
- When there ARE problems, respond: In the past you could slack off a bit when responding to petty issues. You didn’t need to be worried about the word getting out that you messed up a small order for a customer. But today, in every situation where something — even something small — has gone wrong, you have to address it.
- Keep your cool: Always think before you respond to hostile criticism. It’s often difficult to resist responding immediately to negative feedback, but take a breather first. Avoid online screaming matches with people, even if a reviewer is completely wrong or acting crazy. These are the kinds of situations that escalate and blow out of proportion. A good rule of thumb is to avoid typing anything online that you wouldn’t say face-to-face to someone. Be diplomatic and professional.
- Turn a bad reference into a good one: When people see that you’ve helped them fix a problem, and you dealt with it quickly and professionally, they often respond favorably to the speedy service. Even if an interaction begins with a problem, you have the power to help turn the situation around.
- Help customers talk about their good experiences: Be willing to have customers share their honest reviews on public channels such as Twitter. Consider including those reviews in your sales materials, too. Repeat customers are the best to approach for these because obviously you’re doing something right for them. Never pay for reviews!
The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): With the number of channels available to your customers, you have to accept that it’s not possible to manage everything people see or understand about your company. It’s important to realize that you don’t have the same control you had even a few years ago. Thanks to social media, everyone has a platform or a soapbox. With that said, people are a bit savvier about accepting one bad reference or review as a blanket case for the whole organization. Do your part to help your organization shine by putting your best foot forward using the above five tips.
Learn how to embrace social selling using the Tellwise experience.