Sandro goes over the basics of small business reputation. He discusses claiming your profiles on various sites, responding to positive & negative reviews & how to respond.

Episode 0323


Reputation Management Basics – 2018


Liz: [00:00:06] Hello and welcome back to Liz & Sandro’s Marketing Podcast where we give you insight about social media, websites, SEO and more. Today Sandro has an overview of reputation management which we have talked about in the past. On the podcast but for a lot of our new listeners we thought this episode would be very helpful for you.


Check the Lug Nuts


Sandro: [00:00:22] Thanks Liz. Recently I took my mom’s car to the dealership for an oil change and a tire rotation. And also because there was a recall on her newish Jeep. And as I was waiting, got to know some the other people in the lobby and one of them left. His car was done. And I was getting a bad vibe from the dealership to begin with but once he left he came back, this gentleman this customer in the lobby. Ten minutes later and he looked frazzled and the rest of us were like what happened. And he said, “I was driving and the wheel fell off at the corner.”.

Liz: [00:00:56] What?!

Sandro: [00:00:57] Yeah, they forgot to put the lug nuts, the lug nuts were still sitting in the shop. So the wheel was just on there with zero lug nuts. And it fell off and he almost got into an accident and.

Liz: [00:01:06] So he probably got, what, like a mile away from, not even?


Everyone Gets Bad Reviews


Sandro: [00:01:09] Not even a mile. He said he heard noises and he thought it was just something in the back of his trunk. Anyways regardless it was crazy because people were saying, “don’t sign anything just you know take the pictures” and all that other stuff for his attorneys. After the dust settled I immediately looked up reviews for this dealership and saw they were pretty low. Now granted, I get it dealerships and auto mechanics are one of those things that so many people love to hate or hate to hate.

Liz: [00:01:38] Yeah it’s like insurance companies like if you look at the reviews you know it’s the people complaining.

Sandro: [00:01:43] So they skew low and most of the dealerships had like 3, 3 and a half stars out of five in general but this one, it had a one out of 5, after 80 reviews. And I should’ve checked that out beforehand. I told my mom never to go there again.


You Should Still Respond!


Sandro: [00:01:58] And so that got me thinking about reputation management because I noticed they were only responding to a couple of reviews here and there. A few them seemed pretty legit. So I wanted to share with you some of the basics of reputation management for your small business to help you handle this. Because it is pretty important. I know some business owners just say “forget everybody. I don’t care what they think. Everybody thinks we’re horrible.” Everybody just they try to ignore it.

Liz: [00:02:21] Or they don’t want to be bothered.

Sandro: [00:02:22] Right.

Liz: [00:02:23] Because they had that one irate customer who just left a terrible taste in their mouth. Sure.


Claim Your Profiles


Sandro: [00:02:31] The customer is not always right. It’s what you know and that’s true but you should come from the basis of maybe the customer, give them the benefit of the doubt. So let’s go over some basics. First of all: Reputation management includes sites like Yelp, Facebook, Google, YP.Com, Trip Advisor, the BBB, Zomato and so many other places that you can go to review and people can leave reviews. So the first step, claim your business on these sites. Facebook, everyone pretty much everyone has their own Facebook page and knows and sees reviews. Even though Facebook is currently changing things from reviews to recommendations.

Liz: [00:03:09] Oh, okay.

Sandro: [00:03:10] Yeah we’re seeing more.

Liz: [00:03:11] I actually hadn’t heard that.


Tackle a Few Sites: How to Choose Which Ones


Sandro: [00:03:12] This person recommends. This person does not recommend. Regardless they’re reviews and you should respond to them. So claim your locations on these sites.- And it can be overwhelming so you may just want to pick one or two of these sites. If you’re not sure which sites to claim you may want to Google your business and you’ll see in the Knowledge Panel the right hand column on your desktop in Google. They’ll list some of the review sites for you.

Sandro: [00:03:42] We were looking at helping a dry cleaner chain in the Midwest and whenever we Google their name all the only reviews that come up are Facebook’s. And it’s one out of five stars on Facebook. So clearly we want to tackle the Facebook reviews and get more of those and get better ones obviously. So that may be one place to start. Googling your business name and seeing what Google is showing in terms of reviews. Sometimes they show Zomato, sometimes they show Yelp, sometimes they show their own.


Suck It Up & Monitor Your Business’ Reputation


Liz: [00:04:05] Can I jump in with a comment?

Sandro: [00:04:08] Yeah. Please.

Liz: [00:04:08] I think it’s important to note that this is just part of doing business now. And yeah it sucks and it’s a pain at times and it’s certainly not fun when you do get a bad review. But this is the nature of doing business in 2018. I know in particular attorneys, they will get frustrated, you know I didn’t want an Avvo profile. Or I didn’t want this. I didn’t want that. Just get rid of it. I’m like well that’s not how this works. You know your best bet is to claim it and just keep an eye on it. Every month once a quarter or whatever it is and every industry, you know Sandro mentioned some restaurant specific ones. Every industry has them. Just run with it. Just claim them and put the little reminder on your calendar. It’s just part of doing business in 2018.

Sandro: [00:04:58] Many of them send you notifications. And I don’t think Yelp does. They do with, I’m sorry, they do with your app, their business app. But many of them do let you know when there’s a new review. So. So once you get a review you should respond. Generally respond to as many as you can. Both positive and negative. If it’s positive thank them and let them know you look forward to their next visit or you hope to see them back soon. If it’s negative and it’s legitimate or if there’s a possibility it’s legitimate, you should apologize, thank them for the feedback and take it off-line. Take it private. If it’s public. Sometimes they’ll message you privately. Which is great. That means they really care, I feel like.

Liz: [00:05:34] Yeah.


Offer To “Make It Right”


Sandro: [00:05:35] And let them know you want to learn more about their experience specifically what time they came in, when when this happened, what happened and who the person may have been. So you can kind of correct the situation. You can also say “we’d love to make this right.” I love that phrase because it’s general and it’s not promising anything specifically. It’s just saying you want to make this right. In case a guest goes overboard and it turns out they’re fake or they really want to like three free meals in exchange for something. They’re just badmouthing everybody you find out. So just say you’d like to try to make this right and take it off line and work with them to to follow through and make it right.

Liz: [00:06:11] And I found a lot of times in the restaurant space particularly, people would complain and we would reach out with some kind of message with that phrasing and they would disappear. Like they just wanted, they were pissed and wanted to jump online and kind of rant for 30 seconds and that was that.


Flag Illegitimate Reviews


Sandro: [00:06:28] And many of these sites have a flagging function. So if you think the review is like personal or libelous or generally definitely not for you then you can flag it. We had one client in a mall and it was not an Aunte Anne’s pretzel place. But for some reason they, on our review site they said the Aunte Anne’s was horrible even though we were not we’re not Aunte Anne’s. I don’t know why that is. And a different reviewer drove into the parking lot, felt scared because one of the lights were out and they left before coming into the business. So they left the 1 star review because the parking lot was scary. Even though it’s a public parking lot for many businesses. And not just ours.

Liz: [00:07:07] And maybe the light had just burned out and the property management company hadn’t got a chance to replace it yet.


Consider Using a Third Party to Write Response


Sandro: [00:07:13] Correct. Yeah. And Finally if you’re having a tough time writing the response you may want to have a third party do it. I know for our clients & in every small business you’re passionate about what you do. And you want to do the best job possible and you know you work hard. And sometimes these things really get under your skin. So maybe have a third party write a neutral, level response inviting some feedback, an apology and an offer to make it right. Or give it a couple of days before you respond.


4.2 More Trustworthy Than 5.0


Sandro: [00:07:42] And to be honest with you, study after study has shown that consumers trust a 4.2 out of 5, more so than a 5.0 out of five. Everyone has a bad day. We’re all human. People understand you’re going to have off days. And we’ve had clients in the past who have had people write to them “hey we’re going to come to you because we see even when you guys mess up you try to make it right. We’ve seen your response to negative reviews and we appreciate that.” And it’s great to be transparent and let people know yeah we’re human. Everyone understands that we have our off days but most of the time we deliver the best and offer the best that we can do and that you’re gonna find.

Liz: [00:08:18] Yeah, I agree. I mean whenever I’m looking for a product or service I seek out both the four and five star reviews and the one star reviews and I take all of them with a grain of salt. And I’m just kind of weighing “OK what seems to be the downside to this product or service.” You know a lot of times it’s just people ranting about nothing, about stupid stuff. But sometimes there are some legitimate legitimate concerns that I want to pay attention to. And most of the time the pros outweigh the cons and I move forward with the purchase so. . .

Sandro: [00:08:46] Make sure you got the lug nuts on.

Liz: [00:08:49] Please. Yes. All right. Well thank you for this great overview of reputation management. Get out there. Claim your listings respond to reviews. It may suck at times but in the long term it will be well worth it. So that wraps up today’s episode. Thank you for joining us. Don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app. You can find us on Google podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Send us your questions. We’d love to hear from you. See you next time.