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Behind the scenes of commentary host and Yelp’s small business expert Emily Washcovick shares an episode of this week’s podcast.
The prospect of online reviews can be tricky to navigate, but it’s worth taking advantage of their potential. Yelp’s small business expert and host behind the Reviews Podcast, Emily Washcovick, revisits her interviews with several business owners from past podcasts and gathers their unique approach to online reviews — positive and negative — and how they can turn those reviews into a business advantage. Let’s take a look at their review response manual.
Use positive reviews as positive reinforcement
Positive reviews are a great way to reinforce what you’re doing, but you can go a step further. Take them offline to motivate yourself and your team, and use them to show your appreciation for your clients while making a good impression on future clients.
Robert Mayer, CALA
positive [reviews] I do pay attention. I think a lot of car owners just take it and go, ‘OK, great’ and move on. I try not to. I took it to the staff and I said, ‘Hey, look! Some people say you’re great because it makes them feel good. Then they try to do better.
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We’ve been putting together a little book that has received rave reviews — both as “Hey client, this is a cool book to read while you’re waiting” and as, “Hey Korri, you Reading this on a bad day.’ [Positive reviews] Makes me very happy because I know most people don’t comment. But it means these people have such great experiences that they feel compelled to tell strangers how cool we are. This makes me happy.
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If someone takes the time to write a review for you, the least you can do is acknowledge them. You can at least say “thank you”. I always enjoy talking to them about their experiences and how grateful we are to them. If the client starts over, they’ll see me respond. If other people are looking for our business then they will see how we respond too.
It all depends on how people will treat your business and view your business. If you just let things sit there without responding, [as a customer,] I’m more likely to go to a business that recognizes me and says “thank you for taking the time to write a review”. Because no one has to. For them, doing so means a lot.
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Turn negative reviews into positive results
Negative reviews don’t feel great right now – but how you deal with (and implement) negative reviews can help you improve customer service, uncover new business opportunities, and strengthen your reputation.
If you have something to say, say it right away. If not, take a deep breath. I will respond to all negative reviews personally and will not respond immediately. I let it sit for a day or two. Second, I’ll use Word to write the response on a document that’s unlikely to be published accidentally. I will read. I’ll reread it and then maybe edit it. Finally, I’ll post it.
If we’re lucky, we can track the person down to a specific order, and before I contact Yelp, I’ll send them a private email and address their disappointment. We hope to make up for it. You know, usually, a negative review is not bad if you follow up on a negative review online and give a solution and show you how to fix it.
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We make sure we understand because, in my opinion, if there’s a negative review, it’s a good teaching moment, whatever it is. Even if we didn’t do anything wrong, it was still a great teaching moment. So we did solve the problem. We tried to respond to every comment saying, ‘Thank you. This is important.
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I got a 1 star review once. This is the funniest thing ever. He was pissed we only booked. That was during a pandemic. I don’t have any employees. This is actually me and my husband. So I can only pre-order and can’t afford to hire someone. It says everywhere that we only book online.
I responded to the comment and told him that I don’t think it’s fair for him to hold us to the standards he created instead of the standards we once set as a business model. We made it clear from day one that we were only pre-ordering. This has always been our service model, and we never actually become helpless.our only reason [started to offer] Walked because of this 1 star review.
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[Reviewers] Because people want to listen. I would listen to them and I would say, ‘I’m taking action on this. I am going to my company. I want to build a better company. Every time I thank them: ‘Thank you for the one star review. This is how I grew up. If I hadn’t brought these errors to my attention, I would never have known they were happening. You are my layer of responsibility for building a better business.
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Listen to the episode below to hear directly from these businesses and more, and subscribe behind the censorship More information from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.
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