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Evidence shows that 60% of consumers won’t patronise a local business without it having achieved at least a 4 star rating. More than a third of consumers state that star ratings are the primary differentiator when choosing between different local brands.
That means that if your local business has ratings below this threshold, you’re losing out on valuable revenue. The good news is that you can raise your star ratings and boost your reviews so you can achieve the positive online reputation necessary to bring customers back to your brand.
Defining Reputation For Your Local Business
Local businesses have both an online and offline reputation. Community members will talk about your business in the real world, while reviews and ratings in the virtual world define your online reputation. It’s important to know how your business ranks on Google, so look it up and check how many reviews there are, what they say, and most importantly, how many stars you have. If it’s under 4, you need to start taking steps to improve.
Why Do I Have A Low Star Count?
There are several reasons why you may have a poor online reputation. These include:
All of these can be fixed with some effort on your behalf. All you need to do is determine why your rating is low then get to work on repairing the damage.
Not Enough Reviews
You can fix this problem by launching a strategy to acquire more reviews so your business receives an ongoing stream of sentiment, preventing any single customer from having too much voice.
Neglecting To Respond To Reviews
This is something you can rectify quickly and easily. Simply make sure you respond to each and every review that is left for your business, whether positive or negative. Respond as quickly as you can to new reviews and go back to any you haven’t responded to over the past six months and respond now. Make sure you apologise for negative experiences in your response and try to rectify the problem.
Neglecting Your Business Listing
If some of your negative reviews are due to incorrect information on your business listing, you can fix that problem straight away. Manually audit the Google organic search results for your own business and audit every profile you find for mistakes. Claim them and carry out updates so everything is correct.
Poor Customer Service
Make sure that you address any complaints of poor customer service in reviews. Ensure each staff member has been fully trained and has received training in customer service skills as well as complaint resolution. Make sure, too, that you are showing a positive role model for the company’s values so your employees can follow your lead.
Poor Quality Products And Work
If the products you’re selling are causing dissatisfaction, it makes sense to look again at your suppliers and stepping up your quality control processes. If you have carried out poor work for a customer, you should contact that client directly to try to remedy the problem. Whether that involves redoing the work or refunding their money, you may be able to turn the situation around.
Review spam is a major problem, especially with Google reviews, but to have them taken down you’ll need to be able to prove that those reviews are demonstrably violating the Google guidelines. You can report reviews on your Merchant Experience interface and they may be taken down for you, but if the reviews are coming from one of your personal adversaries you may have to take legal advice in order to find the best way to resolve the problem.
Boosting Your Business Reputation
Having a low overall star rating for your local business isn’t just upsetting, it is also a significant obstacle when it comes to marketing and running a successful local business. The good news, though, is that you can take action yourself to address the root cause of the problem and, eventually, you should see improvements in your reputation.
The first step you need to take is to determine why your rating is so low. Once you have the answer to this question, you can then start to take steps to turn the situation around. Whatever the reason, as outlined above, you can implement actions that will, after a few weeks or months, start to show improvements in your star rating.
Whether you need to acquire more reviews, respond to the reviews your receive on a regular basis, improve your customer service or products, or deal with spam reviews, you’ll find that once you start implementing the changes suggested in this article, you’ll see those stars eventually increasing. It may be a lot of hard work on your behalf, but it will be well worth it once your reputation is back to a five star standard.
If your reputation is currently at three stars or less, your primary challenge is to implement the improvements as quickly as possible then acquire new positive reviews steadily over time to prevent future customers from being deterred from using your business when they see such a low rating. On the upside, though, few customers actually expect five star perfection. In fact, many consumers find it suspicious when all they see is flawless reviews, so you don’t need to worry unduly.
Your best course of action is to use those negative consumer reviews as a useful source of intelligence for your business, letting you know what you need to fix to improve customer satisfaction. Maintaining your business’s reputation is something that should always be ongoing, so make sure you get on top of your rating and then stay there.