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Online Reputation Management for Retailers

How to use your best reviews to get more business and how to bounce back from not-so-great ones.Website review quote citate blank template. Website review vectoYou know that good customer reviews can drive traffic to your store. But what happens when you look at your Yelp or Google Plus page and find that not all of your reviews are positive? How do you manage your online reputation then?

The process may seem daunting, but, the  good news is that once you’ve started online reputation management on review sites, maintaining it will just take a couple minutes a week. Read on to find out how to take back your online reputation!

Start at the Beginning
There are several steps you can take to improve reviews. First, start by making a business account for your company on the various review sites. This will allow you to respond to the reviews as your company (much more professional then responding as a person) and will also give you access to update images and store information (hours, website, etc.) on the page.

Next you’ll want to read through recent reviews. You may find some amazing reviews and possibly some you don’t like. Here’s how to respond.

How to Respond to Positive Reviews
On your best positive reviews, a simple public response is all you need. No need to respond to every review.

  1. Public Response: Reply to positive reviews with a short note thanking the reviewer. Mention something specific from their review. Example: “Thanks for the great review, Katy. We’re so glad you like the store and the wreath you got. We’re always getting in new floral and hope to see you back in the coming months.”
  2. Private Response: Not needed.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews
On negative reviews, you’ll want two responses. First, a public response addressing the concern. Second, a private response (Yelp offers the option to email the user privately) to follow up.

  1. Public Response: Respond to the shopper’s concern with an honest, thoughtful response that does not blame them or make a lot of excuses. Keep in mind that any potential customer can see your response. Example response to a person who claims to have been ignored in the store: “Cindy, we’re so sorry we were not able to provide you with the best customer service when you were in our store last week. The whole reason we are in business is to help people find great gifts and if we didn’t do that for you, we missed the mark. Please stop back in anytime and mention this review so that we can work with you to make it better!”
  2. Private Response: Now you’ll want to shoot Cindy a private message to apologize again and elaborate on your public message if needed (i.e. maybe she came in when someone was training and that is why her experience was not the best). A private response is a place you can share the full story – without making the person feel like it was their fault – and again invite them to stop into the store to make it right. If there is ongoing discourse, aim to speak with the person on the phone instead of leaving the conversation to email (and potential miscommunication).

Make Reviews a Routine
Once you’ve made your business account and responded to the recent reviews your ongoing online reputation management shouldn’t take more than a few minutes a week. What you want to do is set your routine. We suggest you get the Yelp and Google Plus apps on your phone. In the mornings over coffee, or in line at the bank, take a minute to check the sites for new reviews. If there are any amazing reviews, or any bad ones, email the link to yourself to follow up with that day.

We highly recommend you DO NOT follow-up from your phone. Better to reply from your computer and make full use of spellcheck. This also gives you time to craft a really great response if it’s a difficult situation.

Are you using online reputation management as part of your business practice? How has responding to reviews impacted your store? Share your experience in the com

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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