It’s common practice these days for potential customers to use customer reviews of your business on websites or mobile apps to determine whether or not to visit. And who can blame them? People like to know what they are getting into–“know before you go,” as they say. The benefit of apps with location-based search functions, like TapHunter, is that you are easy for potential customers to find at just the right time—when they crave what you serve. And odds are high that after they find you, they’ll look you up to see what others are saying about you. Prepare yourself with the 4 Rs of online customer reviews:
Business owners today have an amazing array of tools available to help their businesses succeed, such as accounting software, stock ordering systems, e-newsletters, social media, and search-by-location apps. And with these Internet-age benefits come challenges to navigate, like reputation management. Your business’s reputation online is arguably more important these days than word-of-mouth marketing. Be proactive about your business’s reputation online: Know what people are saying about you, and where it exists on the web using a website like this one. Make it easy for your customers to find you, too, by including links on your website, Twitter page, and Facebook page to sites where customers have posted reviews of your business. And hire staff who will provide service that customers appreciate—don’t let one bad seed spoil the bunch.
The typical business receives positive and negative customer reviews. The trick is to be aware of what people are saying about your business, and to respond appropriately to both positive and negative feedback, on the review sites themselves if possible. Thank reviewers, both positive and negative, for coming to your business. Respond quickly and politely to negative reviews, in particular. Some reviews might not be negative, but include suggestions for improvement. Acknowledge these suggestions with gratitude. These steps go a long way toward making your current and potential customers feel valued and appreciated. Keep in mind, too, that a few less-than-stellar reviews may actually add validity to your business—nothing but 5-star reviews for a business can arouse suspicion.
If your business receives legitimate negative feedback, figure out how to resolve the issue. Bad customer service (or a trend of bad service by the same employee)? Resolve it—if the staff member deserves to be let go, do what you need to do and invite the reviewer back with an apology. Or if the customer’s experience was simply lackluster, apologize for an experience that didn’t meet expectations and welcome them to come back again. Perhaps a resolution involves inviting the customer back and offering a small discount. Whatever you do, engage with a reviewer who has had a negative experience at your business in a timely, polite way, and you will make your business look better by taking steps to resolve that experience.
4. Reach out
Your customers are highest priority for your business. Provide them with quality experiences and service, and they will keep coming back. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your customers and ask them to review their experience at your business. The more reviews you have that are average to positive, the more buried any negative reviews will be on Yelp, Google reviews, or a local directory. And make it clear that you sincerely appreciate the feedback so you can improve your customers’ experiences. It will go a long way to showing what kind of business owner you are—one who cares about the people you serve.
Engaging with your customers in person and online by responding, resolving, and reaching out to them will result in a positive business reputation online. You show that you are accountable to your customers and care about their experiences at your business. So when a TapHunter user or other customer finds your business online and checks out reviews, they will see that an authentic, quality experience awaits at a business that values them.
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