January 3, 2011 by Sarah Legg
Happy 2011! It just so happens that 11 is my lucky number, so here’s to hoping that this will be a lucky year!
The year in reviews. And no, that’s not a typo, nor is this post going to be about what happened in 2010. 2011 is going to be the year in online reviews and it’s time to recognize how important they can be to your business.
A week ago this morning my car wouldn’t start. I turned the key, heard the familiar roar of the engine, and then…nothing. I tried again, this time pressing my foot to the gas for a few seconds hearing that all-too-familiar and taken-advantage-of roar of the engine and as I removed my foot from the accelerator…nothing.
I found a ride to work and immediately did a Google search to find a mechanic near me- “Auto Mechanics 64111“. A few results came up and the first thing I looked for was information that looked correct (i.e. a business had claimed their listing in Google Places and added correct information) and which mechanics had the best ratings. I scrolled through the reviews and decided on a mechanic that had about 3 1/2 to 4 stars (which was high for the industry). The majority of the commenters said the mechanic was honest and did good work. The only gripe from reviewers was poor customer service. I can get past the poor customer service, I just don’t want to pay for something that I don’t need done to my car since I tend to be a little car-dumb.
I went to the mechanic with the 3.75 stars and the reviews were spot-on. The customer service was definitely lacking but my mechanic was honest and didn’t charge me for anything because my engine was flooded with too much fuel and started right up for them. I ended up paying them $35.00 anyways to inspect my car to make sure there wasn’t anything nasty hiding under the hood and went on my merry way. As I handed the mechanic my credit card, I told her that I found her through positive online reviews and her response was “we try.”
Moral of the story: Your online presence is important!
It is important to make sure your information is correct on search engines and other local search tools so your audience can find you. It is important to monitor your online presence, which can be from your customers or from within your organization. Don’t be afraid of a poor review! Use it as a tool to improve your business and respond to your customers. Too many businesses are scared of a bad review and think that if they aren’t online, poor reviews will go away. This isn’t the “Mad Men” era where your company will tell the customer what to think. As a society, we want transparency. We want to know what our government is doing. We want to know who is behind our everyday interactions with organizations. And we’re definitely not afraid to voice our opinions! You’ve heard it a million times now: The conversation is happening whether or not you’re involved.
Let this be your New Year’s Resolution as a business owner or marketer: I will be involved with my organization’s online presence ensuring accuracy and a two-way conversational street.