Don't be scared of online customer reviews
Online reviews by customers can be a valuable tool
I recently spoke for a medical diagnostics company that wanted to train their front line employees in specific customer service practices that could enhance the overall experience for their patients. We narrowed it down to communication, dealing with difficult customers, language barriers and coping mechanisms in stressful situations – all parts of customer service I teach on a regular basis.
They do everything from x-rays to cortisone shots to mammograms and a range of other tests as well. They have offices all over Alberta, in Calgary, Okotoks, Edmonton and Sherwood Park – 16 locations total. As a lead-in to their training session, I was asked to create a PowerPoint of online reviews for each location and play it for their team members just before I started my session.
It was very interesting to see the online reviews. Almost all the branches had some very positive reviews from their patients. Almost all of the branches had some negative reviews from their patients. The timeline on these was from a few weeks prior to my session and all the way back to three years ago.
Members were glued to the PowerPoint presentation as they waited for their branch to come up. I strategically listed a few good ones, a few poor ones and then another good one. They would smile and cheer when they saw the good ones and remain silent with mouths open with the poor ones. It showed me that these employees really did care about what was happening in their clinics.
What online reviews do is create a quick way for possible customers to decide if they want to do business with you. A customer of mine who builds websites says “Your online presence is everything these days. You need an effective website, accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and a plethora of other marketing strategies to stay current. Google, Yelp, TrustPilot and many other online review companies are here to stay and they can either help you or hurt you.”
I was speaking to another customer the other day who is a fairly new lawyer. She just got a new customer and when she asked why they chose her, the response was simple: “I did a quick Google review and you had a five-star rating and some very positive reviews from past clients. That helped me make my decision. Your location also played a part in it.”
We all know how important location is but I wonder how many businesses are losing out on business from other businesses and people close to their location because their reviews are not where they need to be.
Fear of negative reviews keeps a lot of companies from offering an online review option. But if you are suffering from poor reviews, it should be a good indicator that you need to do some sort of training to help your employees bring their level of customer service to more than just an acceptable level. It should be brought up to an exceptional level! This is the easiest way to turn those reviews around.
The other point with reviews that is often overlooked by the companies that receive them is to actually respond to them. I was impressed with the diagnostics company I trained as they had someone reply to every review, whether it was good or bad. They offered a phone number and direct email so that the person could reach them directly to discuss it further so that they could improve their customer service practices.
It’s never a nice thing to receive a poor review but if we use the feedback wisely it can be an incredible learning tool to turn our businesses around. It’s also a huge part of how people search out businesses to deal with. So if you are not on the online marketing train, I strongly suggest you start today – it could be the difference between surviving and thriving in your business!