As a customer, client and consumer, you personally can have a huge impact on a specific businesses success or lack of success. You get to tell the world what your opinion is about each transaction you participate in; your delight in value above and beyond your expectations, or your disappointment in sub-par service or quality.
Today, a business can have their reputation exposed to anyone who has access to the internet. And with smartphones now in the hands of more than 60% of Canadian cell phone users, not to mention the more than 85% of Canadians who have access in total, outing a business for failing to deliver is easily available to almost anyone.
So far, Canadian consumers have been far less likely to leave online reviews about their shopping or purchase experiences than their American neighbours, but that is changing. For an example, do Google searches for “car dealers Chicago” and “car dealers Toronto.” Almost 30% more reviews have been left for Chicago car dealers, but even six months ago it would have been 50% more.
Businesses pay attention to reviews. And they make changes. You can see the results from smart business owners when you dig a little deeper into their review history. Often a string of bad reviews slowly change to far more positive ones. So reviews count.
How can you help this progression from bad business to good? Leave reviews. But don’t be selective. Review companies like Google and Yelp have very sophisticated analysis built into their reporting. Yelp, as an example, will hide reviews if it suspects suspicious activity. If you have two or three favourite places to eat, and get excited about the prospect of helping these restaurants out, you might decide to sit down and crank out three glowing reviews and then leave your computer feeling good about the positive action you have taken. Yelp, on the other hand, sees three positive reviews being left, all in the restaurant category, and then no other activity. This is what it would consider suspicious activity. It might even indicate someone being paid to leave reviews.
In Yelp’s eyes, a far more natural pattern of behaviour would be to see a progression of reviews of different businesses, some good and some bad, occurring on a regular basis. This certainly makes sense. And this is the recommended activity. Make leaving reviews a part of your online life. Good behaviour can and should be rewarded and poor behaviour sanctioned or at least pointed out.
Surveys indicate that 72% of us pay attention to and trust online reviews. That is higher than the 56% who trust editorial comment from the media and approaches the 90% of us who trust recommendations from friends and family. You CAN have an impact after a purchase, by letting others know you trust or are wary of a business. You can reward good businesses by driving more customers their way, and you can encourage bad businesses to change by penalizing them.
Make your reviews factual; leave both good and bad reviews as required. In your review mention specifics, so people understand your appreciation or complaint. Specific factual reviews also give businesses a chance to improve. And don’t just review your favourites. Be democratic in your reviews, and make the world a better place.
Review Sites Online
Both Google and Yelp require you to have an account to leave a review. If you already use Gmail, then you have a Google account. It only takes a couple of minutes to open a Google account and I would encourage you to do so. Obviously Google pays some attention to reviews left on its own platform when delivering Google search results. To see a Google review, search for a company name on Google search. If they have some reviews, you will see them listed. Just click on “Write a review.”
If you don’t have a Google account, they will walk you through it. If you want to open an account ahead of time, from the Google search page, click on Gmail in the top menu, and follow the instructions. Three minutes is about what it takes.
Yelp is faster. It only takes a little over a minute. Bot Yelp and Google are at the top of the heap when it comes to online review weighting.
Below are direct links to the review locations for Inside and Out Garden Design, if you would like to leave a review. If you are going to leave a review for Inside and Out, please don’t go and do reviews on all of these locations immediately after reading this. Remember what I said about “suspicious looking activity?” If you want to leave more than one review, spread them out over the next few weeks, and leave reviews for other businesses as well.
I hope you found this article of some interest.
Bootstrap Local Marketing