The Wonderful World of Testimonials, Ratings & Reviews
The internet has changed things for businesses; things are now more transparent and public than ever before. If your customers are unhappy, they will find a place to express their opinion publicly. In turn, potential customers are making a habit of googling for reviews before working with you. Welcome to the wonderful world of reviews, testimonials and ratings!
Google My Business
Almost every business has a Google My Business profile, whether you know it or not. It’s how people find you on Google Maps, what you see when you google yourself on the right, and yes, where ratings & reviews on your business are gathered. If you don’t have one, or you can’t access it, contact Nimbler so that they can sort that out for you.
Social media reviews
Facebook is pretty much the only major social platform that allows for direct star-based ratings and reviews, however, it’s easy to switch off if you don’t like that idea. There’s plenty of opportunity on other platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, for people to share their views though. The solution to managing all those opinions? Get our social media managers to monitor your social profiles and respond to any negativity quickly and professionally.
The problem with average ratings
There’s a big problem with the whole rating concept. It’s pretty hard work to convince a happy client to leave a review – we often have to send several emails before they do. On the other hand, if a client is unhappy they’re very likely to leave a negative review. What’s more, unhappy customers are likely to score you 1 star even if they were mostly, but not completely, happy with your product or service, and you just failed to address or resolve their complaint, no matter how unreasonable.
That skews the average ratings quite a bit – because out of 10 clients 9 may be perfectly happy, but if that 1 unhappy (and perhaps unreasonable) customer leaves a 1-star review, and only 2 happy clients leave a 4 or 5-star review, your average rating will still be about 3.3. Pretty bad!
The other issue is that you may get bad reviews from complete strangers. These reviews are not verified – you don’t have to be a customer to leave one – so sometimes bad reviews just pop up, and there’s nothing you can do about them.
Why the average matters
Rarely will people read the actual reviews, instead they look at the average star rating. Most ratings-systems are star-based, ranked on a scale from 1 to 5 stars. As marketeers our rule of thumb is that anything under 4 is pretty disastrous. Would you work with a marketing agency that gets an average rating of 3.5 stars from its clients for example? Probably not.
Not just for customers
This may seem obvious, but could make a massive difference: reviews don’t just have to come from customers. You can ask your employees, partners, interns, suppliers and anybody else around the business to leave a review. If they like working for you, or with you, why shouldn’t they be entitled to their opinion and leave a positive review? It goes without saying they may not carry the same weight as a customer review, but they will increase your average rating quite a bit. Just ask your staff to post their review from home, because if Google picks up on multiple reviews from the same network those reviews will get flagged and deleted.
What do I do about bad reviews?
The only remedy to bad reviews is a pro-active approach. As soon as the review is placed you’ll receive an email, provided your profiles are correctly configured. Thank your positive reviewers immediately for their contribution, and ask your negative reviewers what you can do to fix the problem. Regardless of whether you can sort things out with your negative reviewer, people looking at your profile see that you care about negative reviews and always aim to do better. If all else fails, a little passive-aggresive response about how unreasonable this person was isn’t always a bad idea. Worst comes to worst, you could look at deleting your profile and creating a new one, but that should be considered a last resort.
What about testimonials?
The difference between a review and a testimonial is that testimonials are self-curated. In other words, you ask a client for a testimonial and they send it to you to publish on your website. That’s great, because if you don’t like it you can just not publish it, however, they’re not quite objective because you’ll never find a negative testimonial. As such, they’ve become less prevalent and are slowly taken over by self-published reviews on an independent platform.
What is your score?
Want to know your score? Just google your business name and see what shows up on the right. If nothing shows up, that’s not good because you don’t have a Google My Business Profile. If you do have a Google My Business profile, you’ll see whether you have any reviews.