Know & Learn From Our Enemy!

That’s a mouth full of a title today, isn’t it?  Well, let’s just get it out there and start with a scary four letter word. You all know what I mean YELP.  Yes, today’s blog post is all about reviews.  Let’s face it we all, and I mean all of us, live in a digital world.  There is no avoiding it, if you need proof just walk into a restaurant and look around. I can guarantee you will see more people looking at their phones than not.   Not only are we all distracted by our phones, the information we are browsing is being created and disseminated instantly.  What does that mean for you as a business owner?  Well first, reviews could be posted before we’ve even finished providing the service, making every single interaction with our customers that much more crucial to your company.  
As much as we’d like it not to matter, reviews can make or break your business.  So what’s a business owner to do?  How can you take this necessary evil and make it work for you instead of against you?  Well for starters do all that you can to know the review services.  First, each review service has a way for you to request a review be verified and possibly removed so that’s your first line of defense right there. If the reviewer is breaking any of the rules of that site pointing that out can be the fastest way to have that negative review removed.  Second, be responsive and respectful.  It may be hard to remember but these are people (at least we hope so) leaving these reviews, and as humans, we all want to be acknowledged and heard.  So have good manners, you can do it, and as a bonus, your parents will be so proud!  Respond with respect and gratefulness for the opportunity to address their concern, and more often than not being willing to respond hat in hand asking for the chance to discuss the issue will allow you to diffuse the situation immediately.  If you’d like more ways to deal with a negative review check out this article, I found it very interesting . 
Okay so now we know how to address a bad review, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid it all together?  Well yes, of course, it would. So how can we do our best to make sure we don’t receive negative reviews?  Well, again it comes back to our interaction with the customers. We need to ensure that every single interaction is positive and reflects well on our organization.  The best way to do that is to come up with a plan that we teach and TRAIN.  Think about when you have received excellent service, was it an awkward or unorganized interaction?  No, of course it wasn’t.  We are all so busy these days, and if you think about it, the best customer service experiences in our fast-paced lives are quick, friendly and organized.  When you go into an establishment, and they know exactly how to help you and provide that service quickly and efficiently with little to no bother to you, that is when you are most pleased!  So how do we empower your staff and prepare them to provide world-class service?  First, you teach them by giving the instructions they need to know and do their job well, then you review that information to reinforce it, and then you test them to ensure they are retaining the information.  By following these three basic principles of training, you will give your team the tools necessary to do their jobs with confidence and integrity.  Also, by testing them you will identify their strengths and weaknesses allowing you to adapt your program quickly if needed.  
I hope you found this chat about reviews and how to combat or better yet avoid them altogether helpful to you.  I know I feel a bit better about it and I think as a final move today I’ll spread a little Yelp review love to some companies that have given me excellent service lately, and I hope you will as well!