When it comes to online reviews today, customers are not playing around – which means you literally can’t afford to either. Consider just a few facts from Qualtrics’ recent statistical summary:
- 97% of consumers use online media when researching products or services in their local area.
- Customers are willing to spend 31% more at a business with excellent reviews.
- 3.3 stars is the minimum business rating that consumers said they would engage with; only 13% will consider using a business that has a 1 or 2 star rating.
A quick spin through Google will net you hundreds of hits on what to do after your business receives a negative review, but little about how to avoid getting negative reviews in the first place. And yet it’s critical to your brand’s success that you do avoid them. Here’s the down side of the statistics above:
- 94% of respondents say an online review convinced them to avoid a business.
- Businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by users. If three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59%.
- A one-star decrease in a Yelp rating could lead to a 5-9% decrease in revenue (Harvard Business School).
So let’s take a closer look at how your retail store can get positive about its customer experience and avoid negative reviews.
Bad Reviews: What’s the Point?
So why do customers take the time and effort to post negative reviews? Contrary to some business owners’ belief, they don’t do it to get compensated in some way. Instead, three general reasons have surfaced:
1. They want your attention.
Reviewers say they leave bad reviews only after they’ve worked through other channels, including on-site management or customer service, to get their issue resolved.
2. They want you to fix what’s broken.
These customers are sincerely trying to contribute to the success of your store. They’ve witnessed a situation that needs to be addressed, and they hope that it will be so that your business can thrive.
3. They want to testify to other potential customers.
Social proof refers to the level of credibility that the public assigns to your business simply by interacting with it. The more people are seen to use or enjoy a product, the more others are likely to try it (hence the rise of social influencers). However, social proof also gives every customer the power to tell their side of the buying story, which is why 75% of reviewers say they leave bad reviews to alert other customers to the potential for a bad experience.
Ways to Avoid Negative Reviews
All three of these reasons boil down to the customer’s desire to be heard. Therefore, the simplest way to avoid bad reviews is to prioritize excellent customer service. Here are some quick reminders of what that should include:
- Understand that your store is judged during every second of every customer interaction, whether in person or online. Every location must be spotlessly clean and working within current public health safety guidelines. Your employees must be consistently friendly and ready to answer any question courteously. Your digital presence must be easy to comprehend and effortless to use.
- Your employees must be taught to resolve difficult situations through active listening, which includes acknowledging what they’re hearing and being empowered to take appropriate action.
- Nothing is more frustrating to customers than to be unable to contact you when they want to, through their choice of channels. Make sure all your store’s contact information is easy to find in all communication vehicles either in print or online. (Pro tip: Offer more than one channel of communication, such as phone, email, chat, social media, etc.)
Here’s an easy way to ensure your store is hitting these marks: Put yourself in your customers’ shoes by using your own services, whether it be in the store, online, or a combination of the two. Test the customer journey from start to finish: Find the location, walk the store, check your online information or ordering processes, even ask to speak to management. Then you can quickly identify and correct any bumps in the road that encourage poor reviews.
Get Positive About Operations
Here, then, is the most critical question: Considering that any shopper at any time in any location can potentially bash your store online, how can you bash-proof all operations throughout your organization?
That sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you implement a digital, mobile auditing solution that covers all the details for you. Here’s how.
Moving your paper-based store checklists for cleanliness, branding, etc., to a digital format offers many advantages. Chief among them is the ability to standardize these lists across all employees and all shifts across multiple locations – and then to establish direct accountability for those filling out the checklists.
Establish Operational Standards
This digital solution also includes all operational processes so that any employee can access them with just a few clicks. When any process changes, you need update it just once, and the app automatically sends the updates to every device in real time. Operations are almost effortlessly kept up to date and consistent.
Further, a digital solution can standardize and customize employee training. Each position is assigned training modules that meet specific job requirements, so each employee completes only the relevant training. You can easily define the customer service standards that are appropriate for any position.
Audit For Consistency
Finally, only a standardized, consistent audit schedule can determine whether each location is providing the customer service that prevents negative reviews. Your audits should cover all the most significant points of your operational plan and should take place as often as is productive. Whatever the schedule, a mobile, digital audit system will track all the specifics and consolidate them into the concise, real-time reporting that provides a full view of conditions not just within each location, but across your enterprise.
MeazureUp Supports Positive Growth
The best way to prevent negative online reviews is to place your customers at the center of every action taken by every employee. Only you can decide exactly what that means inside your store – but MeazureUp is the digital, mobile solution that will help you make it meaningful through every employee, every shift, and every location. Contact us to see how our solution can help with your retail management operations today.