While you likely understand that a positive online reputation can help increase your multi-location business’s financial success, could your reviews be hurting your return on investment (ROI)? As a multi-location business, various factors could impact your ROI. Whether you’re lacking local reviews, are falling behind on responding to reviews at the local level, or are getting too many negative reviews, there are various ways that reviews can hurt your business’s bottom line. We’ll dive into how reviews can negatively affect your ROI and provide tips to prevent it from happening within this blog.
The Impact of Negative Reviews
Every multi-location business will likely come across a negative review more than once. Negative reviews happen and shouldn’t be a significant cause for concern. However, if negative reviews start to become a common occurrence, they can start to hurt your business’s sales. For instance, more than half of consumers have passed up a business due to their ratings and reviews. Similarly, only 53 percent of people would consider using a company with less than four stars. If negative reviews impact your business’s overall star rating, it’s time to make some adjustments.
There are a couple of ways your multi-location business can handle negative reviews. One of the most important ways is to respond to the review. Eighty-seven percent of consumers have expressed willingness to change a negative review depending on how the business responds. With this data in mind, there’s no reason your multi-location business should leave a negative review unanswered. When responding to negative reviews, it’s important to remember that the customer’s experience is valid. Your response should be personalized and make the consumer feel heard. After responding to the review, taking any further conversations offline is essential. For instance, if you want to give the customer a discount code to try your product again, let them know offline. If people catch wind that your business is giving people who leave negative reviews a discount code, it might incentivize others to do the same, regardless of their experience. For more insight on responding to negative reviews, check out SOCi’s Multi-Location Marketer’s Guide to Online Reputation Management.
Another important tactic is to analyze the content of the negative review and see if there are ways for your business to make improvements. For instance, if your business is receiving multiple reviews about long checkout lines, see if there is a way you can shorten them. Can you bring another cashier up to the front to make the line move quicker? Is there an opportunity to add self-checkout stations? Getting creative and finding ways to address issues mentioned in your negative reviews is critical. With that in mind, some problems might leave a customer unsatisfied that your business can’t fix. For example, if you’re in the restaurant industry and a consumer is leaving a review about a long wait time on a Saturday night, you might not be able to change that. You’re likely happy about a long wait time during the dinner rush. Regardless, you need to respond to the review and address the customer’s concern. You could suggest that they visit another night, or come earlier to avoid waits. The more your business pays attention to negative reviews and optimizes accordingly, the less likely you’ll be to be negatively impacted by them.
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The Volume of Reviews Matters
Another review factor that could impact your business’s ROI is your volume of reviews. It’s already clear that reviews can impact your business’s sales, but how does the volume of reviews come into play? Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes for a minute. If you were deciding between two businesses and one had a four-star rating with two reviews, and one had a four-star rating with 100 reviews, which would you choose? The business with more reviews has more people confirming the quality of the service or product. Data backs this theory. For instance, recent data has found that when a business is exposed to a product page with one or more reviews, conversions lift by 52.2 percent. Shoppers visiting product pages with 11 to 30 reviews experience conversion rates over 2x higher than those without reviews. The data speaks for itself – more (positive) reviews = more customers. If your business locations are lacking a decent volume of reviews, you could be missing out.
The Value of Review Responses
While it was mentioned briefly above, responding to reviews should be a top priority. A lack of response to reviews can hurt your business’s bottom line. While responding to 100 percent of the reviews each business location receives is ideal, we understand that isn’t always feasible. If you have to pick and choose which reviews your business can respond to, negative reviews should always come first! Although these responses require more time and thought, they are more likely to hurt your ROI.
To ensure you’re keeping up with industry standards when it comes to responding to reviews, data from the 2021 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report can help. The report found that leaders in localized marketing responded to an average of 31 percent of the reviews received on Google, 27 percent on Facebook, and only 13 percent on Yelp. While these numbers might seem low, you could be falling behind if your multi-location business is responding to less. Similarly, if you’re meeting or exceeding these averages, you’ll likely see a positive impact in terms of ROI.
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Start Dominating Your Review Strategy
Now that your multi-location business understands what has the potential to hurt your ROI, it’s time to revamp your review strategy. Although it’s essential to avoid tactics that can decrease your revenue, you should also think about ways to take it a step further and dominate your reputation management efforts. Finding a solution that can help you manage your efforts across business locations is critical. For instance, through a tool like SOCi, users can view every action taken on reviews and monitor every activity on social media. Your local, regional, and corporate teams will always know which reviews and social engagements are addressed and which ones still require attention to ensure the prompt responses consumers expect.
Once you have your reputation management strategy solidified, you can begin improving other areas of your business’s localized marketing efforts as well! It’s time to dominate the competition, and a strong reputation management strategy can help.