In today’s climate, San Diego businesses are loath to suffer any negative publicity. Instead, they are looking for an edge wherever they can find it. Whether businesses know it or not, the internet is filling an important customer service role. Websites like Yelp.com and Amazon.com provide actual consumer reviews on a wide range of products and local services. More and more, the average consumer turns to the internet first for information and first hand customer insight. Whether looking for a car wash or an San Diego attorney, review sites on the internet are a powerful tool allowing consumers to look inside a company’s windows before trying out its goods or services. For instance, a modern consumer with car trouble today might do a search on Yelp.com for a trustworthy automotive repair shop in San Diego County. He or she would find out rather quickly that Advantec Auto Repair comes highly recommended (reviewed by 98 customers with a perfect rating of 5 Stars out of 5 Stars by all 98 customers). This is precisely the confidence builder that the savvy consumer is looking for before trusting their car to a mechanic.
If your business provides a service in San Diego, odds are there are already some reviews on Yelp. You may be surprised (pleasantly or to your consternation) at what people have to say. Either way, internet review sites are here to stay and managing this new facet of customer service must be part of any business’ marketing arsenal. “Managing” does not mean you get to go in and change the reviews. It does mean that you will have to pay closer attention to customer service and customer satisfaction. No business can afford to ignore negative publicity, especially during a recession. If reviews are negative even in the slightest, a business owner needs to act immediately to cure whatever deficiencies might exist including making necessary changes to how he or she does business. It’s true that some reviews may be vindictive and unwarranted. In such cases, business owners are allowed to post their own response. However, this is a good idea only in unique cases because it most often appears defensive and disingenuous. The better solution to an unwarranted negative review is to work toward an increase in the number of positive reviews which in turn increases the business’ overall average rating on Yelp. One negative review against 75 positive reviews carries little weight. Encourage your customers to share pleasant experiences with others on Yelp.
While restaurants, products and retailers remain the most critiqued of all categories, it is only a matter of time before every business is under the internet microscope, including doctors, lawyers, banks, investment companies, real estate agents, dentists, cell phone companies and individual professionals. Go on line today and see what people are saying about your business. If you don’t find your company on Yelp, add your business. This allows you to provide accurate information about your location, phone number, website, pricing and other facts such as whether you accept credit cards. By adding an inbound link to your website, it also has a positive impact on your site’s optimization.