In this episode, Rob Cairns talks to Ryan Waterbury about reviews for small businesses.
- Why reviews matter?
- How to read reviews.
- What to do about bad reviews.
- What do do about negative reviews
Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here today, I’m here with my good friend Ryan Waterbury and we’re going to talk about reviews today.
Are you today, Ryan?
I’m doing great aside from the wonderful heat.
No, it is hot everywhere at the time of this record I was saying it’s over 100 Fahrenheit in the Grand Ole Schema Toronto. So it is hot hot hot. So find the beach is all I can say.
So I thought today we’d jump into this whole discussion of.
It’s kind of a mixed bag.
You can’t run a business without it, but there are issues with reviews, so I thought I’d jump in and started off by saying.
I know as a consumer and I’ll take my marketing hat off for a moment.
I typically don’t read one line reviews, I just kind of ignore them.
Do you have any thoughts on what’s a good review and what’s not?
A good review.
You know, a lot of those one line reviews.
Uh, in my opinion are well.
You can tell in in our industry if you if you look a lot of those are what we call purchase reviews and they’re not real reviews.
They really don’t tell you anything.
They’re not social proof that.
The the product or service does what it says it does.
The ones that really have some meat on the bone.
Our short paragraph on.
You know how you help that customer and those are the ones that really tell me if the service is going to work for me or not.
I would agree and I would agree saying I like the product.
I mean from a consumer standpoint that’s it says tell me a lot.
So it has five stars.
I like the product.
Uhm, one of my complaints with reviews.
And I’ll get to some more of them ’cause we’re talking before we went to record is.
Pricing when people like to whine and scream on reviews and say I bought the product, but then I realized they could get it cheap.
Don’t think that should be allowed in a review.
And the reason being, when you bought the product, you entered into a contract for the product at that price, and if the product delivered was delivered at the price it was promised, not that.
Not the grounds for a bad review.
Yeah, and you know a lot of these products can be purchased at more than one location, so usually it’s just not.
Those become not necessarily a review of the product, but you know a review of the vendor, and that’s not really a a review that’s worthwhile at all.
And yeah, and the other ones, I have a problem with is.
Is when a client violates the terms of service in their contract.
Breaks everything in the contract and then they jump on your Google Review page or Google My Business or Google Business pages now called and then they write you a bad review.
Because they think they’re entitled.
And that’s a problem too.
And you know removing reviews, especially Google reviews, is.
I Google is better than some of the other platforms like Facebook for example that actually offers some support, but getting those reviews removed that are.
Or not reviews is next to impossible.
So the best thing to do is to respond to those reviews and I try to respond to every review that I get on Google and so far and this can be a drawback.
My agency has a.
Five star rating and that can be a negative sometimes.
But you know?
So responding to the reviews that are negative and addressing some of the points of the negative review.
That really helps, and that’s one of the most beneficial things to do if you can’t get it removed.
Yeah, I I know one case so I kind of look at my Google reviews.
I’ve got three bad ones, all three bad ones are.
Entitled into two clients.
In both cases, the clients violated the terms of service of their contract.
And then when they enforced the contract, they felt.
It was their obligation to write a bad review, and I’m sorry if you’ve written a bad review if you violate terms or contract, you should not be writing a bad review.
And I’ve actually jumped on in all cases and I’m like you, I respond to all the reviews.
So and I’ve pointed out.
Actually, in my comments, how these?
Reviews are unfounded.
Why they shouldn’t have been posted.
What the client did wrong and I’ve gone so far in one case because I was.
Asked for it.
And said, could you show me the and the client did sign a long term contract.
Would you show me the clause in the contract that the client violated?
I said gladly.
I have no problem with that and.
I think you have to respond to bad reviews because if you don’t respond.
It kind of shows you don’t care, and that’s a bit of a problem too.
Absolutely, and not just reviews, I mean social proof in general.
And you know, addressing these with appropriate customer service reviews aren’t just.
You know, those multi star ratings that are attached to your social media page.
Or your Google pro.
File, but they are our customers, whether good or bad talking in.
Facebook groups, forums and.
That’s where it really gets.
Difficult where if you’ve got a a disgruntled individual.
You can really save some reputation by addressing anything that they’ve complained about.
9 times out of 10, especially when I see these public rants, they I find that they’re exactly where you found your negative reviews.
There was a a misunderstanding.
The terms and conditions weren’t followed.
Support was never consulted, so I teach reviews with a huge grain of salt.
On the flip side.
When I’m looking for physical products that I want to.
Have helped me with something you know.
I’m an avid cyclist, so when I’m looking at new products, I always read the reviews.
I do a lot of my own repairs, so I look for the ones that are longer positive and if there’s a lot of negatives, I expect some pictures and some actual.
Not put into there.
Uh, so you know it’s, uh, reviews are a double edged sword.
It it it?
Is and it’s funny because in one of these cases.
The guy was so peeved off at me.
He actually created a fake Google account.
And you know, Google refuses to remove the review from that fake Google account, which is ironic, and it was a personal attack on appearance.
Which should never have been in a review.
He just was screaming sour grapes and I I truly think like people that read stuff like that.
They actually read them and say.
They’re not stupid.
People understand what’s going on, and the other thing we gotta be careful of with negative reviews is.
And I get these emails here every day.
Would you like to buy 100 reviews? Would you like me to go SLAM 100 of your competitors with negative reviews? Which is?
Facebook and Google terms of service.
But there’s people out there trying to sell fake reviews.
Oh, that happens all the time.
I mean, it’s always a problem with anytime, any type of numbers game, even even in the world with crappy backlinks, there’s always somebody out there that wants to too.
Make a quick buck and, uh, you know.
Reviews are one way.
To do it.
You can spot those a mile away.
You know you pointed out one of the one of the quick ones is 5 stars, no text or five stars one liner.
Hey, it works great.
No information about the product.
Those are easy to weed out and.
I think most consumers know which reviews are legitimate and aren’t, but that star rating?
Uh, is A is a big deal, and you know when you when you start talking about Yelp and some of these other businesses when you’re you’re doing a search on their platform and you sort by.
Reviews that can really kill your business.
And I I also think, UM.
I think it’s all how you handled them, and I’ve sort of said that like don’t ignore them.
Address them and it’s funny when you address a bad review.
My experience has been the reviewer can turn around and write a comment and nine times out of 10 they can’t be bothered.
You know they won’t comment your comment on the review, they just can’t be bothered and that shows.
Frankly, they’re they weren’t invested in the service or what they were getting in the first place.
Exactly, and I, I think writing a positive response to, uh, a negative review and then receiving no response has a has a a net positive effect for you and.
In the long run, even though it may hurt your perfect five star rating.
You know people will look at that review and hopefully read what the reviewer had written and your response.
Yeah, I would say most people do I.
I think it’s.
You know it’s kind of important now there’s another side to reviews.
UM, we gotta realize there’s different people for different folks, so sometimes people hire somebody in.
You didn’t connect on the communication level.
You didn’t connect on the emotional level, and sometimes that’s a.
Bit of a problem.
I would say that’s a big problem and I would say the other thing is some people need to treat some reviews as a learning opportunity, ’cause sometimes as a business owner and nobody is perfect.
Including you and I.
You miss something, and if that comes out constructively in a review, I think it’s a chance to learn and improve, and that’s important too.
Oh, absolutely, you know the the the good part about reviews?
You know, they’re just one piece of social proof and.
You know when we talk about SEO we want you know that that trust factor and their expertise, authority, and trust and when you see other individuals like yourself that have used a product or service and have great things to say about it and how it solved the problem for.
That’s a huge selling point.
And so you can’t control reviews to a certain extent on some of the other platforms like Facebook or Google.
You can certainly respond to them, but where you can control them.
Is on your own website and having solid social proof on your site.
Is really important, and that’s where you can showcase not only from that review, but showcase the work that you did for that client and let potential clients see right there.
If that’s going to help them or not.
Yep, so true.
The other thing I wanted to share about reviews and it’s it’s really interesting.
Clients or people who buy products and doesn’t matter if it’s a service from you and I, or if it’s from Amazon.
Generally, as a rule, people write reviews when they’re pist off.
Hate to use that word, but that’s the way I’m gonna get back.
I don’t want to solve this and.
Personally I think till you get to that point you gotta try and deal with the issue.
So did you call support?
Did you reach out to them on social media?
Did you try and get some resolution?
And sometimes it takes time to find the right people, but that happens and then people say I’m not happy.
So they write deepest off review, and as a rule, the only way people generally write really good reviews is that they’re asked for it.
They generally don’t do it out of a habit.
What’s your feeling?
Oh, absolutely, you know my best client.
I’ve asked every single one of them for the review and just offhandedly.
You know, I said, hey, it seems like you’re really happy with what we did here, and I think we did a great job.
Would you mind leaving me a review?
I’m not shy about that at all.
At first, you know when you start out, you’re not.
Sure, if you.
When is the proper time to ask for review?
Don’t be shy.
Ask for reviews.
Your best clients are your strongest cheerleaders.
Yeah, it’s so true and.
And ask and ask, go ahead.
And I was going to kind of point out when in response to the angry review, you see a lot of those on Twitter, not so much.
You know some of the other social media platforms.
Uh, you know, the social media managers that that run.
Those profiles are probably not the people you want to complain to you, but that’s where you see a lot of the angry complaining is social media.
And one of the reasons for that, frankly, and I’ll share with anybody story my my my battles with Rogers Communications over the years are kind of legendary and.
I don’t know if I ever told you Ryan I got so fed up with reviews for about 3 years I.
I ran A blog.
Called the customer Service Hall of Shame.
If you can believe that and and basically what I did was I used to write about companies that didn’t fulfill their promises.
And these were ones that even after you went to social media, didn’t go to Twitter, do into Facebook called them rotli.
And I think part of the problem is people.
Even after they get the problem resolved, they don’t say thank you.
So let me let me throw an example out there.
I was working on a friends.
Rogers issue I called Rogers.
I spoke to a manager.
The manager basically told me to do what I wanted to do.
OK, good way to run business not.
So I happened over with Rogers Rogers helps, which is a Twitter account and his shout out to that team, ’cause they’re usually pretty helpful.
They have a Direct Line to what’s called the office of the President, and that’s a customer service department that reports right to the CEO’s office.
So I reached out to them one day and said this is what I was told.
This is where I’m at.
And by the way I’m looking at moving to a competitor.
What you want me to do?
And they put me in touch with the right people when the issue was resolved and it took about a two week period.
I actually thanked them publicly on Twitter for solving the issue.
Most people don’t do that, and that’s part of the problem.
They like to whine and snivel and complain and stir, but they don’t know how to be gracious and say thank you either.
Yeah, I I find that that happens more, more and more often as we’ve moved into a more connected and digital first society.
It’s unfortunate that people want instant gratification.
They want it now.
If you I’m done, you know, and walk away when they get what they want.
And that’s unfortunate that there aren’t enough thank yous there.
There there’s not a lot of praise.
It’s what can you do for me and I want it done right now.
So that’s the that’s the bad side of the review and negative social proof.
Yeah, I I would agree with you.
I also wanted to throw out there a technique for getting reviews that works really well.
So if you’re running a retail store.
Right, uh picture cash, you should have a a URL that says to review us on Facebook or Google go here.
I’m a big believer.
That, but I’m also a big believer.
Video reviews, unedited work really well so.
This is a tip I picked up years ago from the newsletter I was reading.
It was probably five or six years ago and said in certain industries, unedited reviews do well and I’ve got two clients to do really well.
One who runs a jewelry store and somebody will say I love this piece and he’ll grab his iPhone.
And say to them, you love this piece, could you, would you?
Oh Bargen, say this into the camera and he will post that unedited.
And another believe it or not, is a restaurant a small mom and pop restaurant when people say oh they loved the way the food looks, they’ll say really could you take a picture of that and and then say it into a video and they’ll put the two together and say this clients raving about the food they went in to get?
What do you think about video review?
Images, video, photo.
Those are really powerful because they’re you know, direct consumer experiences that.
You know, I mean, especially when you talk about food, you know we, we know when we see those commercials for Burger King Hardee’s Carl’s Junior Arby’s.
That food is Immaculate.
Uh, airbrushed and well lit.
It’s nothing like you get in the store, so when you have a customer that posts a live shot, a live video and has a great review about presentation and good things to say about the.
Service and quality.
That speaks volumes more than a lot of other marketing channels that you can put into, because it’s an actual experience.
It’s not you highlighting or showcasing, you know, by the way, all of our social media profiles are a highlight reel.
This is actually a you know, a solid.
Customer experience that really happened that’s not in your own personal highlight reel.
Yeah, it’s so true and and the key is when you’re doing those type of reviews.
If it were me, I wouldn’t even put branding on them even at the front or the back.
’cause then you say ah, they put branding on it. What else have they edited? I would just honestly I’d upload them to YouTube and let them fly personally, and that’s that’s just my opinion.
Yeah, absolutely yeah.
A lot of that material is is great for putting together a showcase for you for your website, your testimonial section, or even on an ad campaign.
But the this is where I like Google for restaurant.
Reviews and being able to look through photos and positive and negative experiences to find out if a restaurant is going to be somewhere that I want to go or not.
Yep, so so true.
And and as I say, it’s hard to get clients to write that positive review.
I’ve got one really good client of mine.
He’s great, pays his bills, does everything I’ve been trying to get him to write a review for six months and.
You know how that’s going right, right?
Hasn’t happened, has it.
No, I’m still waiting for it.
I it’s funny as we’re recording this and thinking I need to send him another.
Note just to harass him just and remind him just a little bit, but that’s another.
Uhm, do you have any other good tips for managing reviews for coins?
I think the biggest tip, and I actually did this this morning when I was walking through a website with a client that.
We pulled in some of the most positive reviews that.
He’s had about people that have rented his condo, and we prominently displayed them on the front page of his website and the the personal reviews of reading through those were fantastic and they said more about any of the copy that I went through and wrote.
About the about the rental unit.
Just the the personal experiences talking about the service, the location, the venue, and things that they liked about it, that I would have never thought to write in any of the marketing copy it.
It helps helps other people understand the experience that they they should expect to have.
Have you taken a time in your UM, reviews when you pull in like Facebook reviews or Google reviews to do a tool?
Or do you just like to pull in the text?
I mean, you can use tools to pull them in it.
It really depends and.
For me personally, I like to get a quote and write up a testimonial that goes along with My Portfolio.
So when I when I do work with the agency and we have a a really good successful project and the client feels great about it.
I feel great about it.
You know we sit down and and talk about what things worked and didn’t and I asked them.
To kind of sum up in a few sentences or paragraph, and I let them know that you know I want to, you know, put this in our showcase about the good things that they enjoyed about the project work and put that together.
So I think it depends on industry.
I think testimonials in.
Our type of work are more important.
But if you’re working in a retail location or you’re working in a restaurant, pulling those in dynamically from Google or Facebook.
Using a tool, it’s pretty easy. There are API’s to do that.
No, I know and I I I must admit I tend to pull mine in manually.
’cause then I can.
Lay them out nicely.
If I need to or or things like that, that’s just.
My personal opinion.
But you gotta do what works for you too, right?
That’s that one.
Yeah and yeah, and I think it it depends on the industry, you know.
Do both testimonials and you know.
Pulling in automatic reviews but.
And each has has its different use case.
Uh, so true.
Uh, many other tips for reviews, right?
Number one tip is ask for them.
I don’t see a lot of people out there and this is across all industries.
I don’t see enough people asking for reviews.
Uhm, some of the some of the ecommerce retailers have it built into the workflow.
But yeah, you know that’s just one touch point.
Where I see a lot of the small businesses out there struggle is they don’t ask their good clients that are appreciative to write a review.
Most of them.
Most of those client.
Are going to be more than happy to say good things about the experience that they had with with your business.
So so true.
Ryan, thanks for jumping on and talking about reviews folks.
I would suggest that.
Tum, if you aren’t getting reviews do what Ryan says.
Ask for them.
I ask for them.
I know Ryan asks for them.
We kind of counsel our clients to ask for them.
Somebody wants get ahold of Ryan.
How’s the best way?
Every major social media platform @onedogsolutions.
You can visit my website at onedog.solutions or you can e-mail me at Ryan.Waterbury@onedog.solutions.
Have an amazing day today.