It’s the spookiest time of the year and yet the scariest thing to a business owner doesn’t come in the form of witches, goblins and ghosts. What they fear most is a drop in their profits at the end of the fiscal year. In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve listed the most common ways businesses can scare away potential customers. Avoid these 6 business boo-boos to make sure your customers feel treated— not tricked— when they pay a visit to your online review sites.
1. Neglecting Your Negative Reviews
A business with bad reviews left neglected stands like the haunted house on the hill, abandoned and unattended, the kind of house that potential customers won’t dare enter, picking up their pace as they quickly pass you by. Do some housekeeping and exorcise your online directory of the false or illegitimate reviews that are harming your business by making an effort to get them removed. Respond to your reviews to show customers signs of life. Show your customers that the house isn’t in fact haunted by ghosts but inhabited by people who really care.
2. Responding Angrily to Customer Reviews
It’s no secret, one-star reviews are horrifying, and can torment a business owner to madness. Take a step back and breathe. Resist the temptation, the whispers in the back of your mind telling you to publicly shame the writer of the review, and instead take the high road. Develop a thoughtful response that remains respectful and maintains the integrity of your brand without admitting fault. This will remind your customers that even in scary situations, your business is one to be trusted in the end.
3. Low Review Count
Nothing is spookier than the sound of silence. Like any horror movie, there’s strength in numbers, and the more people you have talking about your business the more likely new customers will be able to find you in their local rankings. Encourage your happy customers to share their experience online, and look into other review generation strategies to create more buzz about your brand.
4. Inappropriate and Irrelevant Photos
An undercooked slab of meat at a steakhouse; a gash in the side of a car at an auto repair shop; bugs crawling creepily underneath a mattress at a hotel room. Whether or not these photos were actually taken at the business is no matter to the viewer. The damage has already been done, a gorey site that can’t be unseen. Be active in monitoring your photos and removing the inappropriate images that are haunting your gallery.
5. No Photos At All
A shadowy figure where a logo or a profile photo should be sends a daunting message to your potential customers: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!” Go through your online directories, as well as your social media sites, and upload photos anywhere possible. In addition to your profile and cover photos, it’s good to have at least 10 photos in your gallery to make your customers feel comfortable.
6. Missing and/or Inconsistent Business Information
An inaccurate business listing can be quite unsettling for your customers. When your business name on Google, for example, doesn’t match what’s on other directories, your customers will be left to wonder who you really are. Likewise, when the business hours don’t match, they will begin to doubt whether it’s worth the trip if they aren’t entirely sure if you’re open to begin with. Search Engines are also spooked by inconsistent or missing business information and will punish you by burying your review site further down in their rankings. The second page of search results is a scary place to be.
Negative reviews and photos, review generation, local search engine optimization— these things can be unknown territory for any business owner. Don’t venture off into the darkness all alone. We can provide you with the tools and the resources to build trust for your brand and a brighter future for your business. When reviews are strange, and it don’t look good… who you gonna call? Consumer Fusion!