Kevin Lee: How to Work with Online Reviews — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

11:55 — Bergen Anderson introduces‘s Kevin Lee.

11:56 — People are paying a lot more attention to online reviews.  Here are some dos and don’ts.

11:56 — People trust folks they already know. What’s starling is that an equal proportion of people put just as much trust in what they find on a brand from consumer generated sites. People are going to WOM and online review sites to affirm whether they’re getting honest info.

11:57 — Yelp has found that people who are generating online reviews are older, affluent, and very savvy. They are used to navigating online waters.

11:57 — Don’t shill to them! The best thing you can do is do what you do exceptionally. People will find ways to share—and one of those ways is review sites. In the grand scheme of things, consumers will figure out if you have hired someone (like a PR or marketing pro) and it won’t make you look good.

11:58 — Do not waste your energy responding negatively to a negative comment. You won’t get anywhere. In the grand scheme, if you do what you do well, people will tell the  story. Ignore the negative—or reach out and let them know you hear them. Don’t lash out.

11:59 — Don’t try to do everything. Don’t spread yourself too thin and try to respond to everything. Find where your audience is, where the decision makers are, and address them in the places they’re at.

12:00 — Do be noteworthy. Kevin complained aobut Comcast on Twitter—they got back to him via twitter, then got in touch personally with him. Very helpful and personal as compared to installing cable with RCN here. They gave him a block of time, and the tech did not show up in that time. Tech installed service, but wasn’t necessarily very personable.

12:02 — Do engage your consumers and customers. Regardless of the platform that is most valuable, engage!  Most have free tools for businesses to monitor conversation and engage. Use those tools to get in front of those that are sharing their experiences with your brand.

12:03 — Do be personable. Didier P. has over 500 reviews on Yelp—but he’s really wired and energetic. He responds to his reviews in broken and misspelled English, but he’s listening. Everyone knows. He has a picture and a name, not just a blank head with a question mark. He’s building empathy for his brand.

12:05 — Do stick to the point. If it’s too long, people might not read it. So keep your responses short and to the point. Kevin left a short review–and someone responded directly to his points. He went back.

12:07 — Do act on your reviews. Companies used to spend a lot of time tracking down reviews through cards, etc.  Now, there are reviews online. Collect them up, look for recurring themes—that may be something you need to change to provide better service. Incorporating that info will help build loyalty.

12:08 — Don’t waste energy. Find where decision makers are and go there. Engage with your consumers. When you engage, you are showing them you care. Engage in a personal way. It will let them know there’s a person there—and this isn’t just good for the brand, but good for the people who work for the brand!

Q & A

Q: Josh Bernoff, “Companies like Zuberance put people in a club and get them to review sites. And select only those that will give positive reviews. What do you think of that?  Not representative of public?”

A: Not familiar with Zuberance, but their way is selection bias and can cause some problems. Andy addressed this in ethics. Yelp found a lot less value in biased content than in mixed, unbiased feedback. It’s hard for both businesses and consumers if the feedback is always positive.

Q: BJ Emerson from Tasty Delight, “Do you have examples where companies have taken negative reviews and made them more valuable than positive reviews?”

A: I have seen how businesses have responded to negative. It makes a business look good when they respond and acknowledge a negative reveiew. Don’t take offense—offer something meaningful in response. Correct misinformation, let the person know you are changing something, or address whatever the issue is. It will work better for you to respond positive and rational. Makes you look good!

Q: Mike from Gore, “Seems to be grade inflation in ratings. Are you seeing this too? All 4 star restaurants, and it’s not helpful.”

A: 85% of reviews on Yelp are 3 stars and above.  There are one and two star reviews, but those lend credence to positive reviews. Yelp found that people are passionate about saying something good rather than saying something negative. People want others to know about good restaurants and want to steer people in that direction. If you leave a negative review, try to make it constructive. You might not know about the “bad” places because people don’t rank them.

Q: From Grayline New York:  “We hate you and we hate trip advisor for reviews.  Apparently, everybody hates us. The question is, we have tons of bad reviews, but we move 8 Mil people a year. We’re not that bad. How do we move the needle from negative to positive? How can we help people to leave positive reviews?”

A: Again, I think it’s imperative to have someone who’s true to brand, honest, and polite to  respond to the reviews. Maybe some product change is needed. See if there’s something they can do for the customers.

Love this live coverage? It’s all thanks to the amazing Tish Grier.

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