Everyone wants to get more “Word of Mouth Marketing Online” and almost every business overlooks the true power of online reviews. And the problem is often in a specific key behavior online that can be fixed easily. In order to get MORE online reviews, these are the three mistakes that you can easily avoid.
Mistake 1: Not responding to Online Reviews
The most amazing stupid behavior is – not responding to online reviews at all. As your company and business is “too busy” with “more important things” than actually listening to what your customers have to say about you online.
Yes, it takes time and money to monitor online customer behavior and to strategically orchestrate “Word Of Mouth” in a smart way, saving you tons of time and advertising money – if you do it right.
Not answering to online reviews is NOT the way to do it. It is the most obvious way to tell your customers that you could care less if they appreciate or criticize you. It is what a lot of small and mid-size businesses do – because, yes they simply do not have time to go online, because they actually RUN A BUSINESS.
But look: you probably pay someone to write and maintain your company communication or adding content to your blog, you – of course! – can’t do it all on your own and need to have your staff organized and educated to help with all customer communication like responding to emails and getting phone calls.
Online reviews are the best way to show OTHER potential customers how much you care about your customers. First of all: it will feel REALLY GOOD if you say thank you to the language students that took the time and much effort actually to write something about you. No matter, if good or bad. Both took time and effort. If you acknowledge this, people feel already recognized and valued – no matter WHAT you will answer to them.
But more important: potential customers will evaluate you on HOW you respond and handle negative and positive reviews.
Mistake 2: Only responding to negative reviews
A lot of companies – and language schools! – operate often on an “emergency mindset” and respond to the most pressing and urgent matters. Often it means that someone found a negative comment or review about your language school and you all of a sudden get into “activity mode”, trying to calm down the customer or write some response in order to clarify the situation.
Here is the reality: you always have a few people that are not happy with your services, no matter how good you are. Look at 5-star hotels on Tripadvisor. Everyone gets their fair share of criticism.
The good news is this: negative reviews are NOT a problem. You only respond to negative reviews will get an amplified attention to those negative reviews only.
You need to respond to ALL reviews – good or bad.
This also will make two things happen: first if you start to respond to all reviews and actually expressing your gratitude that people took their valuable time and the extra effort to share their opinions with you – this will increase your authority and value that you provide in your language school business.
Second, it will also encourage others to write more reviews about you. It might be that they come to help you by writing more positive reviews after they have read a negative review and they side with you as your responses to all negative reviews were straightforward and positive without you trying to “please every customer”.
Mistake 3: Not encouraging (more) online reviews
It is amazing how many companies – and language schools – online would love to have more positive online reviews – but take little to none action to encourage their students to share their opinions and experiences with others online.
It seems that a lot think that they just expect to “wait for things automatically to happen”, as if satisfied customers just all of a sudden share and rate your business automatically. Some might, the majority of your customers won’t.
This was also discussed in the blog article called Word Of Mouth Marketing For Language Schools.
The key insight here is: if you ask for reviews proactively, you will get more and you need to do it in a way that will benefit both your company and the students alike. They will share their opinion about your company if you do it correctly. Very often you can even get them even to write recommendations in multiple places by asking the right questions.