Have you ever had a customer say, “I had trouble finding my way here. The directions online were wrong.” You might have shrugged it off and just be glad they made it to your store, but this is a major problem. How many other people DIDN’T make it to your store and went to the competition because your online information was correct?
This extends beyond online listings to your own website. I’ve seen many businesses create a site and let it sit for years. In that time, a phone number or address may have changed and people end up going to the wrong spot or can’t contact you. Is the website mobile friendly? Are all pages loading correctly? If the pricing for your business is from last year, then how will a prospective client know what your correct costs are?
Type your business name in Google. What do you see? It’s more than just your webpage and Facebook. There are pages like Yelp with reviews and countless business listing websites and directories and not all of them have correct information. Let’s say your business moved in last couple years, and you don’t fix online directories showing the wrong address. Some people searching online may go to the old address not realizing your business moved.
Unless they are incredibly driven, customers won’t try and find the right address. Instead, they’ll find the address or phone number of a competitor or big box store. Sometimes the problem isn’t a move, but simply incorrect information gathered by the directory. If one directory has incorrect information, then others will as well.
People say to be careful what you put on the internet because it never disappears. The same goes for your business information. The internet isn’t written in pencil, where it can be erased. It’s out there in bold, black permanent marker. If you have a small hole in your wall, and hang a picture over the hole, the hole doesn’t disappear. You only covered it up.
The same thing goes for incorrect business information online. You may update your information on XYZ directory, but unless you continuously “hold the picture over that hole”, the bad information will come back. This is why fixing information online is a continuous, ongoing process, and not a simple quick fix.
Are ready to talk about online reviews? Time and time again business owners have told me, “I hate online reviews because…” I used to work in retail management. I know how damning a negative review and how powerful a positive review can be. People no longer air their grievances in person or over the phone. They go online or use their phone and write a review.
How does a business handle an online review? How would you handle it if someone walked up to you in your business? If a customer stopped you and told you they absolutely loved your business, the service they received, and have been coming to you for years and years, then you would personally thank them. You would smile, probably shake their hand, and give them a pat on the back. If someone said that online, then thank them and tell them to visit again soon. It builds a lasting relationship with the customer and makes him or her feel important.
Negative reviews are equally important to address. It doesn’t matter if the review is from a customer who had a bad experience or someone with a vendetta against the business. The people reading these reviews don’t know the back story, and they never will. You need to swallow your pride, dampen the urge to lash out and address the review politely.
Don’t get into an argument and instead apologize for the negative experience. Offer to fix the problem and ask them to contact you privately. It shows that you care about their experience and you want to make sure they’re happy and that it doesn’t happen again. If you don’t respond, then people take the reviewers at their word.
Some businesses get several reviews a month and don’t have the time to respond to each one or constantly check their business listings. Instead, my team at 815Life Digital Services manages it for them. The customers are taken care of and owners can devote their time to growing their businesses.
Website updates, online reviews, online directories and it goes on and on and on. It can be daunting, but it’s a necessary part of today’s digital business climate. You could leave this up to someone at your business, but you didn’t hire them for that. They’re not experts at handing it. Let the professionals at 815Life Digital Services take care of it because that’s what we specialize in. Reach out and let us take your business to the next level.