Salt Lake City’s Go-To Carpet Cleaner: Qualls ChemDry

Top Rated Local® is pleased to announce that, due to their wonderful 94.29 Rating Score™, Qualls ChemDry Salt Lake City’s go-to carpet cleaner!

Are your carpets looking a little worse for the wear? If so, there’s no better carpet cleaning company to turn to in Salt Lake City than Qualls ChemDry!

Qualls ChemDry has earned hundreds of online reviews with an average rating of 4.83 stars and an impressive Rating Score™ of 94.29.

Here’s just one of the many five-star reviews their happy clients have given them:

“With four kids, I thought our carpets would never be even close to how they looked when they were new. Qualls ChemDry worked some amazing magic on the carpets throughout our house. We had our grout and tile cleaned as well, and it looks like it was just installed and grouted. Amazing. I highly recommend their services.” – David G

Not Your Average Carpet Cleaning Company

There are many things that set Qualls ChemDry apart from other carpet cleaning companies in Utah, but according to the owner, Kristy Qualls, it’s their name and their product that make the biggest difference.

With chemical-free, green-certified carpet cleaning products, the expert technicians at Qualls ChemDry are able to lift embedded dirt and sediment deep within their customers’ carpets, making them look like new.

We asked Kristy why they do what they do at Quall ChemDry. Here’s what she had to say:

“Our mission is to provide a healthy, happy home for the families we serve.”

Building Success Through Quality Service

Kristy attributes her company’s strong online reputation to her team’s commitment to providing quality service for each and every client. When combined with the pride the team takes in their name and products, that next-level service has naturally led to reviews from happy clients.

In addition to the growth they’ve seen from having a powerful online reputation, Kristy has grown Qualls ChemDry through word of mouth and online advertising.

We asked Kristy what advice she has for other business owners looking to grow their business and build their online reputation. Here are her words of wisdom:

“Provide a good experience for the client so they leave you a good review. Be honest in what you do.”

Thank you so much, Kristy, for taking the time to speak with us, and congratulations to the team at Qualls ChemDry for their excellent online reputation!

If you’re in need of carpet cleaning Salt Lake City, we highly recommend Qualls ChemDry. Visit their site today!

Why Customer Sentiment Matters and How to Measure It

Customer sentiment is something that all businesses need to be aware of.

Believe it or not, emotions play a big role in customers’ decisions, and customer sentiment is the emotion that triggers customer engagement. For example, when a customer feels loyalty to a business, they’ll buy more of their products or use more of their services, and they may even refer the company to their friends and family. On the other hand, when a customer feels dissatisfied with a service or product, they’ll often express their feelings both online and offline in the form of negative reviews and word of mouth.

Whether a customer is making a purchase, writing a review or telling a family member or a friend about a business, all of these actions are the result of their emotions — otherwise called customer sentiment. Customer sentiment covers a wide range of emotions, from satisfaction, loyalty and excitement to indifference, dissatisfaction and even anger.

Regardless of whether your customers absolutely adore your brand or can’t stand it, it’s incredibly important that you understand what their emotional state is, but even more importantly, it’s essential that you understand what’s driving that emotional state.

Why it’s important to measure customer sentiment.

When you’re able to measure how your customers feel when they interact with your brand or business, you’ll gain an understanding of what you do that leads to satisfied customers and what you do that your customers aren’t as thrilled about.

Understanding what your customers are feeling and why will help you develop solutions that lead to more loyalty, and you’ll also be able to proactively repair any issues that may be hurting customer sentiment. It helps you establish realistic expectations, sets a benchmark for future success and reveals opportunities to improve the service you provide for your customers. Furthermore, it gives you insight into how likely your customers are to refer your business to a friend and use your services or product in the future.

How to measure customer sentiment.

Now that you understand what customer sentiment is and why it’s important to measure, it’s time to get into the details of exactly how you measure customer sentiment. Here are the top four ways to measure customer sentiment:

#1. Customer Willingness to Refer

Today, the vast majority of advertisements are done online, but that doesn’t mean that word of mouth is dead. Surprisingly enough, word of mouth is still, hands down, the most effective way to gain new customers. However, measuring the willingness of your customers to refer you to their friends and family isn’t something you can do with an online tool or an app. In fact, the easiest and most straightforward way to measure this metric is to actually ask your customers directly.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the most recommended methods for measuring your customers’ willingness to recommend. Here’s how it works:

Survey your customers, asking them how likely they would be to recommend your business to a friend or colleague on a scale from zero to 10. Customers who answer with a nine or a 10 are considered Promoters; customers who answer with a zero through six are Detractors; customers who answer with a seven or eight are Passives.

To calculate your results, you’ll take the percentage of Promoters subtracted by the percent of Detractors — and you’ll leave out the passives. The higher the score, the more likely your customers are to refer your business.

#2. Reviews

Reviews are probably the most straightforward way to gauge how your customers are feeling about your goods or services. That’s why it’s essential that you 1) claim your business listings on review sites, 2) actually read your reviews and 3) respond to those reviews. Responding to reviews, even if they’re negative — and especially if they’re negative — can help to turn around those negative emotions and make your clients feel heard. When you’re able to turn around a bad experience and demonstrate to a customer how much you value their feedback and service, it creates a new level of loyalty and helps you earn customers for life.

#3. Customer-Facing Employees

Another great way to measure customer sentiment is to simply talk to your employees that work with customers on a daily basis. Not every customer will be 100-percent honest with your employees about how they feel or how satisfied they are, but most customers are pretty straightforward, especially if their experience was particularly positive or negative. Furthermore, your customer-facing employees know when they’ve had positive or negative interactions with customers, even if the customers don’t always come right out and tell them.

#4. Social Media Monitoring

Social media has given companies of all shapes and sizes a new and effective way to measure customer sentiment and satisfaction like never before. Best of all, social media monitoring shows you real-time how your customers feel about your brand, service and/or product, unlike other metrics, which might be less up to date. Here are a few metrics to help you keep an eye on your customer sentiment via social media:

  • Velocity of Comments – How many people are talking about your brand and how quickly is the conversation moving?
  • Tone of Comments – Not only is it important to know the velocity of comments, it’s absolutely essential to know the tone of those comments. Is the tone of the comments regarding your brand positive or negative?
  • Shares or Mentions – Does your brand get a lot of shares or mentions? Have your shares or mentions increased or decreased with changes to your campaign or with the release of new products or services?
  • Reactions – When people react to your brand on social media, what emotions do they share?

Start taking control over your online reputation with Top Rated Local®.

Customer sentiment is just one aspect of your business’s online reputation, and it’s an incredibly important aspect to keep a diligent eye on. Top Rated Local was developed to solve common problems that businesses face, like fake reviews, false, slanderous comments, interference from competitors, blackmail and more, and the best part is that it’s 100-percent free to sign up! Get started today!

Online Reputation Management Tips All Businesses Should Be Aware Of Part 2

In this day and age, it’s essential for every business to manage its online reputation effectively.

It used to be that a business’s reputation was mostly word of mouth, but today, that reputation is largely online. For businesses that are doing it right, this is a great thing, because it makes them stand out and allows them to get more exposure. But for businesses who aren’t taking steps to manage their reputation, there’s a lot at stake.

Staying on top of your online reputation is one of the best things you can do to gain new customers and hold onto existing ones. In part one of this series, we touched on a few important online reputation management tips that all business owners should be aware of. Check it out if you haven’t already, and keep reading to learn about five more expert online reputation management tips:

#6. Focus on providing great customer service.

There is a lot of competition out there, and that’s true regardless of what industry your business is in. With so many businesses offering similar products and services for around the same cost, the thing that makes one business stand out among the rest is the kind of service they provide. Great customer service is something that benefits your reputation as a whole, both online and offline.

Providing exceptional customer service won’t guarantee that you’ll only get five-star reviews. There may still be a select, few, rogue clients that may leave negative reviews, but in general, the reviews you get will reflect the service you offer. When your clients are genuinely happy with the service you provide, more than likely, they’ll leave a positive review, especially if you ask them to.

#7. Use negative feedback to improve your business.

In some cases, a bad review may criticize something that’s completely out of your control, blown out of proportion or downright made up. However, the majority of the negative reviews companies receive are based on real issues. And if one of your customers experienced an issue, chances are, other customers in the future will also experience that issue if it’s not taken care of.

The best way to deal with negative feedback is to really listen to it and learn from it. If you can correct the issues, not only will it help to turn around the experience of that individual customer who left the negative review, but it will also ensure better service for future customers, ensuring a better all-around reputation for your business. No one wants to receive negative feedback, but if it helps you provide better service for your customers and improve your reputation, it can be a very positive thing.

#8. Respond to reviews, especially negative ones.

When a customer leaves a review, it’s important to respond. And this is especially true when a customer leaves a negative review. When you respond to your reviews, it shows your customers the human side of your business.

Responding to positive reviews demonstrates to your customers that you value the fact that they took the time to leave you a review, and responding to negative reviews demonstrates that you actually care about the customer’s feedback enough to respond to it.

#9. Respond to negative reviews the right way.

While responding to negative reviews is a good thing, if you don’t respond in the right way, you could end up making the problem worse. However, when you respond in the right way, you could win back the customer who left the negative review as well as show other customers that you’re willing to go above and beyond to make any issue right. Here are a few tips for responding to negative reviews in the right way:

  • Don’t argue with the customer – Whatever you do, don’t argue with the client about their review in your response. You’ll only end up making yourself look petty and hurting your business’s online reputation even more. If you disagree with the customer’s feedback or want to explain your side of the story in more detail to the customer, invite them to email you or call you to discuss the matter more privately.
  • Apologize to the customer – First and foremost, you should always apologize when a customer has had a bad experience, whether you deem their feedback fair or not. Offering a real and transparent apology will help to pave the way for diffusing the situation more effectively than anything else.
  • Make it right – Once you’ve acknowledged the problem and apologized for it, you now need to figure out how you’ll make it right. Whether that means offering future discounts, redoing the work for free or anything else is up to you. But no matter what, it’s always important to take steps to make a negative experience right, especially when you know that the world is watching!

#10. Invest in your reputation.

As you can tell from this article, there are many different aspects of reputation management, including your website’s organic rankings, your social media engagement and so much more. Staying on top of your online reputation is a big job that takes a lot of time and energy. If you don’t have the bandwidth for a dedicated reputation management expert on your staff, or you don’t have the time to fully manage your business’s online reputation yourself, it’s time to invest in professional reputation management. This is incredibly important if your business’s reputation is particularly bad or tricky.

Your business’s online reputation is not something that should be taken lightly or put on the back burner. That reputation can make or break your business, and if you want your business to grow and prosper, you need to make a real investment of your time and money into it.

Are you ready to start taking control over your business’s online reputation?

If so, take the first step toward effective online reputation management by signing your business up for Top Rated Local® today! Top Rated Local is free to join, and it’s a great option if you’re hoping to rank for more of those “near me” searches. Sign up today!

Online Reputation Management Tips All Businesses Should Be Aware Of

Knowing how to manage your online reputation is vitally important for every business.

Reviews are a huge part of the vast majority of online purchases in this day and age. In fact, only 9 percent of consumers don’t research businesses online, which means that 91 percent of consumers are at least doing a quick Google search, if not diving into a company’s reviews, before deciding to work with a business.

Your business’s online reputation matters greatly, and the good news is that it’s largely in your control. No, you can’t control what your customers say in reviews, nor can you choose your business’s online rating. However, there are many things you can do to manage your online reputation.

Here are the top five reputation management tips that every business needs to be aware of:

#1. Be in the know about your reputation.

Regardless of whether you embrace your reviews and online ratings or you pretend like they don’t exist, prospective customers can still see them. And the only way to know whether what those prospective clients are seeing is positive or negative is for you to always be in the know about your business’s reputation. This means that you need to closely monitor your company’s brand.

How do you actually determine where your online reputation stands? While there’s no one tool that can give you a definitive answer across every single site, you can use many different tools to get a good understanding of your reputation. Reading your clients’ reviews is a great place to start, and it’s also a good idea to monitor how your business shows up in search results. There are several tools you can use to monitor your online reputation as well, including Google Alerts, Social Mention and Twitter Search, just to name a few.

#2. Claim your business listings.

Claiming your business’s online listings is important for its reputation for many reasons. At the very least, claiming your business on places, like Google+, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo and Top Rated Local®, allows you to keep your business information up to date. But the benefits don’t stop there. Here are a few more great reasons to claim your business’s listings:

  • It builds trust and legitimacy – When your business is verified, it shows clients and prospective clients that your business is valid, and that you care enough to make sure that your business’s information is accurate. Whether you claim your business listings or not, they’re there, and when you claim them, you can add more information, like your hours, logo, address and photos.
  • It’s good for your website’s organic visibility – Every business wants their website to rank well for relevant searches, and claiming your listings can help to direct more traffic to your website. This results from having links to your business’s website across multiple, verified websites.
  • It allows you to respond to reviews – This is probably the biggest reason to claim your listings. Responding to reviews, both good and bad, is an essential part of managing your business’s online reputation.

#3. Get active on social media.

Social media plays a key role in reputation management. One big reason for this is that so many people are active on social media, and many use social media to help make purchasing decisions. In fact, 74 percent of consumers rely on social media for this very purpose. Plus, being active on social media allows you to develop a wider audience, steer the conversation and increase your influence with both current and prospective clients.

Another big reason why being active on social media is important is that, the more social media sites you are active on and rank for organically, the less likely it is for negative articles and reviews about your business to crowd the top of the organic search results. For example, when someone googles your business, it’s much better for the top search results to be your Facebook and Twitter profiles than a bad review or other negative press.

#4. Keep your website updated with quality content.

Much of online reputation management has to do with keeping the positive listings at the top of the search results for your business, which we discussed briefly in our last point. Not only is being active and engaged on social media an important part of this strategy, but it’s also important to consistently add quality content to your website.

When it comes to search engine optimization, content is king and always will be. Regularly posting valuable blogs and new pages on your website will not only help your website’s homepage to show up higher in the search results, but the individual pages and blogs you post will also show up in search results, too, pushing any negative press down more and more in the results where they are less visible.

#5. Ask your clients to share their experiences.

Some business owners scoff at other businesses that ask their clients for reviews, but you shouldn’t discount this strategy. Asking for reviews doesn’t make your business weak or mean that you provide subpar customer service. On the contrary, asking for reviews is simply asking for feedback on how you’re doing, and when clients see that you value their feedback, it shows them that you truly care and that you want to do your best for them.

Furthermore, when you actually ask your clients for reviews, you’re more likely to receive positive feedback. While some people will review a business after they’ve had a positive experience, most people don’t bother, especially if the experience was great but not out-of-the-ballpark phenomenal. However, when someone is upset about the service they received, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will share their experience with the world.

Sign up your business up for Top Rated Local today!

Are you ready to take the first step toward a better, more in control online reputation? If so, sign up for Top Rated Local today. Joining Top Rated Local is 100-percent free, and it’s one of the best things you can do to show up for more of those “near me” searches.

These are just a few of the many tips business owners need to be aware of when it comes to online reputation management. If you’d like to learn more helpful tips, stay tuned for our next blog!

Stats About Online Reputation Management for 2018: Part Two

In part one of this blog, we discussed five of the 10 most important statistics for online reputation management in 2018 (if you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here). By now, you know how vital it is for any good business owner to have a firm grasp on the facts about online reputation management. You also likely have a pretty good idea of what good, professional reputation management looks like. However, there’s still more to learn. In part two of this blog series, we’ll talk about the other half. Let’s get started.

6. Quick issue resolution can lead to return customers 95% of the time.

Customers who leave negative reviews most often do so because they want to be heard (whether that’s by you or by other consumers). It is important to them that their issue is taken seriously and addressed properly. Because of that, it makes sense that almost 100 percent of people will return to a business that works on a resolution quickly after a negative review. When you resolve customer issues, they feel well taken care of.

7. Sixty-nine percent of job seekers would refuse to work for a company with a poor online reputation.

We all want to work for a good company. There’s a good chance that’s one of the biggest reasons you started a business. After all, it feels great being proud to tell someone where you work. In recent years, job seekers have started not only finding open positions on the internet, but they are also using it to research the companies they are considering applying with. Proper online reputation management can attract the best talent available, helping to keep potential applicants from forming a negative opinion of you before even applying.

8. Forty-two percent of people will not use a business with less than three stars.

Think about it — you’re on your favorite review site, scrolling through businesses that fit the description of what you need… then, you come across a business with two-and-a-half stars. That looks pretty striking next to the five-star reviews you’re seeing advertised all over the site, and definitely not in a good way. That’s when you make the judgment call that this company may not be able to provide the quality of service that you want to invest your hard-earned money in. Chances are, your potential customers will react the same way if your score is lacking.

9. Six reviews are enough for 73% of your community to form an opinion on your business.

When choosing a business to use, wasting time isn’t exactly ideal. In fact, as a business owner, you probably fully understand that wasting time is generally not ideal. With each review averaging around 200 characters, only slightly shorter than a Tweet, potential customers will likely only take the time to read a few of yours, seeing as you more than likely aren’t the only business they’re researching. By managing your online reputation effectively, you can virtually ensure that they see something positive.

10. Sixty-five percent of people believe reviews are a big part of their ultimate decision to use a company or not.

Sixty-five percent — that’s a large majority. This statistic just goes to show how vital it is to be actively involved in maintaining a positive online reputation for your business. You don’t want to be the business that those sixty-five percent of people completely disregard, due to the fact that your reviews are overwhelmingly negative, nonexistent, or handled poorly by your team. You want to be the business that instills confidence in that majority, helping you to gain customers and helping them to actually get the best of the best.

Are you interested in building and maintaining a better online reputation for your business? Sign up for Top Rated Local® today. Our five-pillar experience and rating-based system was built specifically to help small business owners regain control of their online reputation, and it helps both businesses and consumers get accurate online reviews. As a business owner, you can trust in Top Rated Local to make sure to help mitigate things like fake reviews and acts of malintent from dissatisfied customers, while making sure that your good reviews show up well enough for any researching potential customer to see.


50 Important Stats You Need to Know About Online Reviews [Infographic]

How Online Reviews Will Impact Your Practice in 2018

2018 ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey

Stats About Online Reputation Management for 2018: Part One

Any good, successful business knows the importance of reputation management and online reviews. But, in order to truly do effective reputation management, you have to know the up-to-date facts that will allow you to strategize and come out on top. In this two-part blog, we will explore the eight most important things we’ve learned about reputation management and online reviews in 2018.

1. Consumers trust Google more than any other search engine for reviews and other information.

Think about it. When you need to know something, anything, where do you go on the internet to look it up? Chances are, the answer is Google. No matter whether it’s for a class project, general interest, or something else entirely, Google is the way most people go. So, why should that be any different when they’re looking for the best business?

2. An average person mentions brands 90 times a week.

Maybe you’re the type of person who really loves their favorite brands and refuses to brand-clash (for example, wearing a Nike sweatshirt with Adidas sneakers), or you couldn’t care less about what brands you buy, you still mention business and brand names almost 100 times every single week. So do your potential customers, and making sure your online reputation is stellar can ensure that you’re one of the brands everyone is talking about, and positively.

3. Seven out of 10 people will leave a review when asked.

It’s no secret that you have to ask for the things you want in this world. Reviews are no exception. Not only does asking your customers to leave a review remind them that it’s an option (people really do forget), but it shows how much you appreciate their business and respect their opinions. Your customers want to know that you’re invested in improvement.

4. Consumers now consider peers to be as credible as experts in regard to purchasing choices.

As humans, we assume that we’ll have similar experiences to our peers. That is particularly evident in online reviews. Because of that, if someone that is in need of the same service we are says. “I loved this business, and they offered me excellent service”, we’ll likely believe them just as much as we’d believe an expert that says, “This business is the best at what they do”.

5. Eighty percent of people trust reviews as much as a recommendation.

When it comes down to it, a good review is really just a recommendation from someone on the internet. Sometimes, they’re people we know, and sometimes, they aren’t. When we choose a business, we look for reviews as endorsements of our options.

Want to work on your business’ online reputation? Sign your business up for Top Rated Local® today and see what it can do for your business! And, be sure to check back in two days to read part two of our two-part series on the 10 most important statistics for online reputation management in 2018.


Reputation Management for Real Estate Agents (This is How Real Estate Agents Get More Positive Reviews)

Today, real estate agents need to manage their online reputations and proactively seek positive customer reviews.  Here are 4 vital tips, ideas, and strategies to help your real estate agency maintain a positive reputation and use reviews to generate leads.

House hunting starts online.  That’s obvious in 2018.  The internet has resources that let you check out properties with detailed images, neighborhood information, pricing, and ways to schedule showings.

It follows course, then, that most real estate agents get discovered online.  Whether through search or in connection to a listing, the agent’s name most often comes up first as prospects research properties.

Unless the prospect already knows you, there isn’t much to help distinguish you on a site like Zillow.  If they check out your website, you have an opportunity to talk more about your areas of expertise and experience.

The one thing that does stand out is reviews.  Look at a listing on Zillow and the first thing you notice with agents is the reviews:

real estate agent reviews on ziillow

Those little green stars…you better have them, and when people click through to read what your clients said about you, it better be positive and detailed.  On a platform like this, reviews pretty much are your marketing material.

Buying or selling a home is a big deal, and working with a real estate agent to make it happen gets personal.  If you’re like most agents, that’s what you love about your job.  You work on behalf of your clients as if they were a member of your own family, and you share in their joy with a successful closing.

For marketing purposes, you need to ensure that joy turns into published online reviews praising your work.  Here are 4 tips that will help you build a solid review profile across the most important platforms.


#1.  Earn the Reputation You Deserve

At Top Rated Local®, we interview hundreds of businesses a year that win our award for top-rated business in their area.  These are businesses with excellent review profiles.

In almost all cases, the main reason they cite for having a stellar online reputation is the quality of their product and high level of their customer service.  When they deliver on their promises and treat their customers with integrity, strong reviews follow naturally.

Earning a strong reputation as a real estate agent is no different.  It’s a mindset and attitude.  You go above and beyond to delight people with your work.  It’s also a business policy.  You’ve chosen to be a customer-centric business.   You won’t undercut a client just for a short-term gain.  For you, it’s all about making sure your clients get into or sell a house with results that exceed their expectations.

While there are exceptions when it comes to individual reviews, for the most part you’ll receive the reputation you earn.  Be aware that everything you do as a real estate agent can become part of a published review that impacts your lead-generation for years.  Do everything you can to make that impact positive.


#2.   Ask Clients for Reviews

Because of the importance online reviews play in marketing today, most real estate agents can’t just wait for reviews to happen.  And it’s not that hard to ask happy clients to review you.

This is particularly true if you’re a new agent who has few reviews, or if there is a platform you’re on where you need to get more reviews.

Also, it’s a good idea to keep your reviews fresh.  If someone goes on  Zillow, Top Rated Local, or Google and sees you haven’t been reviewed in the better part of a year, they may discount your reviews – or worse – assume it’s been that long since you had a closing.  If you don’t have any recent reviews, you may need to ask your latest clients to help you out.

You can ask for reviews informally at a closing.  Just mention you’d appreciate it if they reviewed you somewhere.

We’ve also found it effective to use email follow ups, with a template like this:

real estate reputation management email


When they give you a thumbs-up, it links to the review site where you want to get a review.    If they give a thumbs down, it opens a feedback form where they can detail the problem (so this email favors publishing positive reviews).


#3.  Respond to Reviews and Welcome Feedback

One action many real estate agents overlook in building their reputation is how reviews offer an opportunity to communicate with clients.  You don’t just have to read reviews – you can expand on them with your comments.

When you respond to reviews, do so with purpose.

First, if there is a negative review, give a detailed response to clarify the situation and explain what you did to rectify the problem.  With the proper response, you can turn a negative into a positive.

Second, only respond to positive reviews when you want to expand on the topic of the review.  What you want to do is clarify the benefit you delivered to the customer – particularly when they’re vague about it.

For example, many agents get reviews where the client is happy about how they “explained the process”, but they don’t detail what the explanation was.  In your response, you can add details that will help new leads understand the value you offer.   Don’t simply thank someone for a positive review, and certainly don’t do that repeatedly.  Make sure your responses are relevant.

Google states that responding to reviews and having more positive reviews helps with local rankings via your Google My Business account, so stay active there.

Facebook is also good place to turn reviews into a dialogue.  Be sure to respond to posts where someone comments on or recommends your work.

Look through your reviews for feedback that can improve your work and language that will help you tighten your value proposition.  Use constructive criticism to make improvements.  If you hear the same positive statements in many reviews, integrate it into your marketing message.  Your clients are telling you what they love about you, and that’s likely to motivate new prospects.

Important Idea:  Perfect is Overrated

It’s interesting to note that data shows that websites convert better when they don’t have a perfect review profile.

Consumers are skeptical, and when they see a perfect 5.0-star rating, they get suspicious.  They wonder that this is “too good to be true”, and think maybe the business is tampering with things.

Not everything is going to go perfect with every deal.  You may have some dealings that go sour on you, and the client may leave an unflattering review.

Respond to these reviews with professionalism.  Acknowledge constructive criticism and how you acted on it.

You don’t want a long series of negative reviews, but acknowledging that you’re not perfect can give you some street cred that actually helps win over new leads.


#4.   Centralize Reviews and Monitor Your Brand

Real estate agencies are a type of business that can suffer from review overload.  That is, they get too many reviews on too many different platforms.

If you search for “best real estate agents near me” on Google, you’ll see reviews from Yelp, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, Zillow,…to just name a few.  It’s easy for potential clients to get lost in the deluge of reviews, and difficult for agents to monitor their reputations across so many review sites.

We designed Top Rated Local® to bring these disparate resources together.  Our system provides a Rating Score™ that results from aggregating reviews scores across all verified sites.   The business page itself shows and links to each of these review sites:

trl real estate page


This system allows real estate agents to keep track of their online reputations with relative ease, using centralized management software that tracks review growth and ratings.  From here you can link to each site where you have reviews, respond as needed, and make sure your reputation is working to help you generate leads and close more deals.


Reputation Management for Restaurant – Here’s How To Get More Positive Restaurant Reviews

Reviews and online reputation are important for all businesses, but they have more impact on restaurants than any other industry.  If you’re starting a restaurant, you need to think carefully about how your online reputation will develop and how it will impact your business.  Here are some ideas and considerations for the all-important restaurant review.

Online reviews are a big deal today, impacting all types of businesses.  But this is hardly news for restaurants.  The entire online review industry started with Yelp and restaurants.  Today, restaurants continue to get reviewed far more than any other type of business.

Restaurant owners don’t really need to worry about getting reviews.  They’ll come, and sooner rather than later.  The question most have in mind is how they can get review content – and online reputation overall – to work in their favor.  Let’s explore how restaurants can take online reviews and turn them into reservations, busy bars, and full dining rooms.


Reviews are Part of Your Marketing Plan

When you first start a restaurant, you’ll have an initial plan that details how you’ll create a marketable business.  You consider your location and competition.  You make decisions about your decor, menu, staff, and entertainment.

Included in – and connected to – all of this is how you’ll be reviewed.  From the beginning, you must consider how the experience you deliver with food and service translates into online reviews.

In the old days, restaurants had to deal with professional food critics.  These people would come in, experience the restaurant, then write a review for a professional publication.  Most reviewers for major publications were known, so the restaurant could prepare and do everything possible to deliver a flawless experience for the critic.

Today, every single diner is a potential critic who can write and publish a review of your restaurant.  This means that in a way, you must have the A-game you’d present for a critic for every customer, every day.

This creates two important considerations.

Create a Marketable Restaurant

First, you have to think about your restaurant in terms of being a marketable business.  This means you analyze your location to develop a restaurant locals are likely to flock to and one where you can differentiate yourself from the competition.

Far too many new restaurateurs open based almost totally on their personal tastes.  They create a menu based on what they want to prepare, ignoring the realities of the marketplace.

You may love making burgers.  But if you open a burger joint in a saturated market, it makes it that much harder to market.  People’s reviews will be impacted by the fact that you’re “just another burger joint.”

You may love spicy Korean kimchee.  But if you’re opening in a location where the locals are more likely to prefer country fried steak, it will be harder to win them over and earn positive reviews.

This is not hard and fast – you might be successful with any restaurant concept.  Just keep in mind that you’re not your customer.  You won’t be reviewing yourself.  You must empathize with your customers and create an experience that will excite them.  When you do, reviews – like word of mouth – will help your restaurant market itself.


The second consideration is people.  The staff you hire will have as much of an impact on your reviews as the food.  Just take a look at any restaurant with many reviews and you’ll see how staff treated people is as common a topic as the food.

No doubt it can be a challenge to find the kind of staff – from front of house to back – that is so positive, energetic, and passionate about serving customers that they become the backbone of your restaurant’s success.

But listen to Aaron Silverman, who started Rose’s Luxury in Washington D.C., a restaurant that was an instant hit and won best new restaurant in America by Bon Appétit Magazine in 2015.

Interesting how they don’t look at resumes or hire on experience.  Instead, they hire based on personality and fit with their culture.  In doing so, they’ve countered one of the biggest problems in the restaurant industry:  turnover.

Restaurants run by families and that have loyal, long-term employees are more successful.

It’s no mystery why.  One of the key attributes of marketing a local restaurant is having ownership and staff that enjoy serving people.  Their goal is to produce a meal and an experience that delights diners.

Finding the right staff is a focal point when considering reviews.  When you’re hiring people, think about how they’re likely to be portrayed in customer reviews.  Do they have a strong customer service ethic, or do they seem like the type of person who sees customers as an annoyance?

The people who work for you will have a huge impact on your reputation.  Do your best to select people who will get mentioned in reviews for their excellent service and positive attitude.


How Do I Get More Positive Reviews for My Restaurant?

Beyond the service and planning we’ve discussed, there are there several effective ways to proactively get positive restaurant reviews.

A first step is simply to ask diners as they finish up their meal.  Train your staff to focus on people who seemed to really enjoy themselves and for which there were no service snafus.  Today so many people are on their phones they can quickly leave you a positive rating right then and there.

We’ve worked with several restaurants that have a no tipping policy that they use as a way to ask for reviews.  In lieu of the tip, the waiter asks for them to leave a review in which they mention them (the waiter) by name.  When this happens, the waiter gets a bonus.  This is effective at getting more personalized sounding reviews.  For example, in this case, Allison got a bonus and the restaurant got a 5-star review:

yelp restaurant review

Note this is the only way you can “solicit” reviews on Yelp.  Otherwise, they have a policy of not asking for reviews and will filter anything they think was solicited.  Other review platforms do not have this policy.

Another effective way to get more reviews is to use email.  For example, we do reputation management for a restaurant that uses a couple of emails for marketing and reviews.

First, they build their email list by offering a discount to people who sign up:

restaurant email

Next, they sequence an email to go that requests a review:

restaurant review email

This favors positive reviews, because when they click “It was great” it links to a review site, while “Not so good” opens a feedback form.

Email works well when you need to get reviews on a particular platform like Trip Advisor, Google, or Facebook.  Open Table only allows reviews from people who the system confirms kept their reservation.

Platforms like Trip Advisor, Open Table, and Top Rated Local® have apps that people can use to quickly leave reviews on their phones. Mention this when you request a review in person.  In particular, mention these apps to regulars who might be willing to write some reviews on a number of these different platforms.

You can also use text messaging (notice the email has the text message number) and request a review through a text message.

Put up signs in your restaurant requesting reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Google,  Open Table, Trip Advisor, or Top Rated Local®.


How to Deal With Negative Restaurant Reviews

As a restaurant, there is one thing you can be certain of.  No matter how excellent your service and food is, eventually you’ll get dinged with some negative reviews.

When it comes to food service, there is no way to satisfy everyone.  Some people are just plain hard to please and they take a certain satisfaction in complaining.

If the review violates the policy of the platform, you can request its removal.  For example, if there is something illegal, threatening, obscene, racist, defamatory, libelous, or pornographic in the review.   With restaurants, you can usually get reviews that mention some sort of health code violation (there was a rat hair in my soup!) removed.

However, you can’t remove a legitimate sounding negative review, even if the reviewer is bordering on unreasonable.

When it comes to these reviews, do one of two things.

First, if the review has a petulant or snarky tone, just ignore it the way you would a child throwing a tantrum.   Most restaurants have a few of these in their review profiles, and people researching you will recognize that the reviewer has an attitude problem.

If the review does point out a service problem, respond to it with details about how you rectified things.  This shows you care about the feedback you’re getting, and can even improve your ranking on Google business listings.


Wrap Up

There’s no getting around the impact of reviews on your restaurant marketing.  A great review profile means many people will want to try you out; a poor one can literally put you out of business.

The #1 piece of advice we have for restauranteurs is to remember – from the beginning of your planning – that every customer is a critic with the power to publish an influential review about you.

The biggies of food and service quality are the main factors with reviews.   But don’t forget that little, memorable touches also have a big impact.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries dumps an extra portion of fries into your bag with each order.   Boy, do I like digging into that bag for a few more fries than I feel I paid for.

Tortilleria La Autentica is a tiny Mexican food restaurant in Loveland, CO.  They have the best tortillas I’ve ever had.  And they have a hard-working family cooking and serving that’s fast yet welcoming.

Oskar Blues (known for Dale’s Pale Ale beer) in Lyons, Colorado just has a vibe.  Cool art, music, and staff.  Really fun bartenders and servers working with what always seems to the right blues song in the background.  I’m not even that partial to their beer or food, but I love going there anyway.

Fuzzy’s Tacos is a chain joint that’s half counter service fast food and half happening bar scene.  I was genuinely delighted by how tasty and strong their margaritas are, especially since they’re served out of a Slurpee machine.   It’s fast, inexpensive, tasty, and energetic.

As a restaurant customer, I give each of these places great reviews.  The main reason?  Because they’re doing something memorable that I enjoy and gives me a sense of value.

Start with that, then watch your reviews.  Influence them in your favor without falsifying.  Make sure they reflect the excellent experience you always strive to provide.  Ask for recommendations from loyal regulars – or first-timers you can tell enjoyed with gusto.

Online reviews are marketing material for restaurants.  In the end, they’ll (mainly) reflect the experience you provide.

Word of mouth is now word of mouse, but the idea is the same.  Get people talking about you in positive ways.  It’s the key to being one of those restaurants that stays open for decades.

Why Your Business’ Online Reputation Matters

Back in the day, businesses built their reputation offline through referrals and word-of-mouth reviews. Today, though, with the ability to search the internet from anywhere and everywhere, consumers often look for businesses online. Your business’ reputation, whether it’s online or offline, is hugely important. The only difference between the two is that your reputation online is easily accessible by everyone and anyone.

No matter what size your business is in or what industry it’s in, your business’ online reputation matters.

Your business’ online reputation can either be a blessing or a curse, especially in this day and age, and it’s more important than ever before for businesses to be in the know about their online reputation, and about what they can do to make it better.

7 Reasons Why Your Business’ Online Reputation Matters

#1. Consumers research businesses before working with them.

Today, 97 percent of consumers make it a point to read reviews before they make purchases online. Not only is this true when consumers are buying products online, but they’ll also read reviews and research local, service-based companies, like dentists, roofers, etc., before working with them. It’s essential for the success of your business that you know what those customers will find, and that, if you have a negative online image, you work to turn it around.

#2. People will buy from companies they trust.

Chances are, your business isn’t the only one that offers the products or services that you do. The simple fact is that the business world of today is a competitive one, and with so much competition out there, building trust in your customers is more important than ever before. Without word-of-mouth referrals, your business’ online reputation is the one and only way consumers can learn about you and decide if they trust you or not.

#3. A solid online reputation will increase your business’ visibility.

In a world where most people search for everything from shoes to plumbers online, businesses of every size need a website. But simply having a website won’t help you if it’s not visible on the first page of the results on Google and other search engines. People rarely look past that first page of search results, and having a solid online reputation and multiple positive reviews can go a long way toward helping your website rank on page one.

#4. Your values are important to prospective customers.

Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to purchase decisions, and more and more, if a consumer has a choice between a company that shares their values and one that doesn’t, they’ll choose the former. Everything about your online reputation, including the kind of reviews you get, tells your customers about the values you hold dear, and those values play an important role in whether or not your customers make purchases from you.

#5. People trust other people.

When a company presents themselves to prospective clients, they are always going to want to put their best foot forward. A business is not going to tell a potential client that they are slower than another business or that they will use shoddy materials to get the job done. Every business claims to be the best, but not every business actually is the best. That’s why people trust people a lot more than they trust businesses, and it’s also why online reviews play such a key role in convincing customers to use your services or buy your products.

#6. People may try to trash your business online.

For better or for worse, your online reputation is vitally important. Unhappy customers, disgruntled ex-employees and your competitors understand this, and some of them may try to tarnish your reputation by leaving fake or illegitimate reviews online. If you’re not in the know about your online reputation, how can you possibly manage those fake reviews? Luckily, illegitimate reviews can often be disputed and removed, and closely monitoring your online reputation will give you the ability to catch and address fake and negative reviews before they have a chance to ruin your reputation.

#7. A strong reputation gives you a leg-up on your competitors.

If your business and another business offers a similar product or service, and your business has a long list of outstanding reviews while the competition has negative reviews, the probability is high that the consumer will choose your business over the competition. At the end of the day, your online reputation can give you a competitive edge that could be the difference between success and failure.

Everything you do affects your business’ online reputation.

Now that you know why your business’ online reputation matters and how much of an impact it can have on your success, you need to understand that every single thing you do as a business will affect its online reputation, even if you don’t realize it. That’s why it’s important to take an active role in managing your business’ reputation.

Become a Top Rated Local® Business today!

The importance of a solid online business reputation can’t be overstated, and no one understands this quite as well as we do at Top Rated Local. Signing up for Top Rated Local is 100-percent free, and it will help your business become more visible and get found for more “near me” searches in your area. To learn more about Top Rated Local and how it benefits both businesses and consumers, visit us online. And to start experiencing the many benefits of being a Top Rated Local business, sign up today!

Do I Need to Optimize My Website for “Near Me” Searches?

Is “near me” a valuable keyword phrase or do search engines understand it as implied?  Here’s an overview.

In September of 2015, Google shared that searches that used “near me” or “nearby” (for example, “chiropractors near me”) increased 2x from the previous year.

Two years later, changes continued.  The data now reported that searches without the qualifiers had grown 150% faster than those with the qualifiers.

google near me data

Similarly, searches with zip codes (Mexican restaurants 80501) decreased by 30% over this time period.

The change is the result of people expecting local relevancy on searches without having to use explicit inputs.  It’s part of geo-targeting technology.  Google knows where you are, and delivers local results to match the intent of the search.  If you ask Siri if it’s going to rain today, you don’t have to remind it where you are.  That information is assumed by the search engine.

So do you need to use “near me” or other location keywords for your SEO?  For example, is it worth it to put “near me” or a zip code into your title tags?


Make Sure Google Knows Your Business Location

The short answer to this question is that for most local businesses, using location qualifiers as keywords – in the traditional sense – is not necessary.   That is, don’t worry about keyword placement or density with location modifiers.

In various search tests, the only sites that appear to be getting any ranking benefit by using terms like “near me” as a keyword are review sites.  For example, in this for “massage therapy near me”, two review sites ranked organically.

near me serp

In no searches on any business vertical did it we see an individual business that ranked on page one because they appeared to optimize for the location qualifier.

A couple of considerations as to why this is happening.

First, the individual businesses that rank for “near me” appear to do so because they are optimized for the location keyword.  So we did a search for massage therapists in the city of Fort Collins, and it was sites that are explicit about their location (city name in title tag and page headers; complete address in footer; Google map embedded on site) that did best in organic listings.

This suggests that at the keyword level, Google is equating the relevancy of “near me” to location qualifiers on web content.  The conclusion is that you’re probably better off optimizing for regional keywords (city name, region, state) than “near me”.

Consider that on reviews sites, they’re meeting the intent of the search but don’t have an exact location to optimize for.  This is likely why “near me” works as a keyword on these websites.


What About Paid Search?

You can use “near me” modifiers successfully on paid search.  We have multiple campaigns that gain leads from these keyword phrases.

The key is to use exact match or broad match modifier so that your business vertical and the qualifier must be used to trigger your ads.  For example, +rent +tuxedo +near +me.

With paid ads, the individual words used in the search matter.  If your location is in the area of search and your site is optimized for that location, your quality scores should be fine for these searches.

It’s also useful to grab top spots for “near me” searches because the suggestion tool often shows those phrases:

near me drop down suggestion

It’s also worth considering that people use prepositional qualifiers with voice search.   Today, a person can do a voice search while driving in their car with phrases like Google, where’s a good sandwich shop nearby?  Paid search can help you rank for those searches.


Google My Business

For both organic and paid search, it’s vital to set up your Google My Business account.  This is, in fact, the primary way Google understands where your business is.

Also, it’s now necessary to link your Google My Business account to your Google Ads account to use location extensions.

Setting up a Google My Business account is mandatory for all local businesses.  Without it, Google won’t have a verified way of knowing what searchers you are near to, and you’ll miss a lot of organic and paid traffic.


Near is a Preposition

It’s important to remember that “near me” is a preposition phrase.  It’s not a concept you can create content around.

For example, say you have an article describing a sport motorcycle compared to a dual-sport motorcycle.  Each of those terms is a topical subject you can create content around.  You can use the term as a keyword in the content your create.

A prepositional phrase like “near me” is not a topical concept you can create content around.  If you optimize for it by placing it prominently, it will detract from the meaning of your content – and from the user experience.

This is another important reason you don’t want to create an unnatural keyword density with these terms.  If you start trying to optimize for something like a prepositional phrase, your writing, frankly, will be poor.  Just how are you going to fit “near me” into headers and links without sounding like you’re keyword stuffing?

We know for sure that Google is not looking to rank content just because it uses “near me” as a content-based keyword target.  It want’s to show relevant businesses for the searcher, and will do so, even with paid search results.

So in summary:

  1. Optimize your website for location rather than “near me” phrases.
  2. Use “near me” in paid search, testing exact and broad match modified phrase match.
  3. Set up and optimize your Google My Business account so Google can verify your location.

Worry less about “near me” as a keyword phrase and more about making sure Google understands that you’re nearby consumers who are searching for what you offer.