Perception is a very powerful thing.
The old adage about perception has never been more true: “Perception is reality.” In essence, this saying means that what someone believes is what’s real to them, no matter if it reflects reality or not. For example, even if the sun is shining and there are no clouds in sight, the man who believes it’s raining will use an umbrella. This fact has major consequences for businesses who rely on the internet for new customers, which let’s face it, describes most businesses.
With online reviews, perceptions are made public.
People think of perception as mainly an inward thing, and it largely is, but with the internet, and more specifically online reviews, people’s inward perceptions about local businesses are being made public more and more.
Take a moment to think about the following scenario:
You’re a roofer who specializes in installing metal roofs. Metal roofs are more expensive than many other types of roofing systems, but they also last longer than most other types and require less maintenance, making them a value for customers.
Let’s say you installed a roof for an uninformed customer. They chose to go with a metal roof because they liked the way it looked or preferred a low-maintenance option, but they weren’t happy with how much it cost them and didn’t fully understand the added benefit of the longevity of the roof.
Said customer then goes onto Yelp or Google to tell the world about how you charged them an arm and a leg for their roof. Without any other context, prospective customers might believe that you swindle your clients out of money by charging them higher-than-average prices, and that particular perception could end up losing your business.
How to change the perception of your business online.
Luckily, one bad review won’t destroy your online reputation, but that doesn’t mean that you should let it go by the wayside. If you fail to control the situation, prospective customers could read the review, believe it and choose not to utilize your services because of it; in essence, the perception of the unhappy reviewer could easily become the perception of the prospective customer.
The good news is that you have the power to steer the conversation and change the perception of your business. Here’s how:
- Get listed – In order for your side of the story to be the one prospective customers sees and believes, instead of the one unhappy customers paint, you must get your website listed and claim accounts on review sites. This will ensure that you control the conversation, and it gives you the ability to respond to commenters.
- Respond to negative reviews – Always respond to your reviews, but especially to negative reviews. If your business dropped the ball or made a mistake, apologize, own up to the mistake and offer to redo the work for free or make it right in some other way. If the customer overacted to a minor problem or unavoidable inconvenience, you can kindly and professionally help to set the record straight in your response. And if you don’t believe that the review is legitimate, you can let the world know.
- Gain more visibility – If there are articles, reviews or other things out there dragging down the perception of your business online, you may not be able to publicly respond to all of them or get them taken down, but you can help to push negative press about your business further and further down the search results. The best way to do this is by increasing the number of results that you can control or that show you in a more positive light. This is done by adding new pages and articles to your website regularly, posting on social media, sending out press releases, publishing videos on Youtube, etc.
Sign your business up for Top Rated Local to start changing the perception about your business.
In this day and age, the phrase, “Perception is reality,” has never been more true. Don’t let a negative perception cost you customers or prevent you from getting new ones. Take the first step toward controlling the conversation and changing the perception about your business by signing your business up for Top Rated Local today. It’s free to sign up, so you have nothing to lose. Get started today!