Your golf course’s online reviews may often be a determining factor in a golfer’s decision to play your course, or go somewhere else. It’s easier now than ever for customers to search your facility and make a quick decision about where they want to take their business.
Reviews are not only a positive resource for consumers, but they also provide valuable feedback for your business. This can help you understand what you’re doing well or where you need to improve. Here are some tips on getting started and best practices on efficiently managing online reviews.
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Claim or create your business page
Most review sites use public information when classifying businesses, so your golf course, range, pro shop or restaurant may already be listed. If not, create a free profile on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google.
There are various member features to which you will have access, such as page statistics. In addition, setting up your business on these platforms will also render a positive impact on your search results. This is absolutely critical, as 46% of all searches on Google are for local businesses.
Customer feedback and reviews can help shape future decisions within your business. Take them seriously and strive to provide an excellent customer experience every time.
Have a set process in place
As with most aspects of any successful business, it’s important to have a process in place before you start responding to online reviews. Whether you’re responding to reviews personally, or you’ve tasked an employee to do it, it’s important to designate one person to manage online reviews.
When multiple individuals share this task, the responses can become inconsistent, and these mixed messages may simply aggravate a negative situation rather than rectifying it. Responses should be clear, cordial, and must lead to concrete decisions being made. This function should also take place at a set time every day.
Set up a feedback request system
You should absolutely let your customers know that your business is on sites that allow customer reviews. It’s also okay to encourage them to post a review if they’re satisfied with your product or service and want to show their appreciation. You should avoid openly asking for positive reviews or offering rewards in exchange for positive ratings; but you should make it easy for your customers to provide reviews and ratings based upon the experience they had at your facility.
One way to do this is to set up an automated email campaign with marketing software like PitchCRM from Lightspeed Golf. In your email, you can provide links to your review sites and kindly ask your most loyal customers to leave their feedback.
Track your reviews
Once you’ve registered your profile on customer review sites, you can opt in to receive instant notifications from these platforms every time a customer leaves a review. Many businesses also use Google Alerts so they are notified when their company name appears in blogs, videos, news articles, or even web pages.
This way, you’ll receive a notification each time someone leaves a review, enabling you and your team to keep track of each piece of feedback in a timely manner.
Respond quickly and consistently
The importance of timely responses to reviews cannot be overstated. Do not let negative reviews fester—responding to them promptly is a demonstration to your customers that you’re on top of things and that you care about their experience with your business. It’s also very important for you to maintain consistency, remaining active in monitoring and managing customer reviews.
Reply to all reviews
Many business owners and managers are easily alarmed by negative reviews, and may avoid acknowledging them. But, in reality, you can learn more about your business and will gain a bigger advantage for the future by answering all reviews, including the less favorable ones. 89 percent of consumers read the responses that businesses offer to customer reviews.
When existing and new customers see a company engaging with their reviews, it shows that the company cares about the problem and wants to resolve the issue in a professional manner. This can help minimize the damage that a negative review can cause, and may bring about positive results in the long run. Many individuals simply want to state their opinion to anyone who will listen, and will often change their opinion if given the opportunity.
Actions to avoid
Arguing with customers
As human beings, it is easy to let emotions get the better of us. This is, however, the wrong way to respond to a negative customer review and can portray an owner or manager in the wrong light. You always want to maintain professionalism when responding to and dealing with dissatisfied customers.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t present your side of the story, however. In fact, these reviews often derive from misunderstandings, and a succinct, empathetic response on your part may clarify the issue, leaving the customer satisfied in the end.
Creating fake reviews
This should go without saying, but generating erroneous reviews will not only be recognized by today’s consumers, but can also result in disciplinary action on the bigger review sites. This may cost you more business in the long run than the negative reviews that you were trying to quell in the first place.
Simply put, posting fake reviews is not only unethical, it may be illegal in some jurisdictions. The bigger review sites are shrewd in their recognition of fabricated reviews and regularly filter out fictitious evaluations.
Online reviews can be the difference between acquiring a new client or member and losing revenue or sales. Just as you provide periodic reviews to your staff based on their job performance, consider customer reviews an equally-important assessment of your business and your performance.
Remember that at the core of most great reviews is a positive customer experience. Your staff and the tools you have in place will make a world of difference in this regard. If you’re looking to invest in stronger tools to give your customers a better experience at your facility, reach out to our industry experts to learn more about how Lightspeed Golf can make that a reality.