How To Gain & Maintain a 5-Star Online Reputation (PART 8)
TRANSCRIPT: Alright, but why should I work to generate positive reviews? Isn’t just fixing the problem, remember step 3, I fixed all my problems, “Steve, isn’t that enough?” It’s not enough.
A couple of reasons. One, we talked about it. Only 1.5% of people review businesses anyway, but more than that, a company called Vision Critical found that it takes 10 to 12 positive reviews to make up for 1 negative review in the mind of consumers, so we have to start generating 5 star reviews to make some of those 1 and 2 star reviews feel less important to consumers, but be careful not to violate FTC guidelines. Now, I’m not an attorney. I’m going to give you some basics about the FTC. I know dealers who do this. They give every positive reviewer a coupon for a free oil change. That’s great, that’s no problem. In fact, you can solicit positive reviews. You can ask people to only give me 5 star reviews, you can even pay them for those reviews, yes, legally.
Remember, I’m not an attorney, so “Steve Stauning says” is not a defense, but you can pay for these reviews, you can tell someone, “If you give me a positive 5 star review, I’m going to give you a coupon for free oil change,” but here’s the catch. The review must disclose this payment. The reviewer must put in their review that they got a free oil change for posting this review. They’re not going to do that. They’re just going to get themselves and you in trouble potentially. Listen. Paying for reviews is a short term play and truly raving fans won’t need to be paid. If you have done step 3, if you fixed everything in your business, you can ask people for 5 star reviews and they will give them to you. Now, if you want to avoid FTC mistakes, then get a partner, all right?
Listen. 3 Birds is more than reputation and social and it’s also only for autos at this time, so who should you go with? 3 Birds, they’re going to drive a lot of service revenue for you, a lot of sales revenue beyond the reputation and social. Terrific email marketing. If you’re a big group or an OEM, then it’s 3 Birds and that’s because of the reporting. There’s no better reporting that I’ve seen in the reputation management realm than 3 Birds. We’ll look at a little bit of it today.
Let’s talk about Yelp. Let’s be clear. Yelp’s pretty important but I think Yelp sometimes stinks. It would be nice. I think they sometimes stink as a review site from the viewpoint of the business and the viewpoint of the user and here’s why. Their fake review algorithm can be so out of control and so inaccurate that the Yelp star rating is sometimes meaningless even in the relative, even when I’m comparing 2 businesses together. You have to actually read through tons of reviews to get the whole picture of any business on Yelp. Now I think that’s Yelp’s plan, right? To get you to read everything, they want you to read more reviews so they get more ad views.
Now Yelp can be extremely frustrating for businesses and here’s why. I’ll talk about their review algorithm in a second. In the past, it seems like only 5 star reviews were considered questionable by Yelp’s review algorithm, but lately I’ve even seen some 1 star reviews that are withheld from the main Yelper’s viewpoint, so what does Yelp say? Yelp says this. Let’s take a look at it here. Yelp says, “We use automated software to recommend the review we think would be the most helpful to the Yelp community based primarily on quality, reliability, and the reviewer’s activity on Yelp. Advertisers get no special treatment. The reviews below didn’t make the cut,” this is where they put the reviews that they don’t show, the suppressed reviews, “Didn’t make the cut and therefore not factored into this business’s overall star rating. Watch the video above or check out our FAQ for more details.”
Now, the problem with what they just said is that there’s really no rhyme or reason. Look at these 2 reviews. This 4 star restaurant review from a regular Yelper with friends is buried. This was a hidden review. Judy R in New York wrote this well thought out 4 star review, she’s got 18 reviews on Yelp, 31 friends, and hers was buried, but so is this 1 star car dealer review, it was buried. Now this dealer by the way has 38 buried reviews and 28 shown for their star rating. Why would either Judy or Vladimir review anybody on Yelp again? Vladimir has 37 friends on Yelp but he’s only placed 1 review so it got buried, but Judy’s got 31 friends on Yelp and 18 friends, and hers is buried. Why would either person Yelp again? I would be so frustrated with Yelp, I wouldn’t make another Yelp review. Yelp’s got to figure this out.
Now what can trigger Yelp’s filters? It’s important as a business that you understand what’s going to trigger their filter and filter out my good reviews. One is your IP address. If someone is on your WiFi leaving a review from a traditional computer just directly on Yelp on yelp.com, right? On their website, it’s probably going to be filtered. The difference here is they can be on your WiFi on their Yelp app if they’re a regular Yelper and it’s actually going to be good for you because if they Yelp somewhere other than the location of your store, that’s also going to trigger the Yelp filter and it could filter out the review.
That’s probably what happened to Judy. Judy probably made this review from home, and so Yelp filtered it out, so we do want them to make the reviews from our place of business but we don’t want them to use our computer because another way to trigger the Yelp filter is to have many reviews originating from one computer. I know a lot of car dealers out there did this. You have that one iPad that had all the review sites on it and you hand it over to the customer at the F and I desk and you’d have them fill out a positive review for you right there, and what happened, all of those reviews, that’s right, they got wiped away because they didn’t pass the algorithm at Yelp or even Google.
Another way to trigger the Yelp filter is they’ve only written one review or they have no profile information or they don’t link their Yelp profile to their Facebook profile. Another way to trigger is if it’s strongly slanted, both plus or minus, and then finally, if it’s too short or provides no details, that will be triggered as well, so “The worst service ever” might be too short for Vladimir. All right, so those are the things that can trigger Yelp reviews, so how can you make sure that you get your reviews on Yelp?
One way that you get reviews on Yelp is to ask. Make sure you’re asking for Yelp reviews but don’t do it too often. For example, if your business only sees a couple of dozen consumers a day, don’t try to get 10 Yelp reviews in a single day because Yelp is going to start to flag those, so take your time. Ask for a few Yelp reviews a day. That’s all it takes. It doesn’t take more than 1 Yelp review a day but for a year, you’ve got what? 250 to 350 reviews, right? In store is best. It’s best when they’re standing in your dealership or in your restaurant or at your hotel, and you just ask them. If you’ve already identified them as a raving fan, you say to them, “Hey, do you have the Yelp app on your phone?” If they are a regular Yelper, you say, “Hey, would you mind Yelping about us now? We really want everyone to know what customers think about us.”
We need to give the reviewers some credibility. That’s another way to get our reviews on Yelp, so look at this Jonathan H’s review. This should’ve been flagged, right? It shouldn’t have made it through. It’s a 1 star review, it has no detail, it’s too short, he has 0 friends and he’s left 1 review, so why did this review get through? How come this review got through? This review got through because 2 people said it was useful and 1 person said it was funny. See, when you wrote reviews as useful, funny or cool, you will give legitimacy to the review, you will give credibility to the review, so make sure you and your employees are seeking out those 5 star reviews that are getting buried and vote for them, okay? When a new 5 star review pops up, vote for it. Respond to all the positive reviews.
If there’s a back and forth an engaged business, it’s more likely that that review is going to be posted on the good side of Yelp versus the buried side. Make sure you friend the reviewer and have your employees friend the reviewer as well. Remember, the more friends they have, the more likely that review’s going to make it through. Now, because this review was voted useful, funny or cool, that’s why this 1 star review probably passed. Later, we’re going to show how to share filtered reviews because you’re still not going to have all the reviews that you’d like to be shown to your customers shown, so there’s a Subaru dealer in California when we look at best and worst practices. We look at what they’re doing to get their filtered reviews shown.