When was the last time you needed something, and turned to Google Maps to get the answer? I had to visit my in-laws last week, and knew that afterwards, I was going to want to go someplace nice to eat. I’m not real familiar with the restaurants around them, so I figured I would take a peek at what was in the area.
I loaded up the town, and saw several restaurants in their immediate area. Now, rather than just basing where I went by the name of the establishment, I looked at the reviews showing on Google. I’m sure I’m not the only person that has done this…
What we’re talking about is virtual word of mouth. Every business nowadays has reviews online. It’s not limited to restaurants. If you show up on a map, chances are, you have at least one review. How often do you go and look at your reviews? And how often do you encourage people to add new ones?
As I read through many of the reviews, it was obvious that some restaurants weren’t encouraging people to review. There were only extremely good reviews, or extremely bad. It was the “Everything was perfect, come here – oops, I mean, go there – often!” style review, which was obviously written by an employee of the establishment. There were also the “If the restaurant burned to the ground, they would finally be able to say they cooked the food.” type of review from someone whose only goal is to hurt the business.
When I was at my in-laws, I asked them where they would go, and got a real review. They told me that the place was quick, good food, and that the staff was nice. They told me that the parking was a little rough, since it was only on the street parking, but it wasn’t that hard to find a spot. Lastly, they told me it was kid friendly, and that they were used to having an 18 month old throw the occasional fit. Now, that’s a review!
How many customers would actually give you a real, useful review, if your business made it easy for them? The problem is, unless your service is either extremely good, or extremely bad, most people won’t bother.
My free suggestion for businesses today is to create a QR code that links to your Google Places Page. Simply find your business on Google maps, and click on it. Once it opens into the Google Places page, use the “Link” button to get the direct URL to go to this page, and create a QR code for it. Post it in your business. On this QR code, tell people that you want their feedback. And then check it often! Watch for trends, and take the advice that people offer.
Chances are, you will get flamed more than once, but understand that these people probably would have given a poor review without your encouragement. By showing you care about their review, you are automatically going to increase the positive vibe from the average customer. Now, go get some virtual word of mouth!