Online reviews for any business have become not only important, but essential in terms of gaining and retaining clientele and upholding a strong and positive online presence. Stats show that 88% of people reading online reviews do so to judge the quality of a business and the same figure trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. 72% of consumers also say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. This alone proves the vital importance of spending some time looking at your online review process.
So, why are online reviews so important to local businesses, particularly beauty salons?
Reviews organically help to grow and promote your salon. It’s real people making real judgements and recommendations (hopefully!) about your business, which consumers now take very seriously. Here’s a few reasons why this is so important:
- Reviews build an authentic online word of mouth which, in today’s social media-obsessed world, is gold dust. As these are references from real clients, consumers trust and believe in them
- They build trust with clients you’ve not even met yet. A client who has searched for you online can create a trusting relationship with your business before they’ve even stepped through the door by reading several heartfelt recommendations from your past clients. You will inevitably receive some negative comments (it’s always going to be the way in the service industry) but, this won’t ruin people’s opinions as long as they are dealt with well. There is more about this further into this blog
- Reviews give you real feedback to work on. Clients leaving the salon might not feel comfortable letting you know anything that may have irked them during their visit. Although frustrating in the public eye, view negative reviews as a learning curve and make changes based on every single one
- They help with your Google ranking, which is of the utmost importance to any business
How can we get more reviews and boost our online profile?
Getting fantastic reviews really comes down to your customer service. This makes a huge impact on how consumers feel after a visit, whether they like their treatment or not, phenomenal customer service can really make a big difference to their recommendation. Alongside this, there are some proactive things you can do to gain more online reviews:
Make the most of your loyal customers. Every salon has their regular, happy clients who come back time and time again. Feel confident enough to ask them to quickly log on and give you a review, explaining how it will help to boost the salon’s presence online.
- Put your current reviews on your site with a link to your review pages (see below for some options) and encourage more comments
- Offer your staff incentives to ask their customers to pop online and leave a feedback. More often than not, customers don’t even think to do this, even though they are happy with their treatment
- Get all your stylists into the habit of responding to compliments. When a client is paying at the desk and telling you what a great experience they’ve had, drop in a mention about your reviews
- Make use of online review sites as well as comments on your website. Here are some to look into if you haven’t already:
This is the main review site to focus on at first. It’s a free service and means reviews show up on all local searches.
Make sure you claim your Yelp business page. This review site is very popular with affluent 25 to 34-year-olds, which is a crucial audience for beauty and hair salons.
There are several specific industry-based review sites, but SalonSpy is suggested as a better-known choice. Like Yelp, claim your business on SalonSpy, but this beauty niche site prompts clients for reviews and salons for responses, which can increase your figures.
What to do about negative reviews?
Occasional negative reviews are almost unavoidable, but the most important thing to remember is your response to them. A great response to a bad review can be even more effective in proving your commitment to good service than simply a good review itself. If you receive a bad review, see it as reputation management and have a clear process in place.
- You need to respond to negative reviews much more urgently than saying “thank you” to a great one. Publically apologising to the displeased customer and offering a resolution proves to other customers that you really do care about your customer service. Remember to never get heated or frustrated online with a customer; it can only do more harm than good. It’s good practice to organise a dedicated person on the team to take care of responding to reviews to ensure they get checked frequently and the tone of voice is consistent throughout
- Take it offline. Reach out to your unhappy customer and offer a solution in the way of a discount or some sort of incentive to return to you for a second chance. This is a great way to turn a bad review into a glowing one and just requires some extra time and effort
Online reviews can seem like a scary opportunity for negative press. However, using the review sites available now can boost your business and grow your clientele exponentially through organic and authentic personal recommendations. It is well worth the added thought and effort to grow and promote your salon online.