Episode 4: Online Reviews & Star Power

Online reputation lives forever, and business owners need to think about that when managing their brand.

Episode 4: Online Reviews & Star Power

Online reputation lives forever, and business owners need to think about that when managing their brand. On today’s episode, David talks about cultivating your reputation, where you should get your reviews, how to respond to positive and negative reviews, and more.

Manage your online reviews, improve your online reputation, and more when you visit getkydos.com today.

Show Notes

Coming soon!

Show Transcript


Alright. And I’m going to say, mark. Hello, and welcome back to The Buck Stops Here podcast. I’m your host, David Maples, and today we’re going to be talking about reputational excellence or, in the online world, as I like to call it, star power. Reputation is one of those things that’s kind of it’s like a mood.



It precedes you when you enter a room. It’s always there for you to think about or talk about. And it’s something that’s kind of baked into the DNA of your company. Your reputation, like I said, it precedes you before you enter a room. It lets people know what they’re getting when they deal stuff with you.



And for good or for ill, your reputation is one of those things that, as Warren Buffett said, it takes 20 years to build a reputation but five minutes to ruin it. And if you think about that, you’ll do things differently. Now in the world today, if you were to take a look at the world right now and look at businesses and things out there, you’ll see that a lot of companies have done a lot to really damage their reputations. A lot of celebrities have done stuff to kind of bake in or destroy their reputations.



And today, we’re going to be talking about reputation, how to think about it at your business, and how to develop a plan for dealing with it online. It’s a little thing that kind of I like to say that reputation online lives forever.



And you can change it, but it’s important for you to think about it and everything you’re doing. So to start with a little story, I worked for a games company years ago, 20 or so years ago. I was on the board of directors of a games company. And we had a product that we released to the market nationally. And we were really proud of it, as you are when you produce a product yourself, you really are excited about the product. You’re really excited about it. You send it out to a whole bunch of people to get reviews and try to find out stuff about it – critics who will review your product.



So, we sent out our product to people thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread. And, by and large, the reviews were pretty positive, and we had some pretty that were good helpful critical reviews. And we sent out this one to this one reviewer or review company. Back then, it was called an ezine. It was like an electronic, you know, it’s like email.



It’s like electronic magazine. I don’t think that term has been used in probably 15 years, but that being said, we sent it out to one of these places. And they gave it to a guy who reviewed our product and literally spent the next ten pages cutting it to ribbons. So, at our board of directors meeting, we got that feedback, and it was kind of like a kick in the teeth. We were all stressed out about it, and we, collectively as a group, decided that you know what? This is a little no-name ezine.



It doesn’t matter. I mean, what’s the chance that that matters, ever? And years and years later, I was talking to somebody about this games company I’d been involved in. And people were asking about, oh, yeah, I’d like to find out information about it, et cetera. I told them the name of this product and everything like that.



And they went online, and the only review, pretty much, the only review that happened to survive online was this horrible, scathing, cutting, terrible review that we, as the board of directors, had decided to ignore. We totally decided to ignore, you know, a review and not say anything to kind of leave that out there. And the problem with it is that nature, as they like to say, abhors a vacuum. And if you don’t respond to negative criticism in some way, and we’ll talk a little bit about online, about how to do that later in this episode, it can be really damaging to your brand.



And, in my particular case, it’s kind of hard for me to even tell people about this thing. This product that I was very, very proud of. I was listed as a developer on it. I got involved with a video game company. We were doing a whole bunch of stuff for online games and very, very proud of that.



And for that one horrible, scathing review to have survived 20 years of the Internet is really frustrating. And as I like to say, everything remains online forever. And so it’s one of the things you really have to think about a little bit when you’re doing things. So, when you’re managing your brand and your reputation, you have to think about a lot of things as far as your reputation goes. And a lot of companies, I think, miss the boat on this.



They think that reputation is, ah, my reviews online. The only ones I need to worry about are my reviews of my product or my services. And ask yourself right now, when was the last time you asked your clients or your customers how you’re doing? Now, some companies do surveys, but if you’re a smaller company, you probably don’t have a formalized process. You probably scattershot do these things, and you don’t really have a process for following up on it on a regular basis.



But when it comes down to it, at the same time, is that when you’re talking about managing your brand, the first thing you have to remember is that when people have a bad experience, they tell seven to nine people, on average. Seven to nine people, on average, if they have a bad experience. If they have a great experience, they’re lucky to tell one or two. I never really understood exactly why that is. Maybe if it bleeds, it leads. Negative news travels fast. Who knows? But that seven to nine people is a big deal, when you’ve had a bad experience.



But, when you put it online, it becomes magnified from two reasons. First of all, these things live forever. And second of all, online, people are nine to ten times more likely to tell other people. To share their bad experiences. Which, if you were to work the numbers out, they’re between 63 and 100 times more likely to tell people they’ve had a bad experience. The numbers are staggering, and that can be partly because of the anonymity that’s granted from being behind a keyboard.



It could be because, telling somebody face to face that they really are terrible, that their product is awful, is really really tough. But it’s really important for people to think about their brand online. But what a lot of people miss is they miss the 360 degrees, the omnidirectional nature of reviews online. And I think that’s the big thing that gets missed a lot. So, when you do reviews for your employees, there’s a type of review that’s used in management circles called a 360 degree review.



And a 360 degree review, if you’re familiar with this, has to do with your manager reviews you, your subordinates review you, and your peers review you in an organization. And I submit to you that that’s the kind of reputation management you should be engaged in or looking at in the world at large. You should be thinking, how do your customers look at you and your product? What do they think about you? What is that reputation?



What does it look like? What do your competitors think about you? Those are your peers. What do they know about you? And the thing that that’s important, a lot of people are like, well, why do I care what my peers would think about you?



Well, it has to do with a matter of respect and about a lot of things in the market. If you are the 800 pound gorilla or if you’re really, really and you’re a boxer and you’ve got a wicked left hook, I might think twice about insulting your firm or your business or your product or whatever you do. It’s important for them to respect you in the marketplace, because respect means you can usually have a more honest playing field. They’re going to be careful about coming after your clients or more careful if they realize that if you come after theirs, they’re going to lose their lunch.



You’re going to take business from them. If they respect you, it’s very very important.



And the last one I talk about is, what I consider the management review, is more it’s how your employees talk about you in the marketplace. You have to understand that that’s important. Your employees, I think, are the manager review that’s as important as the customer or client review. It’s that it’s important for you to know what your employees think about you, because that affects how they talk to your clients.



It matters how they treat their clients. It’s how you recruit and hire, because that’s one of the things you have to do to grow. I’m going to guarantee if you have employees, you’re going to have to get more. At some point in time, your people will move, they’ll move on, they’ll get married. It doesn’t matter. Something will change in their life cycle, and you will lose some of them at some point in time.



And it’s a lot easier to recruit and hire new talent is if you have a good reputation as a company in the marketplace, and that’s one thing a lot of people miss. And the last thing on that is you need to think about before you even get into all this, what kind of reputation do you want to cultivate? What do you want people to think about your brand when they think about you? If you are a big, scary law firm and you want people to think about your brand and say, “you know, they’re not real personable, but damn, they’re good.”



You probably designed the brand to be black and white and look like a bar code and just be really scary. You’re like, man, they’re sexy. They’re confident. They’re no frills. They’re expensive as heck, but they’re good.



And that reputation is something you cultivate and you do things on. You work with that. What I want to talk about for the rest of this podcast today is the online aspect of reviews. What does that look like? What does that look like for you? We’re going to talk a little bit about social psychology and what people actually believe with online reviews, and how that works and how things change on there.



There are studies that show-, and Amazon, by the way, you can look at Amazon and Google and blame the big tech companies for a lot of this, right? Because a lot of this is kind of the wisdom of the crowds. There’s some data that suggests- there used to be a game show on called Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? And they had this different thing. You know, phone a friend, which is basically calling an expert. There’s a 50/50, where four multiple choice answers.



They get rid of two. And there’s one called poll the audience. And the exact numbers kind of escape me at the moment. I want to say it was like 70% plus accurate. 90% plus accurate, or whatever it is. But polling the audience, kind of the wisdom of the crowd, was better than your expert friend.



It was better than 50/50. Almost always. It was better than 50% of the time, with almost all trivia questions across the board. So, a lot of people use polling the audience at the low dollar value questions, when really, they should have been saving that up for the million dollars. If you’re playing the odds, that’s where you should have been spending that vital lifeline. And they weren’t.



But what it comes down to is that it turns out when you get a big enough data set, it turns out that the crowd a lot of times is right. But there’s some challenges in that. According to some studies, between three and 35% of all reviews on Amazon are fake. Now, Amazon doesn’t necessarily agree with the high end numbers.



It’s not germane to this, but some percentage of them are. And the problem with it is- that’s one of the reasons Amazon introduced the most helpful critical review that’s that three star review that says or the two star review that says,” Hey, great book, little light on substance.” Or, “I could have gotten this all out of the Ted Talk I watched.” Okay? Those are criticisms, right? And for good or for ill, they exist.



And by the way, those kind of reviews are kind of a blessing. I want to talk a little bit about star rating and star power for a minute. By the way, full disclosure, my company, Catapult Creative Media, has a piece of software that we have built from the ground up called Get Kydos. It’s from the Greek word for kudos or accolades.



It’s Get Kydos, K-Y-D-O-S-G-E-T-K-Y-D-O-S dot com. And we have a product that literally makes it easy for you to text and email people and get those reviews. It also lets you do some email marketing and text message marketing things as well. But the big thing is it’s really driven to get online reviews, and we’ve had huge success with it. And if you have an online review plan, the studies have shown just by using that, you can increase your revenues on your company if you start managing your reviews and cultivating and getting reviews online.



Doing nothing else, you can increase your revenues by 8% to 12% annually just by managing your own reviews. That’s powerful. Eight to 12%, just by investing a little money in technology and having a plan for that. And hopefully later in this episode, I’ll give you some ideas on how to do that. But here are some things we know about reviews to be true. First of all, when you go- think about yourself. 97% of people read online reviews.



Pretty much the only people who don’t, don’t have the Internet. They don’t have power or running water or something else. That’s not supposed to be derogatory, but they don’t have power, can’t get online. And the thing is, people who have intermittent power still read online reviews. Everybody does it. You have read online reviews at some point in time.



And if you say that you haven’t, I don’t know how you found this podcast. But the fact of the matter is everybody reads online reviews. About nine out of ten people trust online reviews as much as they trust word of mouth. And word of mouth marketing is a lot of times considered to be the most powerful type of marketing, but nine out of ten people think that that is as powerful as their word of mouth from their friends. But yet the majority of companies don’t have a plan to get online reviews and to cultivate them.



You’ve probably even ordered stuff off Amazon and things like that, and you’ve probably gotten a thing in the box that said, “Hey, give me an online review. It’s worth this much money.”



By the way, there are studies that have shown that a single online review – most companies value it somewhere in the neighborhood of between $50 and $100 per review. That’s crazy, right?



But that explains why the companies would be willing to give you a $20 or $50 gift card. And I’m not going into all the data on this today in this podcast, but there’s a ton of data out there about how much this can change your product sales online, but it applies to everything. It applies to your service and everything else. So, there’s two things to know about these.



First of all, where are the most important place to get reviews online? The number one place is probably Google. It’s probably the most trusted. Yelp is also probably, I would say, third place. Number two is probably Facebook. And then sometimes in your industry, there are places to have those things done.



Your employee reviews: the number one place that people probably go to look at those things is Glassdoor. It’s an online site. This is not, by the way, I’m not endorsing any of these things. It’s an online site, and people can go write anonymous reviews about your business, and they do, and they will.



Even if you’re a small business. Here’s the thing you have to understand, the truth wins out at some point in time. At some point, people can smell a liar. I tell people that if you have 100 out of 100 positive customer interactions, you have five stars on Google, and 100 reviews, the only thing I know about your company is that you’re a liar. And I know there are some people out there in their company like, no, we’ve got 500 reviews. They are all legitimate.



This is a no BS zone, guys. Stop lying to me and stop lying to yourself. That is not a true statement. You’ve either cherry picked and selected those reviews, or you have paid people to remove bad reviews, or you’ve done something. It doesn’t happen.



It’s not a true thing. And it turns out that the numbers bear this out. People don’t trust you after a certain number of reviews. After you hit kind of that number, depending on the industry, but it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of like 30 to 50 reviews. If you have five stars and you’re at more than 50 reviews, you’re a liar. And it actually starts to have a negative impact on your business. On Google, if you drop below about 3.7, it starts to have a definite, detrimental impact of revenues and people calling you.



I kind of call that the yellow zone. The warning zone, right? If you drop below two, just forget about it.



But really, you should have a healthy mix of reviews. You should have some three star reviews that you’ve responded to that are critical about your business. Maybe your price was high. The work was really good, but it’s more than I want to pay for it. Okay, that’s fine.



That’s a helpful critical view. Thank you so much for reviewing us. The other thing is, what do people trust? Do they trust one star reviews? No. You gotta look at one star reviews.



People know that there are some people out there who are just a little bizonkers about things. They give you one star. For me to give you one star at a restaurant, you’ve really got to mess up big, right? Or I’m just in a foul mood and people know that, right? You got the product.



One star, dead on arrival, shipped it back, the next one worked fine. Love it. One star. Really?



People don’t trust that or believe that. If you really want to hurt a company, give them a two star review and make it critical, and explain all the ways they messed up. But they also know, that on the other end, that people fake- and by the way, you will get fake reviews in your company. That’s the other reason why we know that you’re a five out of star or five star liar. If you’re a big enough company, you’re a target.



Your competitors will go write fake reviews, and you should have some one star reviews or two star reviews put in by companies. You only have five stars? You’ve done something about it. By the way, the other thing about it is, I’ve seen people do is they turn off the review thing on Google.



I don’t want people to give me reviews. I saw a giant law firm that I knew and these people, “Ah, we got rid of it. The partners didn’t like these bad reviews.” Man, that’s killing you, because everybody knows you turn those off. Or, they go look at the other firms and it’s as bad not having reviews at all.



It’s just like, man, you were afraid of people saying stuff about you? And people hate it. But I like to point out, my grandfather recently passed away. And my grandfather was one of those people, he never gave anybody five stars. Everybody got four. He would always say that there’s always room for improvement.



He’d say that you got to realize there’s always something to strive for. There’s always room for improvement. You should never be so secure in what you’re doing, you think you can’t get any better. Because when you’re at the top, you rot. That’s really stuck with me.



I think it’s important for you to understand that that healthy medium for most companies with the online review stars is about 4.3 to 4.5 or even 4.6 stars, right? Much above that or below it, above 50 reviews, it’s a problem. Really below that, you don’t have to worry about it a lot. But if you really want to talk about our review platform, you need to think about how many you need to have. You also need to think about the other things in the market you need to be doing, and you need to be looking at to see kind of what those things need to be, and where you need to have those online reviews.



That’s what you need to really be looking at. You need to say at the end of the day, what should the number of reviews I have be and what should they be for my business? And you need to respond to all of them. You need to look at them and you need to respond to all of them and say, good or bad? Positive reviews: they give you five stars or four stars.



And you say, thank you so much for being my product. We work hard to serve customers like you. Four stars: what can we do better next time? Or, thank them. Three star: don’t beat them up.



One star: do you respond? A lot of companies don’t. And there’s a couple of different ways to respond to one star reviews. And there’s kind of a mixed bag on here. But when you’re a big corporation and you say, apparently, “We don’t handle our clients that way.



That’s not how we respond to people. I don’t show you in our history at all.” The fact is that as a small company it’s really tempting to respond that. I just suggest not do that. Just say, “I’m sorry you had a bad indication.”



Don’t have a fight with them online. If you get in a fight with a pig, you both end up muddy. Don’t do that. You have people who are unreasonable. You can lay out your argument there, but I think professionally that’s not the place to be having those arguments.



At the end of the day, don’t have your argument with them online. Take it offline. Tell them to call you. You personally like to talk to them about what their challenges were and what happened, and you want to see if you can come to a resolution that’s beneficial for both.



Just take it offline. Don’t do that. But the most important thing for you to get there is get good reviews. And when you get a bad review, double your efforts. Turn around the next day and try to get five more good ones.



So with this, the things I want to say about it, you need to be careful. With buying reviews, people who supplement you, Google has said you can’t do that. You’re not allowed to do that. You’re not allowed to pay for reviews.



People do it all the time anyway. I’m saying that your mileage may vary. If Google catches you doing, you can get slapped on the wrist for it, or they can even take down all your reviews and disallow them. It’s important to get reviews from a lot of your people.



You can cherry pick reviews. And I know that’s tempting for a small company, especially in the beginning to just ask people who had a good experience, right? But it’s important to tell people to be honest, you know? If you think we did good. You can prep them and say, hey, give four or five stars are fine. I’ve always hated the corporations who basically give you a ten star rating factor, and they tell people like they only give them ten out of ten stars. The problem with it is you end up getting a bunch of garbage.



You need to have data. You need to survey and poll your people. And by the way, online reviews are part of it. You need to go get the reviews there, but you also need to be polling all your own people. And you can’t always poll your competition to find out. You can hire a third party firm, which is what I recommend doing, to see what people think about your company in the industry.



And there are companies out there who do that stuff. I’m associated with one called BFG Research, where they can poll the other competitors in the marketplace and see what they think of you. Because that’s important, too. It’s really important to get reviews from your employees, and encourage your employees to go online and review you. Employees when they leave or ask them to go on there and review you. You will not always have good reviews, and remember, they tend to skew negatively, especially if someone got fired from a company.



A lot of those people won’t complain.



But when people have had a great experience with your company, go and ask them. It’s really tempting the first couple of weeks of work to tell somebody to go give you a positive review online. I understand that’s tempting, because you’re kind of baking in stuff there. But ultimately, after you have a lot of reviews, it’s just like polling the audience on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. It doesn’t work. Eventually somebody will find you out for it.



But the big thing about it to remember it is there are basically three takeaways from today’s podcast. I’ve kind of covered a lot of ground here. The first thing you want to do. The three things are you want to audit your situation, you want to have a plan of action, and then you want to actually start taking action. So, today the first thing you want to do when you leave this podcast is you want to go online and look and see where your reviews are out there.



You want to go look at them online. You want to go look at them on Glassdoor. You wanna go look at them on Google and on Facebook and everywhere else, and get a good idea of what your review score is. And you want to see, by the way, the other thing I didn’t talk about earlier, which may be important to remember, the only reviews that really matter are the recent ones.



If they’re older than 90 days, that doesn’t matter. The star rating is the number one thing they look at first. You know, 4.3 to 4.6 is where you want to be. And then people look at recent reviews. If you are a hotel that had major problems and were renovated two years ago, you can let people know.



Hey, we went into renovation. We changed management two years ago. I’d like you to try us out again. Please let us know, et cetera. There’s a lot of things you can do like with that and people know it.



But the recent reviews are the ones that really matter. A review on a product from two years ago or a different model number completely different. Not worth it. Important to have them because it shows longevity about your company. But you want to audit reviews and see what you’ve got. Now, we’ll have in another podcast, we’ll talk more about testimonials and case studies.



By the way, those are basically kind of putting media on your own website and platforms you control. But people know that those things have been cultivated. Yes! Is it important to testimonials and a whole bunch of written ones are very powerful, but it’s a different kind of animal than online reviews, and they’re treated differently.



Testimonials on your website. People know are probably baked in or something like that. They don’t know if those video testimonials are real or paid actors. But you want to have an audit of your online reviews. You want to look and see what they are on Glassdoor.



The other platforms out there. Google, Facebook, Yelp, MerchantCircle, Manta. There’s literally 50 or 60 review platforms out there. There’s about five major ones, which in no particular order are Google, Facebook, Yelp, and then kind of after that you’re looking at stuff like Yellow Pages and a couple others. And they might be industry specific. They might be AVO for lawyers.



There are reviews on Realtor.com if you’re a real estate agent, so every industry is slightly different. You want to develop, the next step is to develop a plan for your reviews. Okay? The plan for review is when are you going to ask for reviews in your process, in your sales process? When do you ask for reviews? How are you going to ask for them?



Are you going to send them an email every time? Are you going to hire us or a company like us using a platform like Getkydos.com? Are you going to do that? The question is, you need to have a plan of action and you have a way to execute it. Because if you just get an email or a text message, email is only 15% of them open.



99% of text messages are open. You want to make it easy for people. You don’t want to put barriers in place, and you want to make it very easy. You want to kind of make it simple for them to execute the reviews. And the last thing is from there, after you have a plan for reviews, you need to actually execute the plan. And the thing I’m going to say for this is the bonus credit on this round is your plan of action is every time we finish up a ticket with a client.



If you’re a hair salon, every time we finish up a ticket, we ask them for an online review, and you ask them right then and there. You type it into your review platform thing on your phone, et cetera, and you say, hey, would you go review us online right now? Because they’re much more likely to do it right then. Your friend who says they’re going to write a you review, you know what happens? Never. It just never happens.



And it’s not because people are trying to be jerks. It’s because they have a lot of other things that are going on in their lives as well. And you need to start taking action. You have to make this part of your warm up exercises. The thing you do every morning, you stretch before you do your workout at the gym, et cetera.



You need to do that every single time, and you need to do this every time. And you need to get a whole bunch of views out there. If you want to increase your business by 10% in the next twelve months, then go ahead look at your online reviews, get a plan for reviews, and start taking action tomorrow.



If you do those three things and execute that with deliberate practice and intensity every single week, I guarantee you will see an increase in your bottom line.



So, this has been David Maples for The Buck Stops Here Podcast. I appreciate you guys for listening in. If you enjoyed this video, you can give us an upvote here. Like, click, share. You can see our podcast or watch it online and you can listen to it on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, and wherever other good podcasts are hosted. Thank you for listening. Go out there. Be awesome and have a great week.

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