• How to Prevent Bad Reviews from Destroying your Reputation

    Kent Ashby  •  November 19, 2017

Your online reputation is more important that you may think. According to BrightLocal, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. These days, consumers use online reviews before nearly every purchase and the golf industry is no exception. Before playing a new course, golfers are increasingly more likely to do some online research, primarily looking to answer two questions: How much does it cost to play and is the course “worth it”. Reviews play a large role in the latter.

Online reviews are a part of an environment that can be a hard to control. For every 1,000 good customers, there is always 1 bad one. The unfortunate truth is that users with bad experiences are much more likely to leave a review than those that have had good experiences. This fact leaves businesses feeling frustrated and helpless. What can you do?

The Solution

There are a few things you can do to combat negative reviews, which we’ve outlined below:

Asking for Positive Reviews

Ask nicely. Yes, just simply ask. Encourage customers that have had positive experiences to leave a review on the platform of their choosing. Facebook, Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor are all some of the most popular review sites on the internet, so these are all good options. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how often people will accept the invitation.

However, we all know how it goes. You get busy, forget to ask the customer, and now your opportunity for a 5-star review is gone. Luckily, with the right technology, there are ways to automate this “asking” process completely. More on that in a bit.

Make It Easy to Vent

It’s likely that all of you have had such a bad experience with a business that you feel compelled to tell someone, whether you’ve left a bad review online as a result, or just bad-mouth the company to your friends and acquaintances. One effective way to prevent customers from leaving bad reviews in public places is to make it easy for them to complain and feel heard by the management of your business.

Not every customer with a bad experience is going to confront your staff personally, so it’s important to provide a less direct way for these customers to be heard. A suggestion box is one idea, but this still requires that unhappy customer to take action in a public environment. People prefer to leave their feedback digitally these days.

Respond to Bad Reviews

Some bad reviews will be completely uncalled for, while others may actually have merit. Regardless, it’s important to provide an appropriate and professional response to these reviews, not only to help recover that customer, but to lessen the negative impact those reviews have to potential new customers reading them.

Being defensive or abrasive in your response is never a good idea. This can hurt your reputation further. Warm responses with an invitation for further contact with management are typically a well-received, and onlookers won’t be a put off by any misinterpretations they may have. You don’t always need to provide an explanation when responding to bad reviews. Oftentimes, a humble apology is the best defense.

1-2-1’s Review & Reputation Management Tool

We’ve developed a tool that allows golf courses to get more 4 and 5-star reviews, prevent bad reviews, and do it all in an automated fashion. Our Review & Reputation Management Tool integrates with the POS system to send an email to golfers after they’ve completed their round. The golfers are then encouraged to leave a 4 or 5-star review, with multiple platforms to choose from. Those that choose a 3-star and under rating are then brought to a contact form to reach out to the management of the course with their feedback, privately. Think of it as a virtual suggestion box.

By automatically inviting customers to leave feedback with our Review & Reputation Management Tool, you’ll improve your online ratings, significantly reduce the number of bad reviews that get published, and receive invaluable feedback to help improve your golf facility.

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