Customer reviews are a double-edged sword, but a necessary one. As a salon or spa owner it is vital to the success of your business that you facilitate the review process with your customers – especially your happy, “repeat” customers.
Here are some online review stats from 2018 that say it all.
- 92 percent of consumers read online reviews when looking for a local business (that’s you).
- 68 percent of consumers will form an opinion about your local business after reading just 1-6 online reviews.
- 28 percent of consumers said the reviews had to be written within the last month to be relevant.
Let’s unpack a couple of those so you can make sure your salon or spa is making the most of online reviews.
92 percent of consumers read online reviews when looking for a local business
Having trouble getting new clients? Maybe your online review presence isn’t where it needs to be. And where is that, exactly? According to 2018 findings by ReviewTrackers.com, the breakdown of review sites that consumers just before visiting a business looks like this:
- Google: 63.65%
- Yelp: 45.18%
- Facebook: 23.14%
- Other: 14.88%
Is my business set up for customers to leave reviews on Google or Yelp?
Good question. A very important question. In order to be discoverable as a brick & mortar business on Google, you’re salon or spa will have to set up a Google My Business account.
Similarly, you will need to add your business to Yelp in order for customers to leave reviews and for you to respond to them (more on this later)!
Hopefully you have a Facebook business page set up. If you don’t I highly recommend it. Even though Instagram is becoming the platform of choice for sharing after shots of stylists’ work, Facebook remains an important platform for displaying essential business information – including reviews. It’s also easy to use the Facebook platform to engage with customers who might leave negative reviews.
What next? Well, you’ll want to let your customers know to leave reviews. This brings us to…
28 percent of consumers said the reviews had to be written within the last month to be relevant
It is not enough to just set up the above listings and hope that reviews trickle in. Even if they do come in, you can’t afford for that to happen in fits and starts. 28 percent of a consumer population is a significant number. Is your salon really so booked that you can afford to miss out on 28% of potential new clients?
All the more reason to be proactive about encouraging your customers to be leaving reviews on all available listings. How do you go about doing that? You can mention it during or after their appointment, send an email (you ARE collecting emails, right?), or use an automated service like SalonTarget’s Review Accelerator.
Shameless plug: Our Review Accelerator is awesome. We use it to great effect in our own salon. It sends out an automated reminder to recent customers to go leave a review at our salon’s Google My Business listing, Yelp listing, our Facebook page AND on our Yellow Pages listing. It’s fully customizable and provides links to each listing to make it easy for customers to leave a review.
SalonTarget software also has a built-in review feature (pictured right), which sends text/email reminders to clients to leave reviews and can be featured right on your salon or spa’s website.
Set it and forget it? You wish
Online reviews are part of customer relationship building and maintenance. Don’t think of it as one more digital space taking up your precious time – think of it as another opportunity to stay in touch with a customer and respond to constructive feedback.
Replying to online reviews is especially important if/when they’re negative. This is a chance to win them back, or at the very least clear up a misunderstanding. It’s also a chance to show anyone else reading (like potential customers, for example) that you’re an empathetic, open-minded business owner who truly cares about a customer’s experience. One phrase to guide you here: Kill ‘em with kindness.
Want to learn more about SalonTarget’s Review Accelerator and built-in customer relationship tools? Get in touch with us today!