Review Management and Improvement Strategies For Franchises And Multi-Location Businesses

Consumer reviews, and their impact on both business reputation and organic search results have quickly risen
to a critical level for franchises and multi-location businesses.

15 or so years ago, consumer opinions were largely based upon responses to advertising and word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends. Then came the full-on internet access phenomenon. Fast-forward to today, and over 90% of consumers are being affected by the online reviews left by others for local businesses. Google has recently upped the ante by scraping reviews from OTHER sites and embedding them in your Google My Business listing:

There has also been a surge of new repositories and websites, some generic and some industry-specific, collecting reviews as part of their data mining and monetization model. There are now estimated to be over 100 websites actively promoting to consumers to leave a review for pretty much every business that exists in the U.S.–and it just keeps coming! Tracking a footprint that large, especially when it grows in size regularly, is too labor intensive to be accomplished without a robust review management solution that addresses ALL of the aspects of review management, not just scraping and displaying the bad news.

As a function of Google’s seemingly endless quest to provide the best, most relevant results for any search, the search algorithm is now much more focused on reviews. And not just the QUALITY of those reviews but the QUANTITY as well. This new parameter has caused review management to become an imperative for all businesses. Even the big box brands and chains are not immune to the effects of negative reviews. We can wrap all the technology around this problem that we like, but we can never change the biology of the consumer. Angry, dissatisfied consumers are 10-20 times more likely to leave a negative review. This is not hard to reconcile. Take a local service business that has been around for 10 or more years, and has served literally thousands of customers. And yet they have a small number of reviews in the aggregate, many times dominated by the negative postings and end up with a less than stellar average. Dangerous to be sure, as all of our research points to the undeniable reality that over 50% of consumers will bypass any business with a reviews average lower than 4.0 (scale of 1-5 being the standard). This is an extremely disturbing situation. This would mean that HALF OF ALL ADVERTISING DOLLARS are wasted with a low reviews average. It would also mean that HALF OF ALL ORGANIC SEARCH DISCOVERIES will NOT result in capturing and converting the consumer into a customer.

Franchises and multi-location businesses exist to service a larger service area. Locally, regionally or even nationally the brand-building process never really stops. And the more localized the business model, the larger the effects. Combined with the constant addition of more and more websites gathering reviews and you have a catastrophe brewing in any market…and the more competitive the market the more impactful the decision to implement a review management solution becomes.

In order to succeed in the ‘Battle of the Reviews’ and insure ongoing business health, it’s time to consider a complete review management solution. Making sure that you’re touching all of the bases. Simple tracking or monitoring has been widely available but serves only as a one-dimensional approach and not an actual fix for the problem. You’ll need to look at the overall need, and the breakdown looks like this:

1. Total Visibility and Control Of ALL Reviews Across ALL Platforms

2. The ability to REQUEST REVIEWS using all tools possible including SMS TEXT, Email, Scan Codes and POS Materials

3. RESPOND to all reviews in real time easily from anywhere if necessary

4. DISPLAY the best reviews on websites and digital assets

5. Have the experienced support and consulting to become expert at addressing BAD REVIEWS and removing FAKE or MALICIOUS reviews

6. Work with a Review Management company that is dedicated to updating, upgrading and supporting the most robust system available for franchises and multi-location businesses. A company that constantly finds and adds all relevant repositories and sites to the service to keep the complete picture at your fingertips.

This is the essential shopping list at which you would have arrived, after countless meetings, internal research and input from all levels of management. The good news is that the system you’ll need already exists, and at a very affordable price. Review Control™ Review and Reputation Management services is the only call you’ll need to make to get the very best in technology, support and pricing model.

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