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The Terrifying Power of User Reviews

Small Biz Buzz hosts Crystal Heuft and Rob Stevenson welcome guest Paige Clark to talk about how customers’ online reviews set the precedent for your company’s success. Consumer reviews hold more leverage and are more trusted than a simple business description. They also talk about how to maximize the power of positive reviews to drive revenue and relevance and how a company should handle negative reviews. Tune in for more.


Speaker 1: 00:00 Howdy, listeners. As we all know, planet Earth has 7.5 billion people, and 7.4 billion of those people have small businesses. Now, to be fair, numbers that size can be hard to envision and to be even fairer, most of what I just said is entirely made up. But, I'll tell you what isn't made up, Keap. Keap is the all-in-one client management software designed specifically for small businesses. Keap takes the most annoying and laborious parts of running a small business and metaphorically tosses them into the sun. Stop grinding yourself to death with busy work and repetitive tasks. Let Keap integrate your customer followups, messaging automation, next level appointment setting and so much more. Head over to keap.com and start your free trial of Keap Grow, Keap Pro, or for those looking for something beefier, talk to one of our coaches about Infusionsoft, the product that started it all. More business, less work, that's Keap. Just go to keap.com to start your free trial. That's K-E-A-P.com. One more time, that's K-E-A-P.com.

Crystal Heuft: 01:03 Hi, this is Crystal.

Rob Stevenson: 01:04 And I'm Rob.

Crystal Heuft: 01:05 And this is Small Biz Buzz presented by Keap.

Rob Stevenson: 01:09 Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the Small Biz Buzz. I'm Rob and I'm here with my partner in crime, Crystal. Say hi Crystal.

Crystal Heuft: 01:16 Hey.

Rob Stevenson: 01:17 And today we are joined by the lovely and talented Paige Clark, and we are going to talk about the terrifying world of online reviews. And if anyone can talk about the terrifying world of online reviews, it's going to be our buddy Paige. How's it going Paige?

Paige Clark: 01:32 It's going great.

Rob Stevenson: 01:33 Cool. So hit me, what's the worst review you've ever seen online ever? Like for a real company that you could have impacted?

Paige Clark: 01:42 I did see some that were for hotels. Hotels' reviews is a dark and scary place. So if you ever want to just-

Rob Stevenson: 01:51 What was the hotel?

Paige Clark: 01:53 ... scrub your skin a little bit, and take a shower for a few hours, read some hotel reviews about the nasty stuff. Think about like the Dateline where they go-

Crystal Heuft: 02:02 No, thank you.

Paige Clark: 02:02 ... in with a black light done on the internet.

Rob Stevenson: 02:05 See, I like to live dangerously. I will go on to Priceline, and I will buy a hotel night blind where they don't even tell me the name. I don't care.

Paige Clark: 02:14 But, you know how many stars it has?

Rob Stevenson: 02:17 Oh, well I'm going for one and two star, daddy's cheap.

Paige Clark: 02:20 You do not. You do not go for one and two stars.

Rob Stevenson: 02:22 Well, it depends. It depends on the neighborhood.

Paige Clark: 02:24 Those are for the adrenaline junkies.

Rob Stevenson: 02:27 So you're talking about sheets that have holes in them, or there used to be carpet, or you have to step over a corpse to get in.

Paige Clark: 02:32 Stains with pictures included.

Rob Stevenson: 02:34 On the online reviews?

Paige Clark: 02:35 Yes.

Rob Stevenson: 02:36 So, that is fascinating.

Crystal Heuft: 02:37 I need the link immediately.

Rob Stevenson: 02:40 So, talk to us. Let's hit the Wayback Machine. Talk to us about your experience with online reviews. Where does this all start for you?

Paige Clark: 02:47 So for online reviews, I kind of fell into it. I've done it for a variety of different industries. I've done it for the hospitality industry, the restaurant industry, some other ones in there. And it's really out of necessity, because I don't think it's something that a lot of companies really identify the importance of getting those reviews. But-

Crystal Heuft: 03:16 Or monitoring them.

Paige Clark: 03:17 ... or monitoring them, and those can get kind of out of hand. You have to be very selective about where you're monitoring your reviews, but sometimes they're just kind of left to their own life, and to grow into whatever beast they want to be grown into. But for service industries especially, so thinking of your hospitality and your restaurant industries, that's where the reviews are either make it or break it. I know the turnaround on the restaurant industry is really, really high for the success of the restaurant, but when a friend asks you to go to some place new to go eat, what do you do?

Rob Stevenson: 03:58 It's-

Paige Clark: 03:58 You look at the review.

Crystal Heuft: 03:58 I don't.

Rob Stevenson: 03:59 So we did a bunch of research for the show and the topic, and Crystal and I were talking before the show and there's two stats that really stand out. The first is that, 90% of people will look for an online review before they make a sale or they buy a product or service, and that's fascinating to me. The other side, and somebody put this stat forward like it's a legitimate stat, 14% of people will buy something from a company that is rated one or two stars and that's interesting. But it also tells me, 86% of people will not buy something from a company that has a one or two star review. So as a small business owner, how do you even begin to negotiate this world?

Paige Clark: 04:41 I think the 14% are the people who want to try them out. All those YouTube videos of people who are saying, "I am trying the worst of, [cross talk] insert product here."

Rob Stevenson: 04:50 Oh, I'm going to the worst restaurant in San Francisco.

Paige Clark: 04:53 Those are getting really popular. "I'm trying the worst nail salon, I'm trying the worst barber, I'm trying the worst makeup artist," all of those. I've seen a lot of those in my Facebook feed.

Crystal Heuft: 05:01 And that folks is the difference between an elder millennial and a young millennial.

Rob Stevenson: 05:05 And a regular millennial. So it's almost like I'm hate participating in this because I want content for my personal YouTube page.

Paige Clark: 05:13 Right, that's probably where [crosstalk 00:05:14].

Crystal Heuft: 05:13 No, thank you.

Paige Clark: 05:14 ... that 14% comes in or white elephant gifts or gag gifts.

Crystal Heuft: 05:17 I feel like Rob took his drink, his Popeye spinach, or ate his Wheaties because he just randomly hopped right into this topic, full steam ahead. But I think there's also kind of just talking about the importance of reviews in general without diving into so much at the management of it, because I think lots of people, which I know we've hit on a bit, but why do people trust reviews more? Let's hit it at the base. Why do people trust reviews more than they would just trying somewhere out more now than in the past?

Rob Stevenson: 05:51 I love that. If I asked five strangers for opinions on something, I'm not listening to any of them. Why do I listen to it online?

Paige Clark: 05:56 So I'll use examples, because I think the best way for our small businesses to understand why things are important, is to put themselves in the mind of their customers. So we're all buyers, we're all consumers. How do we act? So for me, I can say, my friend texted me out of the blue last week, said, "Oh, my gosh. I got the best moisturizer, and it's this name and it's by this company. It's so amazing. It took away all the redness of my skin." Yu-huh.

Crystal Heuft: 06:31 But that's called word of mouth.

Paige Clark: 06:32 Right?

Crystal Heuft: 06:33 I'm trying to take the jump to reviews.

Paige Clark: 06:35 So I went into the review, and I went into the product, looked around-

Crystal Heuft: 06:40 Because you didn't trust your friend?

Paige Clark: 06:41 No, because I trusted my friend because I wanted to buy it. She told me and I wanted to buy it, and I think what reviews have the power to do is it leads you to affirming that buying decision. So I get a recommendation, I get a word of mouth request, depending on the friend, I might not just trust them. I want to learn for myself. But her recommendation brought me to the product or the service, and then by my own curiosity, I did some scrolling, looked through the reviews right there on their product page and I actually bought that moisturizer.

Rob Stevenson: 07:19 So let's talk about that as a group. What's the difference between a review and a recommendation?

Paige Clark: 07:25 No, I think they're the same thing.

Rob Stevenson: 07:26 That's interesting.

Paige Clark: 07:27 Maybe just different mediums.

Rob Stevenson: 07:29 There's an Instagram account that my wife follows, called Tried and True Moms and they ... I swear if you had drawn a picture of them, it's exactly what my wife looks like. It's exactly the same style, they wear the same types of clothes, they make recommendations-

Crystal Heuft: 07:43 They have nailed their audience.

Rob Stevenson: 07:44 ... about all the different things. And as a result, my wife is spending literally hundreds of dollars a month on recommendations on Instagram pages. You swipe up on the page on the Instagram story, and then there's a link to buy that cardigan, or that watch, or that necklace, or that moisturizer, or that mascara. And as a result my house is filled with cardigans, and watches, and jewelry and moisturizer, and mascara-

Paige Clark: 08:07 Isn't it great?

Rob Stevenson: 08:08 ... all recommended. And I love it, because she's happy, because she has found that niche because exactly the Crystal's point, she's hit that sweet spot of knowing their audience and she's actively participating. But is that a recommendation, or is that a review? How do you weigh those two?

Paige Clark: 08:23 So I think for recommendations, things like that, like an Instagram account, you have to know that there's money behind that, right? So there is people who are being given affiliate links for X, Y and Z, and they get some percentage off whatever they're purchase [inaudible 00:08:41].

Crystal Heuft: 08:42 Sometimes.

Paige Clark: 08:42 Sometimes.

Crystal Heuft: 08:42 Those are more, that's the case.

Paige Clark: 08:44 Yeah, that's usually what you're seeing a lot in the social sphere, also on websites, that's really big on blogs, anything that is linked to, they have some kind of affiliate. I think when it comes to reviews, they serve the same purpose. It's a recommendation of a product, it is a backing or rather not backing of a product.

Rob Stevenson: 09:08 We'll talk about that in a minute.

Paige Clark: 09:08 If you had a negative experience, it's your opinion of whatever your product or service that you're purchasing is. So, I think they're one and the same. The mediums just kind of can show up a little bit differently, and same with word of mouth. They all kind of go hand in hand. That's why you see a lot of your advocacy people handling parts of your customer journey, where it's their stories, their successes, getting them to share with their friends, a lot of referrals go in there, they all dance in the same circle, if you will.

Crystal Heuft: 09:46 I think it's funny because a lot of the people that are even just a little bit younger than me, I don't know if it's me or if there's other people my age that fall in the same category, but there's definitely certain types of things I'll look at reviews for. But, I would say I'm not someone who's looking at reviews of restaurants. My grandpa used to say, "If your nose tells you to try it, you should try it. Or if the parking lot is full." That was his number one way to find out what restaurants to try, then that meant it's big.

Rob Stevenson: 10:15 That's the number one way to wait an hour for a restaurant.

Crystal Heuft: 10:18 But I just think there's a lot of things I don't check for reviews on.

Rob Stevenson: 10:22 I'm going to say that you're the outlier here because-

Crystal Heuft: 10:25 Probably.

Rob Stevenson: 10:26 ... Paige and I are very different in age and I look up everything.

Crystal Heuft: 10:30 Everything, that's what I was wondering.

Rob Stevenson: 10:32 We're planning a trip, I have looked up so many hotel reviews trying to figure out what is what, where is it located, what's the best family hotel in this proximity to this location, and if I see one bad thing, I'm out. There's so much choice.

Crystal Heuft: 10:47 Well, and I don't understand the importance and why it's relevant these days. I definitely know in terms of marketing that it's important and critical for social proof and all kinds of reasons, but in terms of my own life, I'm just being real honest. I don't read ... Maybe I'm more daring than I give myself credit for, but I don't read reviews unless it's an experience or a long-term commitment. If I have to sign on to something, and it's going to be something that either takes a lot of my time, or a lot of my money for a long period of time, I'll usually read reviews.

Rob Stevenson: 11:15 You're describing marriage, we need a review for marriage.

Crystal Heuft: 11:17 No, I haven't made that commitment yet either, so maybe [crosstalk 00:11:21].

Paige Clark: 11:22 Well, I think you see recommendations and reviews even though you might not be looking for them. So for example, if you were to Google a restaurant to get directions, you saw a billboard, I don't know. That's the least digital way you can see your restaurant, right?

Crystal Heuft: 11:41 Old school ... She's kicking it old school right there. And you-

Crystal Heuft: 11:42 You see the Rob on a billboard, that's the billboard I remember.

Paige Clark: 11:45 ... need directions to this restaurant. Well, you go onto Google. Well, if the first thing that you see on there is condemned or a D health rating, I think that will stand out to you.

Crystal Heuft: 11:58 I do look at the D, I think it's on ... Which is it? Phoenix New Times or one of them puts out the bad health reports. I look at those. I take time to look at those very closely.

Rob Stevenson: 12:09 So you are reviewing restaurants then.

Crystal Heuft: 12:10 Yeah, Paige might have a very good point there.

Rob Stevenson: 12:12 I think you're betraying yourself here, because you are doing these reviews.

Crystal Heuft: 12:15 I'm admitting Paige might have actually opened my eyes a bit to ... She is right. Probably by osmosis or diffusion or whatever you'd call online perusing without trying, but I'm definitely not digging into it. A lot of my friends are digging into finding whatever restaurant they're trying.

Rob Stevenson: 12:29 So-

Crystal Heuft: 12:29 ... all the time it takes an extra hour to go anywhere with those friends of mine. Thanks a lot, Lauren Smith.

Rob Stevenson: 12:34 I want to jump back to a comment page made earlier because I'm still wrestling with it. You talked about people being compensated for reviews or recommendations. Now, in theory, yeah, I've heard about it and I'm aware of the whole concept of influencers, that makes sense. But is that a legitimate thing where people are paid for reviews or staging for recommendations?

Crystal Heuft: 12:52 Now he's aging himself.

Paige Clark: 12:54 Yes, and it depends on the practice of whatever business. And think of compensation, not as just here's a $5 bill if you leave me a good review. I've been to plenty of hairstylists for example, leave us a review and you get 25% off a service. That's-

Rob Stevenson: 13:15 Off your hair ... They'll take 25% of your hair?

Paige Clark: 13:16 ... compensation, right? So it's just your way to... And I wouldn't necessarily say compensation, I'd say incentivization. Did I say that correctly?

Rob Stevenson: 13:26 No, you did. You did.

Paige Clark: 13:27 You're incentivizing your customers to-

Rob Stevenson: 13:30 But that's not a legitimate review then, that's a crappy review. That's a painful review.

Paige Clark: 13:33 No, because if I really hate a place, I'm not going to lie about it depending on how much I get paid.

Rob Stevenson: 13:38 Interesting, okay. Is there an anonymized component of that too, so you wouldn't leave a review if it was, say Paige Clark, but you'd leave a review if it was Paige C or P Clark?

Paige Clark: 13:52 I never use my real name on those things. So-

Crystal Heuft: 13:56 The truth comes out.

Paige Clark: 13:57 We're leaving reviews for things, we're paid for them and we don't use our real name, is anything real on the internet?

Paige Clark: 14:02 I'm not saying that I get compensated directly for reviews.

Rob Stevenson: 14:06 You get 25% off your hair.

Paige Clark: 14:07 That was an example-

Rob Stevenson: 14:08 Oh, okay.

Paige Clark: 14:09 That's not legit.

Rob Stevenson: 14:10 Oh, I'm sorry. Okay.

Crystal Heuft: 14:11 Have you seen her hair? She's never ever risked anything for her hair unless she felt it.

Paige Clark: 14:18 Never.

Rob Stevenson: 14:18 Okay. But do you see my point? If it's compensated and if it's anonymous, how valid is that? Should I jump onto team Crystal here and not look at any reviews for anything anymore?

Paige Clark: 14:30 No, because I think that-

Crystal Heuft: 14:32 Come on over, the water's fine.

Rob Stevenson: 14:34 We think, we haven't read about it.

Paige Clark: 14:35 I think that's a small percentage of the online reviews that are out there. Because depending on what kind of consumer you are, whether or not, if I really love a product ... Example, I really love my hair care products. Thanks Crystal, for that shout out. Innersense, they're the best. I'll totally namedrop, and-

Crystal Heuft: 14:56 And thanks to her, I'm getting Facebook ads for them.

Rob Stevenson: 14:59 Are they a sponsor?

Paige Clark: 15:01 Not a sponsor.

Rob Stevenson: 15:01 No, we can't name drop them.

Crystal Heuft: 15:03 We can, we [crosstalk 00:15:03].

Rob Stevenson: 15:04 Bleep that out Dusey.

Crystal Heuft: 15:06 Only when you disparage your brand do you have to bleep it.

Paige Clark: 15:07 So I recommend them to all of my friends who I talked to about hair care products.

Rob Stevenson: 15:13 Anonymously.

Paige Clark: 15:15 My friends, I'm just talking to my friends, that's a recommendation.

Rob Stevenson: 15:16 Oh, okay. So you talk to them, so that's word of mouth. It's okay.

Paige Clark: 15:21 But I love them so much that they don't incentivize any of their reviews. I will happily leave a positive review for their products, because I am so happy with them that-

Crystal Heuft: 15:35 Well, then let's face it, lots of people will. The reason people are getting incentivized now are because there was a whole market out there doing it for free already, which made this really popular. So I thought I want to get to some of the tech of it, and some of the best practices because I think you brought up a very good point when you went to the moisturizer your friend told you about, just to bring it on home, back to that. But, you said you were scrolling on the website and you already saw there were reviews right on their website, right? Easy for you, you didn't have to go anywhere else. I think that's an interesting topic. How easy should companies, small businesses, whatever, be making it for people to see their positive reviews?

Paige Clark: 16:12 So kind of what we were talking about earlier, reviews are everywhere, whether or not you see them, your consumers see them. So when you search on Google, because who uses Bing?

Rob Stevenson: 16:27 Now we're going to have to bleep Bing, well done. Now, we're going to have to bleep Bing out.

Paige Clark: 16:31 If you search a brand-

Crystal Heuft: 16:32 Now three times thanks to him, once from you two more from him.

Paige Clark: 16:36 If you search a brand, what comes up on Google first? Their little Google business card on the right-hand side of the screen, that has a star grading.

Crystal Heuft: 16:44 I changed my mind. When you said that, you are 100% right, when I look in the maps I do see that.

Paige Clark: 16:48 It is right there or yeah, if you go on your Maps app, usually they all have a little profile or on Yelp they'll have ... You'll see where it is or if you can make reservations, they all have reviews.

Crystal Heuft: 17:01 It all has me wondering where else I'm seeing them now. It's like a puzzle for me, because you got me when you said that when you Google a business name, that immediately does pop up, and I wasn't looking for it but it was right there, and you really started to change my mind about that because I'm like, "How many other people have been pulling the wool over my eyes?" I'm trying to figure out where else am I seeing it? So, where else are people seeing these reviews without knowing they're seeing them?

Paige Clark: 17:21 So you see it on social media, Facebook's really popular because you can leave a star rating right there, and then if they have that feature turned on-

Rob Stevenson: 17:30 How does Facebook know that I've been there? Why is it not just a fake review?

Paige Clark: 17:34 So they don't. So there's a-

Crystal Heuft: 17:35 They do.

Paige Clark: 17:36 There is a process within the review moderation, and this is why it's important to moderate your reviews or to pay attention to them.

Crystal Heuft: 17:43 Or to turn off your location access to Facebook.

Paige Clark: 17:46 That too. Where you can report a review saying this person's not a customer, this person is lying, what have you. And depending on where it is, those things can change. If you get bad press, for example, I've seen it all over the news where a location does something that's controversial or that is one-sided and guess what the other side does? You go and leave a bunch of one-star reviews. So, what does the business do? They turn off their reviews.

Rob Stevenson: 18:23 Okay, so let's talk about this a little bit more. I like your idea about the tech. Okay, so we talk about how these reviews get posted and moderated. What's more valuable to a consumer, a review that's easy to find on my website, or a review that's posted by Google, or something that's maybe hosted by a third party review sites like Yelp, for example?

Paige Clark: 18:44 So, I think that especially in the product sphere, having reviews on your website is really good, but as a consumer, you have to know those could be curated. It's their website, they're allowed to do whatever they want with those reviews. Now, is it good practice? Not necessarily. It's good to have a mix of things because, guess what? Your product's not going to work for everyone, your service is not going to be perfect for everyone. It's about the follow through on that.

Paige Clark: 19:17 So, having it on your website, it's more of a social proof play then a review moderation kind of play, because the website owns whatever reviews are on there.

Rob Stevenson: 19:30 Okay.

Paige Clark: 19:30 Okay? So then you have your, I guess, obvious review sites. So you have your Google, your Yelp-

Rob Stevenson: 19:40 Facebook.

Paige Clark: 19:41 ... Open Tables, one I use, your Facebook, all of those where people can go and post reviews. Those are also good to manage because they're a little bit, I guess, in the face of your consumers. So if you're moderating those are where I would started moderating, and that's where you can pull in reviews, depending on how you have your website set up. You can pull in reviews from those places and put them on your website. If it's a product, you can have them review it on those places and then slap it on your website.

Rob Stevenson: 20:12 That is super interesting. You've danced around the topic of moderation a little bit, and so how do you overcome that? Let's say somebody leaves you ... No one here is going to say, "Oh, I'm tired of all these five star reviews. This is terrible," but let's say someone comes up and leaves you a crummy or a two star or three star review-

Crystal Heuft: 20:27 This is the terrifying part.

Rob Stevenson: 20:28 Exactly.

Crystal Heuft: 20:28 Who wants to do this all day, right?

Rob Stevenson: 20:30 I'm a small business owner with a gym, and if someone comes in and leaves a one star review on my gym, it's going to reduce the entire score from 5 or 4.9 down to whatever. What do I do? Seriously, what do I do?

Paige Clark: 20:43 So, some of the difficulty with that is people want to be anonymous online. Me personally, I know I said I give anonymous reviews, but if I give a negative review, it won't be anonymous. I want them to know that me as a customer, I am ticked off, right? So identifying the customer is your first step, number one.

Rob Stevenson: 21:07 Okay.

Paige Clark: 21:08 Second step. If you can identify them, then you want to look into their background. So for a small business it might just be talking to your employees, or if it's just you, just thinking back through your client records, and seeing what interactions did I have with this person that made them be negative?

Rob Stevenson: 21:28 So verifying your side of the interaction?

Paige Clark: 21:30 Yep.

Rob Stevenson: 21:31 Okay. So let's say we've done that. We've found customer and it's not pages hidden account. We've verified that Paige came to our hair cutting salon with a 25% off coupon, and didn't like it and roasted us online. Now what?

Paige Clark: 21:45 Then you try to make it right if you were in the wrong.

Rob Stevenson: 21:48 Okay.

Paige Clark: 21:49 And again, your product's not going to be a fit for everyone. I left a neutral review for some face foundation. They asked me-

Crystal Heuft: 22:00 Two months ago.

Paige Clark: 22:03 This was a really weird experience, and so I don't recommend that anyone follow-

Crystal Heuft: 22:06 It was good, and then bad.

Paige Clark: 22:07 It was good and then bad. So I purchased this product, they had an automated email that went out 10 days ... shipping time, 10 days after I got the product and it said, "Hey, tell us about your experience." I was like, "It was okay, this product was okay. It wasn't great, but it was also-"

Crystal Heuft: 22:28 They reached out to the wrong one.

Paige Clark: 22:29 It was also $40 so...

Rob Stevenson: 22:31 Is that a lot for foundation?

Paige Clark: 22:33 It's middle range.

Crystal Heuft: 22:34 It's not cheap but it better be good.

Paige Clark: 22:35 Right. So I left a review that said, "If you like oatmeal smelling things, then this is great because it smelled like oatmeal to me."

Rob Stevenson: 22:43 Well, oatmeal smelling things was the name of my band. It was a [crosstalk 00:22:46]-

Crystal Heuft: 22:46 Here he goes again.

Rob Stevenson: 22:47 ... band from the sixth grade. We were so good. Oatmeal Smelling Things, look us up on Apple music.

Crystal Heuft: 22:53 Rob is proof that if you fail at anything, a band or whatever, keep trying. He's had so many bands already.

Paige Clark: 22:59 Right?

Crystal Heuft: 23:00 Yeah.

Paige Clark: 23:02 So I left this ... It was-

Rob Stevenson: 23:04 If you like Oatmeal Smelling Things ...

Paige Clark: 23:05 ...it was a three star review. It wasn't negative, but it was just my honest opinion about this product.

Crystal Heuft: 23:09 It was shady.

Paige Clark: 23:10 No, it was not shady.

Crystal Heuft: 23:12 I would say that's a bit shady. It's like who wants, who cares what their foundation smells like? It's mid-grade shade, but I like it.

Paige Clark: 23:20 The shade was ...

Rob Stevenson: 23:22 #midgradeshade.

Paige Clark: 23:23 ...porcelain.

Crystal Heuft: 23:23 I hear where you're going with this, yeah.

Paige Clark: 23:26 Anyways, so what ended up happening is they had sent me an email and said, "If you have problems with your product, we prefer you to reach out to our customer service team. But right now we'll waive the return policy dates, and we'll just give you your refund." I didn't ask for a refund. Also, your email didn't say reach out to customer service. Your email said leave a review.

Rob Stevenson: 24:02 Oh. Wait, I thought you responded to the email. You actually posted a review online so everyone could see?

Paige Clark: 24:07 Yeah, on their website.

Crystal Heuft: 24:08 That's what I meant when I said they reached out to the wrong one, they got the wrong one.

Paige Clark: 24:12 Right?

Rob Stevenson: 24:14 Okay. I'm following along, right now I'm sympathizing with the business.

Paige Clark: 24:15 So...

Crystal Heuft: 24:15 Plus they probably didn't have anything in place to make sure you were happy in the first place.

Paige Clark: 24:20 Right.

Crystal Heuft: 24:20 Which we can talk about.

Rob Stevenson: 24:21 It was just a presumption or an assumption.

Paige Clark: 24:22 Right.

Rob Stevenson: 24:23 So okay, so scorecard, right now I am Team Foundation, convince me otherwise.

Paige Clark: 24:27 Really?

Crystal Heuft: 24:27 You are already wrong.

Rob Stevenson: 24:29 Okay.

Paige Clark: 24:29 I'm wrong?

Crystal Heuft: 24:30 No, Rob.

Paige Clark: 24:31 Rob's wrong?

Crystal Heuft: 24:32 No, I'm saying if they reached out to you, they wanted an honest opinion, you gave an honest opinion.

Paige Clark: 24:35 Yeah, but then the tone of their email was kind of condescending and the fact that it was-

Crystal Heuft: 24:42 Especially after they asked you to review.

Paige Clark: 24:44 Exactly. So there's a little bit of a lesson there, in when you ask people for reviews ...

Crystal Heuft: 24:54 You should already have an idea.

Paige Clark: 24:56 Exactly. You should already have an idea.

Rob Stevenson: 24:58 Did you get your money back?

Paige Clark: 24:59 Yeah.

Rob Stevenson: 24:59 Well, did you send the unused product back?

Crystal Heuft: 25:02 It got nasty real quick.

Paige Clark: 25:03 No, they did not ask me to send the product back.

Rob Stevenson: 25:04 Did you take your review down or change it at all?

Paige Clark: 25:06 No, because I forgot where it was.

Crystal Heuft: 25:09 And even if she hadn't, it wasn't an exchange for taking a review down, her review as an honest feedback.

Rob Stevenson: 25:14 No, [inaudible 00:25:17].

Crystal Heuft: 25:14 The only time I think that you would take it down is if it was about a customer experience, and that changed. Then sure, take down the bad experience because you've now had a new experience that outweighed it. But okay, foundation's still smelled like oatmeal.

Rob Stevenson: 25:28 So we've gone around ... I like this. So let's use this as a teachable moment for our friends at oatmealfoundation.com. What should they have done?

Paige Clark: 25:37 They should have asked me to score their product first-

Rob Stevenson: 25:40 ... in an email.

Paige Clark: 25:41 ... in a feedback form. In a feedback form, they should have asked to me to rate my products. If I then qualified my product experience on a one to 10 scale, I scored it a five, then a customer rep should have reached out to me, and then that process would carry over through email.

Rob Stevenson: 26:02 Do you think that they-

Paige Clark: 26:03 If I scored it an eight, nine, 10...

Rob Stevenson: 26:06 Right.

Paige Clark: 26:06 ...then it would redirect me to their website where I could leave a positive review. That way the customer is being taken care of both ways, and the positive reviews about this product are shared.

Crystal Heuft: 26:16 Yeah, you're right because if you score a three you're neutral, but you probably don't have a complaint, you need to get supports help with.

Paige Clark: 26:22 Right.

Crystal Heuft: 26:22 You just really didn't like the products.

Rob Stevenson: 26:24 So maybe...

Crystal Heuft: 26:25 Sure.

Rob Stevenson: 26:25 I'm wondering though if ... Do you think they would have responded to you at all if your review hadn't been public?

Paige Clark: 26:34 No, how would they have ever known?

Crystal Heuft: 26:35 They asked for it.

Rob Stevenson: 26:35 No, based on the email model that we just talked about? If they sent you an email, and you would have given them a three out of five on emails, no one else in the world would've seen that review.

Crystal Heuft: 26:43 But they still could've reached out.

Rob Stevenson: 26:45 No, I'm just wondering, do you think if no one else, if it was just between you and the company, do you think they still would have offered you a refund?

Paige Clark: 26:54 Yeah.

Crystal Heuft: 26:55 Out of the three? I don't think so, but I think they probably would be like, "Oh, we shouldn't reach out to her because all of our products smell like oatmeal,"

Paige Clark: 27:02 And that-

Crystal Heuft: 27:02 "... and she does, she seems to hate oatmeal." So they'd just be like, "This product's not for her."

Paige Clark: 27:06 Exactly. And then I think the important thing too, is not just responding from a small business perspective, not just responding to the negative ones, but also responding to the positive ones. Rewarding customers for a-

Crystal Heuft: 27:20 Agreed.

Paige Clark: 27:21 ...'positive behavior' in terms of, "Oh, we see you, we identify with you, we get what you're trying to do. Thank you for leaving a positive review for our business."

Crystal Heuft: 27:31 Which is what you should do even if they're anonymous, every business should be responding to reviews, even though they're treacherous. I get you're in the trenches out there. If you're doing that it's miserable, it's hard, but you are doing the right thing, because even if you don't know who that person is, or you can't make it better for them, the whole world is looking at the reviews.

Paige Clark: 27:48 Right.

Crystal Heuft: 27:49 And if you leave them unanswered, it's really leaving a message that you just don't care.

Paige Clark: 27:53 Same with anonymous reviews.

Rob Stevenson: 27:54 Or that your reviews are correct or that you're complicit in that.

Crystal Heuft: 27:56 Correct.

Paige Clark: 27:56 Right.

Crystal Heuft: 27:57 And you have no better solution than to leave those there.

Paige Clark: 27:59 Same with anonymous reviews, if it's a negative review, you can give them your phone number, your email ... They know how to get in contact with you if they're really that unhappy.

Rob Stevenson: 28:09 Okay.

Paige Clark: 28:09 If your experience was really so poor, they want other people to know that it was poor too. And it's up to you as a business to make it right, or to set the facts straight because guess what? There are people who lie.

Crystal Heuft: 28:19 100%.

Paige Clark: 28:19 There are liars out there, and it's okay for you to gently and respectfully-

Rob Stevenson: 28:26 Wait, liars?

Paige Clark: 28:26 ...correct the facts.

Crystal Heuft: 28:29 Liars that lie.

Rob Stevenson: 28:30 On the internet?

Paige Clark: 28:30 Liars that lie, not everything you read on the internet is true.

Crystal Heuft: 28:31 So I think you just ended that on a great note though.

Paige Clark: 28:34 I would just like to say ... I'll bullet it out. So, I would say pay attention to your online reviews, and also respond to them.

Rob Stevenson: 28:43 Good.

Paige Clark: 28:44 I would say put yourself in the shoes of your consumer, and of consumers in terms of how their journey is, and how that look what that process looks like. And also-

Speaker 2: 28:59 [inaudible 00:29:00].

Paige Clark: 29:01 ...really capitalize on social proof because like we were talking about earlier, word of mouth is impactful, and reviews are just a digital format of word of mouth.

Crystal Heuft: 29:11 Thank you guys so much. Thanks Paige for being here, and helping us go through the treacherous world of reviews, and thanks for also making me aware that I'm seeing reviews without even realizing it. And now I'm going to have to be really cautious because I get nervous about that kind of stuff.

Paige Clark: 29:24 No problem.

Rob Stevenson: 29:25 Here's an extra credit challenge to everyone listening, leave us a review so we know how we're doing. And then if you do it anonymously, we'll choose to ignore it, or maybe send you some foundation. No, I'm sorry. That's not fair. We definitely need five star reviews so you can help us get found by more and different listeners, so-

Crystal Heuft: 29:44 Rob almost gave our producer a conniption, an aneurysm. It was something in between.

Rob Stevenson: 29:49 If someone doesn't like this, that's cool too.

Crystal Heuft: 29:51 But I do-

Rob Stevenson: 29:51 Give us five stars.

Crystal Heuft: 29:52 ...tend to agree with him, give us an honest review.

Rob Stevenson: 29:54 Give us five stars.

Paige Clark: 29:54 And guess what?

Rob Stevenson: 29:54 I'm getting the five star...

Paige Clark: 29:55 It smells like oat meal in here too.

Rob Stevenson: 29:57 I'm getting the five star.

Paige Clark: 29:58 It's right about the three.

Rob Stevenson: 29:59 So five stars-

Crystal Heuft: 29:59 Paige just gave us a three metaphorically, so we need your fives to raise it.

Rob Stevenson: 30:04 Five stars for-

Crystal Heuft: 30:08 And now we're getting the cane. Thanks guys.

Rob Stevenson: 30:10 ... for smallbizoatmeal.businesscomm reviews.

Crystal Heuft: 30:11 A metaphorical three. Okay, thanks. That's it for today.

Rob Stevenson: 30:14 Thanks everyone.

Speaker 1: 30:15 Thanks for listening to small biz buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five star rating, it helps keep the show going. And if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to keap.com, that's K-E-A-P.com and get started. More business, less work, that's Keap.

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