In 2010, one of my new consulting clients was agonizing over some negative online reviews. He wanted to know how to delete them. I explained that deleting them was precisely the wrong thing to do. I went on to add that the best thing we could do is respond to them in the same online forum and explain, in public – in front of that customer and everybody else, how we were going to address that customer’s grievance. To say that the client wasn’t on board with my recommendation would be a gross understatement. My engagement was terminated shortly after that conversation.
It’s too bad, because the client missed out on the benefit of the Service Recovery Paradox (SRP). The SRP states that customers can often be more loyal to an organization after they have experienced a service failure followed by a positive resolution than if the failure had never occurred in the first place. The research is mixed on SRP, but in a world where almost every shopping experience starts online, the ability to demonstrate authenticity – “Yes, our company is staffed by humans who make mistakes, but when we do, we make every effort to make it right” – is a powerful way to start the conversation with potential new customers.
A 2018 study from Salesforce and Publicis.Sapient found that 87% of B2C shoppers begin product searches on digital channels, up from 71% the previous year. In two different studies, Blue Corona found that 71% of B2B researchers begin their research with a generic Google search and Google found that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process.
That bit of truth brings us to the topic of this week’s One Year, Thirty Minute Challenge – Claiming Online Listings. There’s a good chance that your business has a listing on Google, Bing and Facebook even if you never created one. If I google my business (ClearVision Consulting), here’s what the search results look like. Notice my website and LinkedIn page are on the left, in the search results list and the Google Business listing is on the right.
This week’s challenge is to encourage all of you to claim all your online listings (if you haven’t already) so you’re in complete control of what people find when they begin to interact with you online.
The mechanics might be slightly different from platform to platform, but I’ll be illustrating with a Google Business listing.
This is my business listing. You can tell it has been claimed by me because I have the option “Edit your business information”. Google knows that I’m logged in to the Google account that manages the listing.
For an example, I’ve pulled the listing of a local business that has been claimed by the owner. My option at the bottom is to “Suggest an edit” to the page owner.
The last example is from an out of state business that has not been claimed by the owner. Notice the two options at the bottom – “Suggest an edit” and “Own this business?”. “Own this business?” indicates that the Google Business is unclaimed. Any information on the page has been gleaned from other sources or from customers or others who have provided it.
To claim this listing, a responsible party (owner or manager) must click on the “Own this business?” link and complete a series of steps to verify that they are authorized to administer the listing. After those steps are complete, they can then build out the listing with the firm name, contact information, address, website, services provided, hours, pictures and more. Most importantly, they can then respond to those who have left reviews.
I’ve provided links below to sites where you are likely to have a listing or might want to create a one. You’ll have to survey the landscape and decide if your organization should be there. Some are industry agnostic. Three or four sites in the list are used frequently by people in trades (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc). Others are popular for food and services (restaurants, bars, salons, spas). Click on the links, search for your business, claim your listing (if it already exists) or create a listing. Make your listings consistent across all platforms – standardize name, address, contact info, website, hours, services, logos, pictures.
Google My Business
Other than listing Facebook, we’ve not discussed social networking. That’s another topic for another day. This challenge is all about being accurately represented in search. The more relevant and accurate listings there are for your organization, the more likely you are to be found. When those listings accurately represent who you are, the more likely people who want your product or service are likely to engage with you.
For those of you who are now super-intrigued by this exercise, here’s a list from HubSpot of the 50 best local business directories.