Online Reviews and Managing Your Reputation

Reviews play a big part in your salon marketing- and can feel, essentially, out of your control. Better understanding of the consumer psychology behind the "kiss and tell" can help you develop smart strategies to regain control of your reviews.

What This Means

In the age of constant connectedness, we have to accept that every individual has immediate access to an audience through their social media and review websites, such as Yelp, Google and Facebook. We also have to accept that this is not going away. We are in an age of Data Darwinism in which company’s that master the skill of managing customer reviews (and engagement) will surpass those who do not, winning the technological survival of the fittest.

What Can You Do?

Research indicates, that direct confrontation in these situations is far too personal and uncomfortable. With the increased use of technology, the days of consumers entering your business and asking to “speak with a manager” are over.

By providing guests with reviews and surveys at check out, you create a safe environment to see the review and take action. Many salon POS systems now offer a "firewall review platform." In this scenario, the software will send a review request that will not be posted publicly but rather shared with the company. If the review meets a particular threshold (4 stars or more for example) then the software will invite the guest to leave a public review on the company's platform of choice.

If the internal review is negative, the software will send out a script to the guest directing them back to the salon to rectify the situation. The best part is - you can customize the message and ensure that your brand voice is singing loud and clear.

Should You Respond to Reviews?

The resounding answer is YES! and here's a couple of reasons why. First, answering all reviews (even those that only leave a star rating) is just another opportunity for you to authentically connect with your guests .In the era of online noise overload - authenticity and personal connection wins every time.

Second - SEO. Responding to your reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook with KEYWORDS, (e.g. Sarah, your balayage looked fantastic - thank you for choosing our salon company), will hit the algorithm and boost your ranking on those platforms when it comes to search results.

Should You Respond to Negative Reviews?

Absolutely. But there is an effective way to respond, and a not-so-effetive way to respond. It is important that you acknowledge the guest and avoid being defensive. Consider repeating your brand promise: "At Salon XYZ we guarantee all of your work - if you are not satisfied we are committed to making it right." Remember, your response will be read by potential guests and you want them to see that you care about their satisfaction.