How to deal with negative reviewsJuly 26th, 2017

Blog Post: How to deal with negative reviews

Every business gets negative reviews, it is how you deal with them that counts

It is inevitable when you run a business that 100 percent of your customers will not be happy. Negative reviews are a normal part of doing business in the age of social media. Take a restaurant as an example. Think of the best restaurant you know, and then read their Yelp reviews. Chances are, a top restaurant will have mainly positive reviews. However, if you cook for thousands of people there will be some who won’t like what you have prepared. Perhaps a waitress was under the weather and didn’t treat people as nicely as is the restaurant’s norm. That person will probably write a negative review. Unfortunately in today’s world people are far more likely to write a negative review and won’t even think to write anything when they’ve had a good experience.

So what do I do when I get a negative review?
First off, don’t panic, as I said they’re all a part of doing business in today’s world. I work with my management clients all the time to handle reviews appropriately. The best thing you can do is respond in a helpful manner. If you are a restaurant and got a bad review, perhaps offer a free meal or a gift certificate to try to get them to try you again. In other businesses, answer the criticism as nicely as you can manage. Now we all have a defense mechanism, which tells us to fight back when we are seemingly under attack. However, I have found that responding in a helpful, nice manner can actually turn some bad reviews into a positive.

Here are a few examples of companies that handle negative reviews correctly:

Example 1: This case is about a florist, one of the finest in all of New England and that has been in business since the 1920s. Like a lot of florists, when you order flowers outside their region, they use another florist to fulfill the order. Well in this case the person wasn’t happy with what was delivered so they wrote a bad review, even though the originating florist wasn’t the one that created or brought them the order. Still, they recognize that they are responsible and offered free flowers to the people as compensation. This made the person happy that the florist was willing to do what it takes to satisfy them, even when it isn’t their fault.
Tip: Offering a replacement quickly shows customers you care. Some things are beyond your control, but how you handle a bad review isn’t one of them.

Example 2: This case is about a restaurant. The restaurant had 99.9% great reviews. However, someone wasn’t happy as the wait was long and they thought the waiter wasn’t particularly friendly, and that the the food was just okay, not what they had heard. The restaurant manager replied quickly and said that they were sorry that they had a bad experience and would love for him to try the restaurant again at their expense via a gift certificate. The person tried it again, had a great experience and became a regular customer. Now had the restaurant manager said something nasty or didn’t even bother to respond to the negative review, this person would never had come back and told their friends of their bad experience.
Tip: one thing many restaurants do is keep track of people they give me free meal to due to a bad experience. This way they can be sure to be extra attentive the next time these people come in.

Example 3: This example is about an apartment complex. When the business takes an application, they do a credit check. If someone’s credit is below a certain level, then they require a cosigner. Just smart business. Well, when you have to turn down some of the applications or require a cosigner, people can get upset. In this case the person came back with a bad Facebook review. The apartment company wrote back that they were sorry they couldn’t accommodate the person and would be glad to give them the name of the credit bureau so that they can work on repairing their credit so this type of thing doesn’t happen to them ever again. This answer helps the person out and also shows that they are sympathetic to the person’s plight. Now, as the person wasn’t able to secure a lease, they may never be happy. But everybody else to read the reviews will understand that it wasn’t anything the apartment complex did wrong. People will discount this negative review as they can tell the person was just bitter and upset.
Tip: Always explain your process with potential lessees so they understand the credit check process and aren’t surprised if they aren’t approved.

Bogus reviews

Now this is a bit different than normal negative reviews. Sometimes your competitors and others will go and create fake personas and give your business a bad review. You can also respond to these, and I always say something like: “Hello, I don’t believe we have ever had you as a customer. Can you give us details as to when you’ve did business with us? We would be happy to help you in anyway we can”. If you don’t get a response (which is typical), then report the user. Most social media and review sites have a mechanism for this. I have been fortunate to get many good reviews, but there was one a few years ago from a made-up Google account, gave me one star and didn’t even have any text. I responded that I know I must be doing something right when my competition is creating these types of reviews.

Closing Thoughts

The main thing to remember is to always respond to negative reviews. Don’t let them sit there and not have a response, that is the worst thing you can do. People want to see that you are responsive and will stand behind your product or service. No one expects you to be perfect, how you respond shows the world that you care and you will make things right if a person had a bad experience with your company. I can actually tell you that companies that stand by their product or service personally have turned me around. I had in incident with a company I was doing business with and gave them a bad review, which I feel, was warranted. They came right back and asked me what they could do to make it right. I told them, they did and I went in and I told the story and am now a customer for as long as they are in business. The way you would handle bad reviews can actually increase your business, as strange as that sounds. Similar to my last blog post where we discussed what to do when customers leave you, you actually can turn these things into a positive, which will help your business down the road.

 

 

Stay classy, stay in businessJuly 14th, 2017

Stay classy, stay in businessIn business, client retention is one of the biggest factors to whether you stay in business or fade away. I am fortunate in that my client retention rate is in the high 90% range. We provide exceptional service and support, answering client requests the same day.

But, like other companies I do on occasion lose clients. Sometimes, we have lost clients we have taken wonderful care of over many years. When you lose those clients, it typically hurts a bit. Especially when you had a great relationship, right up until the time they leave. As an example, I had a nonprofit that I supported for over 5 years. Like a lot of nonprofits they had much turnover of staff and I worked with several people. The last person I work with and I had a great relationship, he sent me many difficult tasks that always needed to be done yesterday and I completed everyone on the same day they came in. Now sometimes this meant I had to work nights and weekends in order to get tasks done for them. But as a nonprofit, fundraisers are very important to their mission. So I always got their requests done a.s.a.p.

Well, the other day I get a note after five years saying they were going to bring their website in house, and canceled their account. They said what a great job we have done for them and that we gave unbelievable support. Now this is where the title comes into play. I wanted to say if I gave you such great support over the years, they why do you cancel with zero notice. Why would you be building a site behind my back to replace the one we had without even giving me a whiff of your intentions?

BUT, you can’t always say the first thing that comes into your mind. No matter how angry you are, it is best to take a step back, and do the classy thing. Before you send the nasty email response, get up from your computer, or put down the smartphone. Take a deep breath. Then, thank them for their business, and wish them well. In the long run this will ensure your survival as people like this may actually refer you to their friends and colleagues.

In Closing:
The idea of bringing websites in house sounds good and sounds like you’ll save money. But ultimately what typically happens is the websites tend to fail, don’t get updated, and vital things like plug-ins and software are not updated. This of course can lead to hacks and other horrendous outcomes.

So unless you have a staff member with experience maintaining websites and software, think twice before bringing your website in house. We offer different plans to fit any budget, so you can do many tasks yourself but leave some of the heavy lifting to us. That way you can insure continuity and limit problems and downtime. (And in truth, we charge a lot less than having a full or even part time employee maintaining your website)

So as I said, stay classy, thank people for their business and even if you are angry, bite your tongue. Longevity will be your reward!

5 Things to Consider Prior to SEOJuly 5th, 2017

5 Things to Consider Prior to SEO We all get the calls and the spam emails from SEO firms promising to make us number one in Google. These come from companies all over the world, promising things that we know they cannot possibly deliver. We know logically that someone can’t promise you that they can get you number one rankings without even knowing your business or even what you’d like to be found for!  Still, search engine optimization is something we all work on, whether you do it yourself, hire a management company like RooSites, or an outside agency.  But, before you do anything here is a list of 5 things you should determine before starting any search engine optimization campaign.

  1. What do you want to be found for? This is the most basic, but also the most important thing. Seems simple, but a lot of companies and businesses can’t tell you. Until you determine what key phrases you want to be found for, you should not proceed. Because no matter how legitimate the company you’re working with is, if they don’t know what to shoot for, then chances are they will fail.
  2. Are you looking for local or broad search engine ranking improvement? This is very important. Depending on what you do, you can focus all your energy on local search improvement which is a much faster and many times a more successful process. For instance, if you are a plumber in Smalltown, USA, Getting found for Smalltown USA plumber is a lot easier than being found for plain old “plumber”.  This is simple, in small town USA there are a limited number of plumbers, where as nationwide there 10s of thousands. Now if your company is an e-commerce company selling to customers nationwide or even globally, the process is much different.
  3. Where are you today? Before you start a campaign, you need to know where you are ranked at this moment in time. Otherwise you will not be able to see if your SEO work paid off or not. Simply type in the search phrase looking to be found for, and see where you come up. There are also many free SEO tools to do some preliminary tests. But be aware, many of these are trying to sell you something, so be sure you don’t get yourself tied into some kind of commitment.
  4. Set reasonable expectations. Before you start, try and come up with a reasonable measurement. What would you view as a success? Now, it is simple to say I want to be number 1 for 300 key phrases. (wouldn’t we all?) But that isn’t reality. If you have a much more competitive key phrase, then perhaps being on the first page of Google is a solid goal.  This is also very good test of the company you’re working with. If you tell them you want to be number one for 15 or 20 key phrases and they say no problem, then it is a good time to end the relationship.
  5. Be ready to commit time and resources. A lot of of true search engine optimization has to do with adding consistent, quality content. A lot of that is in the form of news and blog postings. Now, while you can hire people to write it for you, the best material is likely written by you or someone that works for your company. Because you don’t want content to be written just for search engines, because that fails. Search engine’s are looking for the best possible search results, not ghost written garbage. So if you aren’t willing to put in the time or at least have a resource in your company put in the time, then perhaps you should not be planning an SEO campaign.

Bottom line: Search engine optimization is not an instantaneous process. It requires research, and ongoing improvements. Since the Internet is still a very relatively new science, a cottage industry of SEO companies have propped up and made false promises for years. So, follow these five steps before you even speak to an SEO firm and you will be better off in the long run. RooSites is a full service agency and we work SEO into our normal service plans. If you need help, contact us at http://roosites.com/contact.

 

Third-party email a must in 2017April 15th, 2017

I am recommending to all my website management clients that they are utilizing a third party for their email. We used to manage most of our clients email on our server and this worked well for the last couple of decades. However, due to the increase in worldwide hack attempts, we believe it is prudent for our clients to move to a third-party email.

Let me explain

If your email it Is hosted on the same server as your website, and it goes down, your email goes down with it more often than not. Now many times these attacks just use up your server’s memory leaving your server unresponsive and timing out. Most of the times the server can be rebooted and we can research how why this happened and block the offenders. Many times it is a malicious act, DDOS type of attack. But, sometimes processes running concurrently from different accounts cause these outages. So the server runs out of memory and it becomes unresponsive. Down goes your email.

By separating your website hosting and email functions, when one goes down the other is not affected. So in essence your email will almost always be up even if we have to reboot our server, or if there is an attack of some kind. As we have seen in recent months these attacks are more frequent. Recently Amazon’s hosting platform AWS was down for over four hours taking down some of the more well-known sites in the world, Such as Netflix, Instagram and 180,000 other accounts. We are not unaffected by these type of the attacks and they happen all the time. So by separating your email function, you will not see this downtime very often. More and more we are forced to reboot the servers. This will insure your email doesn’t go down even if servers have a brief outage. For businesses that depend on their email, it can’t go down even for a few minutes.

What kind of options are out there for third-party email?

  • For those of you who like Microsoft products, i.e. Outlook, then you can look into Office 365 .
  • For those of you more partial to Gmail, you can use Gmail Apps for you and your employees.

For more options, even free providers; contact us and we can help you find what you need.

In Closing

The choice is yours as to what type of email provider you would like. But, we implore you to make sure you are using a third party option. You will be glad you did.

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Small Business Lessons From Tom BradyMarch 3rd, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about Tom Brady leading the Patriots to victory in Superbowl LI a month ago.

Brady’s performance in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl was nothing short of remarkable. You have to be in awe of a nearly 40-year-old bringing his team back from a record deficit to win his fifth Super Bowl and MVP.

Now when you think of Tom Brady, you think of a guy who has it all. You think of Hall of Fame quarterback with a supermodel wife, everything someone could want. But if that’s all you know, you missed out on the truly miraculous part of this story. In Middle school, Tom Brady didn’t start until the starter got hurt. (and they were 0-8 at the time).  In his senior year Brady had to create a highlight tape just to get the attention of colleges.

Tom Brady went to Michigan as a backup quarterback, patiently waiting his turn to start. In fact at one point Brady was 7th on the depth chart. Finally getting his chance as a junior,  Brady had an excellent college career. However he was not highly thought of coming out of college.

Here are the notes concerning Brady at the combine:

Poor build, Skinny, Lacks great physical stature and strength, Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush, Lacks a really strong arm, Can’t drive the ball downfield, Does not throw a really tight spiral, System-type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib, Gets knocked down easily

He ended up get drafted by the Patriots in the 6th round, the 199th pick. Check this list below, most of the quarterbacks you have never heard of, and the ones you know were marginal at best.

Players above Tom Brady in the draft

This is the lesson small businesses can learn from Brady. No, you may not have the looks and other tools that he has physically. But any one, especially small businesses can have the same drive and put it in the same effort in order to succeed. You can outwork your competition even if they are bigger and perhaps more talented.

I remember hearing about Brady as a rookie, not a cinch to make the team. They give a parking spot to the guy who spends the most time in the weight room. Brady reportedly got this space week after week as nobody worked harder. He badgered Coach Belichick asking for more reps, always asking what are you could do to improve.

But still it looked like he be relegated to a career as a backup.

Then one fateful day Drew Bledsoe the starting quarterback for the new and the patriots got drilled by Mo Lewis of the Jets. He sustained an injury that almost killed him. Brady came in the game and patriots fans groaned that the season was over. In the beginning, the coaches had a very conservative plan with Tom Brady, and they ultimately won the Super Bowl. Still people weren’t hundred percent convinced that Brady was anything more than a product of a great system that the patriots had implemented. As time gone on he got to throw the ball more, and show all the skills we now know and have come to expect from number 12.

To me, as somebody who works for small businesses, I see the same drive to succeed in my customers. No, we won’t all be as famous as Tom Brady, but if we work hard, we can make it to the top of our profession. We can be the best attorney, builder, service company or eCommerce company we can be. No matter what your profession is, it is about putting in the effort, and like the Patriots putting a good team together.

And this is what I strive to do, be a part of those teams that help my clients to succeed. We may not be hoisting Super Bowl trophies, or MVP awards, but I feel pretty sure we can present a professional interface which attracts and keeps business coming our client’s way.

Bottom line: Learn a lesson from Tom Brady: Work as hard as you can, never give up or let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. As Julian Edelman always reminds Brady … “You can prove em right or you can prove em wrong!”

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