skip to Main Content

Expert online review management tips for franchise & multi-location businesses

Tiffany Simkins

Before making a purchase, most of us check online reviews first, even if the product or service is from a brick-and-mortar location. We want to know what other consumers think and gauge their level of satisfaction with their purchase. And more often than not, we zero in on the negative reviews — and the reactions they receive.

So it’s no surprise that 93% of users say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Add to the fact that our use of Google reviews to evaluate local businesses jumped from 63% in 2020 to 81% in 2021, and it’s clear just how much of an impact online reviews can have on your bottom line. 

Online reviews — and managing them effectively — is crucial to the success of your business. Whether the reviews appear on Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor (the four most popular) or other sites like Bing and Yahoo! Local, they matter to consumers and, in turn, matter significantly to you. 

And whether your business is a franchise or has multiple units or locations, online review management is key — from building brand awareness to fostering customer loyalty. 

Online reviews can help:

  • Boost your online visibility, and create buzz around your brand
  • Elevate your brand in a busy or crowded market
  • Generate conversions or revenue
  • Build trust in your brand

Consumers are 68% more likely to patronize a local business that has received positive reviews. That’s a compelling stat to consider if you’re running a business with multiple locations. 

So how do you get customers to write reviews? It’s easier than you might think! And it all starts with simply asking. 

Read our blog: 5 highly-effective digital marketing strategies for Canadian franchises

How to get more online reviews

First things first: Always be professional when you ask for online reviews, whether in person, via an email campaign or by scanning a QR code from your marketing material. You’re asking someone to take time from their busy lives to do something that will benefit your business. 

Another consideration: Ask customers you believe had a positive experience to leave a review, like those who frequently buy from your business. People who make repeat purchases from one of your shops have demonstrated their appreciation for your products or service — so it makes sense to ask them to share that endorsement with others. 

Satisfied consumers are another area to target: 61% of customers say that they are more likely to leave an online review when a business provides exceptional or above-and-beyond service. In the same study, 37% said they’d leave a positive review when a business turned a negative experience into a positive one. 

Tip: Ask for reviews from people after they’ve tagged or followed your brand on social media.

Read our blog: How to leverage customer reviews to boost your SEO performance

How to manage your online reviews

Getting those all-important reviews is just the beginning. The next — and more time-consuming but hugely important — step is managing those reviews. It’s not enough to let them collect on Google or Facebook. As a franchise or multi-location business, it’s crucial to reply to feedback.

Did you know that 75% of businesses don’t respond to their reviews? It’s such a missed opportunity, especially considering that businesses that respond 25% of the time see 35% more revenue on average. 

Respond to as many reviews as you can — positive or negative. This shows reviewers, potential customers, and even regular customers that you value their feedback and that it matters to your business. 

Use the right tone and language. Avoid using the same reply (or a “canned response”) for each review. Change up the wording and personalize replies, whether the review is positive or negative. It shows readers that you’ve taken the time to consider each customer individually and that all feedback is valued. Always remain polite and professional.

Respond to negative feedback quickly. As many as 53% of online reviewers who leave a negative review expect a response within a week. A swift response shows consumers that you are paying close attention to customer satisfaction, that receiving critical feedback is important to the business, and that you’re open to correcting a bad situation. It also pays off: 45% say they’d patronize a business that replies to negative reviews. 

Tip: In your reply, ask the unhappy reviewer to contact you, or, if you have their email address, say you’ll send them an email to resolve the situation.

Remove damaging or abusive reviews. These types of reviews can get flagged by Google’s spam detection measures and be automatically removed. You also have the option to request that Google or Facebook, for example, remove the offensive content. Note: You can’t report feedback just because you don’t like it — the comment must actually be in breach of the site’s policies. 

Get help if you need it. Responding to reviews can be time-consuming, and your business might not always have the resources necessary, especially if you’re running multiple locations. Reputation management solutions can help businesses manage their reviews with monitoring and generation methods. Look for a respected reputation management provider (and check out their online reviews, too) or look into investing in reputation management software and digital tools.

Read our blog: How to satisfy customers with your franchise social media advertising

Managing your business’s online reviews is an essential part of your franchise’s or multi-location reputation strategy. Make it a priority, and it definitely will pay off. Your customers will know you’re a business that cares about them and values their opinions. In today’s highly-competitive market, that’s an important differentiator. 

Ready to get started? Our team of digital marketing experts can help you manage your franchise’s online reputation, as well as generate more leads and new business. Get in touch with Creative Guild today to find out more.