Gaining new guests and getting new business was once primarily a matter of word-of-mouth. Friends and family were the main source of recommendations. Have your friends tried the new hairdresser in town? Who’s the best massage therapist at the local spa? It’s been said many times that a personal recommendation is the best form of marketing, and that still holds true to an extent.
But in today’s digital world, 80% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. And it’s no wonder, when the information they seek is just a few taps away on their smartphones.
In 2021, 77% of people said they regularly read reviews when looking for a local business, making reviews essential for turning a prospect into a paying guest. What’s more, when a potential guest searches for “salons near me” or “spas in [town]”, a great star rating is a key factor in determining where your business ranks and will help you get noticed in the search results.
If one of your business goals is to get more new guests (whose isn’t?), then improving your online reputation is essential for standing out against the competition. Reviews don’t just impact the number of guests that come through your doors: Data shows that five-star businesses can charge five-star prices.
Guests are likely to spend 31% more on services from businesses that have excellent reviews
When a guest books a beauty or wellness appointment expecting a superb service, they are more likely to accept a higher price tag or add extra treatments to their visit.
Getting More Reviews
Online reputation is a key factor in growing your beauty or wellness business. But how do you get the reviews you need to build an excellent rating?
The good news is, 88% of people are likely to leave a review if a business goes above and beyond to deliver an exceptional experience. Here are a few tips to help you boost your online reputation:
- Involve your providers
Your providers’ main focus is offering fantastic services. After a provider gets a positive vibe from a satisfied guest, ask them if they'd be kind enough to share their experience online. Not only does it help inspire more reviews, but it adds to the personal connection between the provider and their guest.
- Automate with technology
It’s not always easy for providers to request a review. They might be hurrying on to the next guest, or just feel a little awkward asking. While a gentle nudge from a provider works great for happy guests, business management software gives you a regular and automated way to ask for reviews by sending an SMS or email after each appointment. This works because it makes the process reliable, repeatable and scalable – helping you increase your review count easily regardless of if you have one location or 100. The more reviews are requested, the more you’ll get, and you’ll soon see how they boost your business!
- Get competitive
Want to build up your location’s star rating? Set up a monthly challenge where you recognize and reward your highest-rated provider. This can motivate providers to ask for reviews consistently, and to really go that extra mile to provide amazing service for every guest. To best track your providers’ progress, and keep tabs on your online reputation, consider business management software that does it all for you.
Managing Reviews - the Good and the Bad
Some of the most popular websites for reviews, such as Google and Yelp, are essentially public forums where guests can freely share their experiences of your business. They can post reviews there regardless of if you choose to engage or not.
This means your online reputation is always in the public eye and you don’t have full control over what guests say about you (or where they say it). However, it’s not just the content of your reviews that matters. A key component to managing your online reputation and attracting more guests, is how you respond to reviews.
89% of individuals are 'highly' or 'fairly' likely to use a business that responds to all its online reviews.
- Responding to good reviews
If someone has taken the time to leave a five-star review, they’ve done you a big favor. Make sure they know you appreciate the gesture. Respond to their comment with a simple “Thank you [name], we look forward to seeing you again!”. It only takes a minute and goes a long way toward leaving a lasting impression with the guest and anyone else reading their review.
- Handling average reviews
If a guest posts a review that’s less than gleaming – think 3.5 stars – give some extra thought about how to respond. First, focus on any positives and thank them for their visit. Second, consider any negatives or concerns they raised. Was there a reason for their complaint? Could you change or improve anything to entice them back a second time? Again, thank them for the feedback and apply any best practices we mention in the section below.
- Managing poor reviews
As much as you’d like to, you can’t make every guest happy. Mix-ups happen, providers can have a difficult day, and some guests are just harder to please. Make it a priority to respond to all negative reviews in a timely manner, ideally within one to two days. Just crafting a response to an unhappy customer can make them feel better about you and your business – often, an unhappy customer in any business just wants to know they’re being heard. Any prospective guests seeing your response will recognize that you care about your guests – ignoring a negative review leads others to believe that you don’t.
If you’re frustrated by a disgruntled guest’s points, take a deep breath before responding. Keep everything professional and concise. Starting an argument online looks bad for everyone involved and is a surefire way to turn off prospective guests. Always thank the guest for their feedback. Let them know you would like to remedy the situation if possible. Acknowledge the guest’s feelings, but keep your response short to avoid looking defensive. Offer to take the conversation offline, especially if a further response or conversation is warranted. Finally, consider whether the guest’s feedback reveals anything you can do differently to improve the guest experience. A reasonable adjustment or correction can benefit many guests in the future, and help prevent negative feedback.
Inside the Reputation Data
Whether you’re starting from scratch or already have many online reviews, building and managing your online reputation can be a sizable task. Research shows consumer habits and preferences, some specific to their experiences with salons and spas:
When your beauty or wellness business provides amazing services every day, you’ll have loyal guests who wouldn’t dream of going to anyone else. However, when it comes to attracting new guests, a strong online reputation is essential for getting found and selected. In the last 12 months, 94% of consumers have used sites such as Google, Bing or Yelp to find information about a local business – and guest reviews can play a major role in making a first impression. Think of online reviews as your digital word-of-mouth advertising at today’s scale, to help your business become more visible online.
By using automated technology to request feedback from your guests, amassing reviews can ramp up quickly, with far less effort than manual methods. Just remember to keep monitoring your results and respond to reviews once they start coming in.
Zenoti makes it easy to gain and manage online reviews, helping your business turn interested prospective guests into first-time visitors. Contact us today for a free demo of our industry-leading beauty and wellness software.