So, You Got a Bad Google Review… Now What?

So, You Got a Bad Google Review… Now What?

You pour your heart and soul into your small business. You strive to deliver exceptional service and top-notch products, only to be met with a scathing one-star review on Google. It stings, doesn’t it? But don’t let it get you down; there are ways to handle negative reviews and turn the situation around.

First, take a step back and consider your options for responding. Remember, the way you handle this type of situation can make a significant difference in how your business is perceived by potential customers. Instead of focusing on the negative feedback, view it as a chance to demonstrate your professionalism and dedication to customer satisfaction.

How to Handle Negative Reviews Like a Pro

While negative reviews are inevitable, especially in the age of online transparency, how you manage them can make a world of difference. Here’s a battle plan to navigate this tricky situation:

#1. Take a deep breath. Reacting impulsively will only cloud your judgment. Next, carefully read and analyze the negative review. Is it legitimate or an internet troll? If the person is real and was a customer, try to understand the customer’s perspective and identify any valid points they may have raised. Once you have a clear understanding of the situation, respond promptly and professionally. Acknowledge the customer’s concerns, apologize for any inconvenience caused, and offer a solution or compensation if appropriate.

#2. Keep in mind that your response is not just for the unhappy customer but for potential customers who may be reading as well. Handling the situation with kindness and understanding can transform a negative experience into a positive one, highlighting your commitment to exceptional customer service.

#3. Also, before responding, check if this reviewer has left reviews before. Look for patterns in their other reviews, such as common complaints or recurring themes. Multiple negative reviews on different businesses’ profiles could mean the reviewer is a chronic complainer, rather than reflecting on your service. Consider all factors carefully before giving too much weight to their feedback.

Not All Reviews Are Created Equal

Factors such as the nature of negative reviews and their validity can influence their impact. Google employs specific guidelines to identify and flag reviews that violate its policies. Content that can be reported includes:

  • Off-topic: Review doesn’t pertain to an experience at or with this business
  • Spam: Review is from a bot, a fake account, or contains ads and promotions
  • Conflict of interest: Review is from someone affiliated with the business or a competitor’s business
  • Profanity: Review contains swear words, has sexually explicit language, or details graphic violence or other illegal activity
  • Bullying or Harassment: Review personally attacks a specific individual
  • Discrimination or hate speech: Review has harmful language about an individual or group based on identity
  • Personal Information: Contains personal information such as address or phone number

Source: Google Review Report

If a review fits these categories, the reporting process is straightforward:

#1. Head to your Google Business Profile.

#2. Find the specific review and click the three dots next to “Reply.”

#3. Select “Report Review.”

#4. Choose the reason for reporting and provide a brief explanation (optional).

Remember: Google may not always remove flagged reviews, so before reporting one, consider responding to the review professionally to address the concerns raised.

Addressing Valid Complaints with Care

There may occasionally be situations where the review points out a genuine issue. When the customer’s concerns seem somewhat justified, you’ll want to take a different approach. Here are a few strategies for responding to unhappy (but reasonable) reviews:

#1. Respond directly by acknowledging their frustration, apologizing for the inconvenience, and offering a resolution or compensation if appropriate.

#2. Express empathy by acknowledging the customer’s feelings, showing understanding of their perspective, and reassuring them that their feedback is valued.

#3. Offer solutions by explaining the steps taken to address any mistakes, outlining preventive measures to avoid similar issues in the future, and inviting the customer to reach out for further help.

#4. For complex issues, consider moving the conversation offline by suggesting a phone call or email to discuss the situation further and offer personalized assistance.

Why You Need a Google Business Profile

Having a Google Business Profile is crucial for increasing visibility, accessing analytics, and connecting with customers. Taking control of and managing your profile directly affects your business’s visibility in Google searches, attracting increased traffic and potential customers.

It also allows you to respond to customer reviews and engage with your audience directly. By actively managing your Google Business Profile, you can address any negative feedback promptly and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. Additionally, regularly updating your profile with accurate information and engaging content can help improve your search ranking and attract more organic traffic to your website. Taking the time to optimize your Google Business Profile can have a significant impact on your online presence and overall business success.

To optimize your Google Business Profile effectively, update your hours of operation, upload high-quality images showcasing your products or services, and respond promptly and professionally to all customer reviews. Regularly monitoring and updating your Google Business Profile ensures that potential customers have access to current information about your business.

Stay connected with your audience by regularly updating your profile with the latest promotions, upcoming events, and any changes to your business to keep customers informed, engaged, and connected with your brand. This not only helps improve your search engine visibility but also builds trust with your audience.

Remember, your online reputation can greatly influence the success of your business, so investing time and effort into optimizing your Google Business Profile is well worth it in the long run. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong online presence in today’s digital age.

Over to You

Above all, keep in mind that a negative review should not define your business. By responding professionally and using your Google Business Profile effectively, you can showcase your commitment to customer satisfaction.

So, the next time you receive an unjustified negative review, remember there’s no need to panic. Instead, ask yourself: How can I use this experience to improve my customer service and strengthen my online presence?

Accessibility in Website Design: Opening Up Your Website to All Visitors

Accessibility in Website Design: Opening Up Your Website to All Visitors

Imagine scrolling through a website, eager to learn more, only to be met with walls of text in a font so decorative it resembles a secret code. Frustrating, right? Now imagine that same experience with a visual impairment or while using a screen reader. Accessibility isn’t just about ticking boxes; it’s about unlocking your website for everyone, regardless of ability.

Let’s talk about people. Millions of people—15% of the global population—have some form of sensory, cognitive, or physical limitation that could affect their website experience. And guess what? They’re potential customers, loyal fans, and valuable voices waiting to be heard.

It’s time to shift our mindset and prioritize inclusivity in website design. By making our websites accessible to all, we not only expand our reach but also show that we value and respect every individual who visits our site.

Accessible websites are also more likely to rank higher in search engine results, attract a wider audience, and encourage longer user sessions, ultimately boosting the website’s performance and visibility in the competitive online landscape. Ensuring that your website is accessible to all individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, is not only a legal requirement but also a moral imperative.

Understanding and complying with legal standards like The Accessible Canada Act and WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), which are  guidelines that define how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities, not only ensure inclusivity but also protect your website from potential legal issues related to accessibility compliance.

So, how do we build bridges, not barriers? Here are some often-overlooked tips:

#1. Font Frenzy

Not all fonts are created equal. While script-like fonts might look fancy, they can be a nightmare for screen readers and people with dyslexia. Instead, opt for clear, sans-serif fonts like Arial or Helvetica. Trust me, your message will shine brighter when everyone can read it.

#2. Colour Contrast

Colour contrast is crucial for ensuring readability for all users. Make sure there is enough contrast between text and background colours to ensure that everyone can easily read the content on your site. Use tools like the WCAG colour contrast checker to ensure that your colour choices are accessible to all. Remember, inclusivity starts with design choices.

#3. Alt Text

Alt text is a simple but often overlooked aspect of web design that can make a huge difference for users with visual impairments. Make sure to include descriptive alt text for all images on your site so that screen readers can accurately describe the content to users who are unable to see the images. By taking these small steps, we can make a big impact on creating a more inclusive online experience for all users.

#4. Speaking Volumes

Text-to-speech tools are fantastic, but not everyone needs them embedded. Most modern browsers have built-in options, so focus on making your content clear, concise, and well-structured for optimal accessibility.

#5. Beyond the Basics

Accessibility isn’t just about technicalities. It’s about creating a welcoming space for everyone. Consider the following:

  • White space is your friend. Don’t cram too much information on a page. Give your visitors breathing room, both literally and figuratively.
  • Think globally and act locally. Remember to think about users who are learning English as a second language. Use clear, concise language with a Grade 4 reading level. You’ll reach a wider audience and foster inclusivity.
  • Professionalism matters. Even if your website is playful, keep a professional tone. This ensures clarity and avoids potentially offensive interpretation.

The Ripple Effect: How Accessibility Benefits Everyone

Remember, accessibility is an ongoing journey, not a one-time fix. You’ll want to regularly test your website with diverse users and assistive technologies. Embrace feedback, iterate, and keep learning.

Continuing to prioritize accessibility will not only help those with disabilities but also improve the overall user experience for all visitors to your website. By creating a more inclusive and user-friendly online space, you are showing a commitment to equity and diversity. Additionally, implementing accessibility features can have positive effects on your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and overall performance.

The question is, who will you leave behind by not making your website accessible? The answer is simple: everyone. So, let’s build websites that are truly open to all, one inclusive pixel at a time.

Over to you!

Building an accessible website can seem daunting, especially for small businesses. But fear not! MYOB offers the resources you need to help you create a website that’s inclusive and welcoming to all. Are you ready to join the journey?

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

The Power of Social Media Accessibility: Creating Inclusive Digital Spaces

The Power of Social Media Accessibility: Creating Inclusive Digital Spaces

These days, social media isn’t just a fun pastime; it’s a vital tool that links us to friends, family, like-minded folks, and vibrant online communities. However, it is important to recognize that not everyone has equal access to these platforms. Some individuals may face barriers due to disabilities or limited technological resources.

Many have spoken up and their voices have been heard. Advocates for a more inclusive and varied digital environment have pushed for features that allow people with disabilities to access and engage with social media platforms more easily. These features and new assistive technology supports allow everyone to engage in conversations, tell their stories, and form connections with others in ways that were previously unattainable.

Understanding the Impact

In today’s digital landscape, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, connecting us to a vast network of individuals and communities. However, for millions of people around the globe, the digital realm can be rife with obstacles. According to a report by the World Bank, an estimated 15% of the world’s population experiences some form of disability. In the context of social media, this equates to a substantial number of individuals who may encounter challenges when navigating online platforms.

These challenges include inaccessible content and user interfaces, as well as limited support for assistive technology. As a result, there is a growing need for social media platforms to prioritize accessibility and ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can fully participate in the digital conversation. By prioritizing accessibility, social media platforms and content creators can create a more inclusive and diverse online community. This not only benefits individuals with disabilities but also promotes equal opportunities for participation and engagement for all users. Additionally, making social media platforms user-friendly can also lead to increased user engagement and satisfaction, as it allows a wider range of individuals to connect and share ideas.

Embracing Accessibility: A Paradigm Shift

Social media accessibility is more than just following the law; it’s about adopting a different perspective that sees accessibility as a means of achieving diversity and inclusion rather than merely a legal obligation. According to a study done by the Global Disability RightsNow campaign, 71% of people with disabilities will instantly exit a website if it is not accessible. This data emphasizes how important accessibility is to draw in and keep online viewers.

In addition, making social media platforms accessible also enhances the overall user experience for everyone. By incorporating accessibility features such as alt text for images and closed captions for videos, social media platforms can ensure that all users, can fully engage with and interact with the content.

For example, adding alt text to images allows individuals with visual impairments to understand the content of the image through screen reader technology. This inclusive approach not only fosters a more diverse and inclusive online community, but also opens new opportunities for businesses and organizations to reach a wider audience.

Adding closed captioning to stories, Reels & TikToks helps users who are hard of hearing, or who have difficulty processing auditory content. It also may help some users enjoy content while they are in a busy environment.

ACCESSIBILITY TIP: Always check the captions before posting, as this fairly new technology is not without flaws. Taking an extra couple of minutes to edit any misrepresented words may drastically improve a user’s experience.

As a business, you can also improve social media experiences by ensuring graphics with text offer clear, legible, large text. Laying text over a picture without a background to separate the two makes it difficult to read for some users.

Benefits of Social Media Accessibility for Business

By making social media platforms accessible, businesses and organizations can reach a wider audience and tap into new markets. They can also demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and diversity, which can enhance their reputation and brand image.

Additionally, accessible social media platforms can facilitate better communication and engagement with customers or stakeholders with disabilities, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Over to You

The journey toward social media accessibility is not just a technologically driven endeavour; it is a testament to our capacity for empathy, understanding, and progress. As we navigate the digital sphere, let us remember that by embracing accessibility, we are building a future where everyone, regardless of ability, can partake in the vibrant tapestry of online interactions. In doing so, we foster a sense of belonging, collaboration, and empowerment that enriches the digital landscape for all.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

An Interview with Mike Randall, Insurance Advisor at Nour Insurance Services

An Interview with Mike Randall, Insurance Advisor at Nour Insurance Services

Our CEO, Karen Try, recently had the opportunity to meet and talk with Mike Randall with Nour Insurance Services. Mike and Karen’s conversation centered around one of his products, Key Partner Insurance for business owners (sometimes referred to as “Key Man” Insurance).

Getting to Know Mike Randall

Since 2003, Mike has been a trusted advisor, offering solutions to individuals, business owners, professionals, and their families. With over 20 years of experience in insurance, investments, and business financing with reputable institutions such as London Life, Scotiabank, BMO Bank of Montreal, and IG Wealth Management, Mike brings a wealth of knowledge. Rooted in his entrepreneurial background, Mike, a former Financial Consultant and Relationship Manager, understands the entrepreneur mindset, allowing him to serve his clients effectively. His business principles revolve around building strong relationships and delivering exceptional client service, focusing on life insurance, business insurance, cashflow management, and investment tax and estate planning strategies.

Mike applies an integrated approach to create personalized and successful programs aligned with each client’s goals. He values client relationships as true partnerships, ensuring integrity and care at the core of his services. Beyond his professional life, Mike, a London, Ontario native, enjoys golf and actively volunteers as a parent head coach for the local high school varsity baseball team, where his son attends school.

We would like to note that while Mike has been gracious to share his expertise with us, he encourages you to discuss any tax related matters specific to your business with your Accountant.

Q&A with Mike Randall

Q: Mike, could you tell us about the insurance solutions you offer for businesses, families, and individuals?
Mike Randall: Certainly! As an Insurance Agent at Nour Insurance Services, I provide a range of insurance solutions, including term, whole life, universal life, critical illness, and disability insurances. For businesses, we offer protection plans such as disability, key partner, and other business insurances. Additionally, we specialize in tax-efficient corporate wealth transfer plans and provide Group Benefits for employers.

Q: One interesting aspect you mentioned is key person life insurance for business owners. Can you explain how this type of insurance works?
Mike Randall: Absolutely. Key person insurance is designed to financially support a business in the event of the death of a crucial individual, whether it is a company owner, partner, or indispensable employee. The policy is owned by the business, and the company pays the premiums. The benefit is triggered upon the death or disability of the key person, providing funds to ensure business continuity.

Q: When should a business consider a key person insurance policy?
Mike Randall: Businesses often consider key person insurance when applying for a loan or financing, as it may be required by lenders. Other situations include businesses named after key individuals, where the loss could jeopardize the company. Partnerships may use it as part of a buy-sell agreement, and sole proprietors may utilize it to provide heirs with an insurance payout to close the business and pay off debts.

Q: Determining the coverage amount seems crucial. How can a business decide on the right coverage for key person insurance?
Mike Randall: It’s essential to consider a range of factors, such as the cost of finding and recruiting a replacement, operational disruption, lost sales, and the impact on the company’s finances. While there is no magic formula, a starting point is adding the person’s salary to their direct financial contribution to the company’s bottom line, then multiplying the result by at least 5.

Q: You also mentioned the type of policy matters. Could you elaborate on whether a term or permanent life policy is more suitable?
Mike Randall: Certainly. Term life insurance is more affordable but temporary, while permanent life insurance has higher premiums but provides additional benefits. Whole life insurance offers a guaranteed premium with accumulating cash value, while universal life insurance provides flexibility and potential market investments. The choice depends on factors like ownership and long-term goals.

Q: What are the tax implications of key person insurance?
Mike Randall: Premiums are generally not tax-deductible, but the cash value in a permanent policy is tax-deferred. Small businesses can borrow against the policy without causing a taxable event. Depending on policy details, the death benefit may not be taxable either.

Q: Finally, how does key person insurance fit into the broader picture of protecting and strengthening a business?
Mike Randall: Key person insurance is just one way life insurance can safeguard a business. Collaborating with financial professionals helps assess complex needs and tailor solutions for immediate requirements and long-term goals.

Thank you, Mike, for shedding light on key person insurance and its importance for business owners!

If you have additional questions, you can contact Mike directly at 519-872-5705, or by email at mrandall@nourinsuranceservices.ca.

Feel free to visit his LinkedIn profile:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-randall-a3735119/

Instagram AI for Your Small Business

Instagram AI for Your Small Business

Imagine this: you are overwhelmed with invoices, multi-tasking through emails, and attempting to craft an engaging Instagram caption that won’t be lost in the algorithm. Suddenly, an amazing opportunity presents itself, promising engagement, growth, and a way out of the social media grind. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? But before clicking on that “buy now” button, let’s determine if these Instagram AI tools are truly the solution to your small business challenges.

When considering any new tool or technology, it is essential to thoroughly understand its features and limitations before deciding to buy or use it. Businesses should identify the specific areas that Instagram AI tools can improve, such as automated posting, targeted audience reach, or analytical tracking. It is also important to evaluate your budget and determine if these tools align with the overall marketing strategy.

AI’s Impact on Engagement and Growth

According to recent statistics, AI presents the potential for Instagram enhancements that can considerably help businesses. Take a look at these numbers:

  • 80% of Instagram users engage with AI-powered content. (Source: Sprout Social)
  • AI-driven hashtag research boosts post reach by 30%. (Source: Social Pilot)
  • Scheduling tools save you six hours per week. (Source: Hootsuite)
  • Instagram ads powered by AI see 20% higher conversion rates. (Source: Meta for Business)
  • Using AI-generated captions can increase comments by 15%. (Source: Later)

AI Resources for Small Business

Let’s examine some popular AI solutions for Instagram and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Jasper.ai (formerly Jarvis): Jasper AI can generate inventive hooks, product descriptions, and even hashtags for your Instagram posts.
Pros: Saves time; combats writer’s block; generates catchy copy.
Cons: Requires fine-tuning to match your brand voice and can occasionally produce generic content.

Canva: AI-powered features like photo resizing and background removal make it a one-stop shop for visual storytelling.
Pros: User-friendly interface; diverse visual content; AI simplifies design tasks.
Cons: Limited free plan and a learning curve for complex designs.

Tailwind: Tailwind schedules posts, suggests hashtags, and even analyzes competitors’ strategies.
Pros: Smart scheduling; competitor analysis; hashtag optimization.
Cons: Free plan limitations; some features can feel overwhelming.

Predis.ai: Predis suggests responses to comments, automates direct messages, and even identifies potential brand ambassadors.
Pros: Automates engagement; identifies valuable followers; saves time overall.
Cons: Can feel robotic if overused; limited free plan.

Bonus Tips:

  • Before committing to a paid subscription, try out free trials and demos first. Most tools provide a taste of their AI magic so that you can make an informed decision.
  • Define your objectives and identify your target audience. Doing this will help you choose the most suitable AI tool for your Instagram journey.
  • Experiment! Not every tool will fit your needs perfectly. Explore different options to find the AI tools that resonate with your workflow.

Using AI: Challenges and Considerations

AI has great marketing potential for Instagram but misusing it can damage your brand’s voice. Choose AI tools carefully and avoid quick fixes for success. Instead, focus on genuine engagement and organic growth for a sustainable Instagram account. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Over-reliance on AI can lead to robotic and impersonal content. Incorporate your brand’s voice and personality to make your content stand out!
  • Not all AI tools are created equal. Do your research and choose tools that align with your needs and budget.
  • Be mindful of Instagram’s policies on automation. Avoid tools that promise fake followers or engagement.

Over to You!

AI is a powerful tool, but it is not a magic wand. Use it strategically and prioritize authenticity while always maintaining your brand’s voice. With the right AI companion, you can streamline your workflow, boost engagement, and watch your Instagram presence flourish.

Are you ready to up your Instagram game and take your small business to new heights? Which AI tool sounds like the best one for you?

When you’re ready to outsource your social media management, we have a great team at MYOB, ready to work with you!

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Supporting Staff Through the Holidays

Supporting Staff Through the Holidays

The holiday season is filled with joy, celebration, and relaxation. However, it can also be a time of increased stress and pressure for many businesses and their staff. With vacations, family obligations, and year-end deadlines during flu season, the holidays can take a toll on employees.

As a leader or manager, supporting and caring for your staff during this time of year is crucial. Ensuring your team feels supported and valued during the holiday season can significantly boost morale and productivity into the new year and beyond!

Here are some ways you can offer the support your staff will appreciate this time of the year.

#1. Discuss taking time off sooner rather than later.

The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, including your staff, who may have personal commitments that require them to take time off. As a result, it is a good idea to discuss time-off policies and expectations with them in advance of the holiday season. This allows everyone to plan their holidays and manage their workload accordingly. By giving them ample notice, they can make arrangements to ensure their work is taken care of while they are away. Being open and understanding about their time-off needs also helps foster a sense of trust and transparency in the workplace.

It is also important to consider the impact of time-off requests on other team members. It is essential to have clear communication regarding how their absence will affect the team’s deadlines and projects. This can prevent any last-minute stress or confusion and help distribute the workload evenly among the remaining staff members.

It would also be beneficial to set a deadline for when time-off requests must be submitted in advance so that the schedule can be adjusted accordingly. It is important to remember that maintaining a balance between employee needs and business needs is crucial to a successful and harmonious holiday season for everyone.

#2. Provide mental health support.

The holiday season can bring up a whole range of emotions for your staff. While some may be looking forward to spending quality time with their loved ones, others may be dreading uncomfortable family gatherings, or struggling with grief, financial stress, or feelings of loneliness. As a manager, it is crucial to recognize the impact of these emotions on your staff’s mental health and well-being. Encourage open communication and provide access to mental health supports such as counselling or employee assistance programs. Remind your employees that it is okay to take breaks, practice self-care, and seek help when needed.

As a manager, it is also important to lead by example and prioritize self-care during this busy time of year. Encourage your staff to take breaks, use their vacation days (if possible), and disconnect from work during the holidays. Try sharing your own self-care practices with your team and let them know that taking care of themselves emotionally is a significant part of their overall well-being. This could include exercise, mindfulness techniques, or spending time with loved ones. Remember, a healthy and happy team leads to a successful and productive workplace.

#3. Clearly state your expectations.

To ensure a smooth workflow during the holiday season, it is essential to communicate expectations to your staff. Be specific about tasks that need to be completed before, during, and after the holidays. Communicate any changes in deadlines or priorities and delegate tasks accordingly. At the same time, avoid overloading your employees with extra work, and be flexible with your expectations. Remember that your employees are entitled to enjoy their holidays and recharge for the new year.

Setting clear boundaries and expectations early will also help to prevent conflicts or misunderstandings. Be sure to communicate the importance of meeting deadlines and keeping organized during this busy time. Encourage your team to plan ahead and schedule their vacation time beforehand to avoid any last-minute disruptions. Additionally, consider offering incentives or rewards for those who exceed expectations during the holiday season. This can boost morale and motivation for your staff, ensuring a successful end to the year.

#4. Show appreciation to those who work for you.

As a leader, it is important to show appreciation for your staff’s hard work and dedication throughout the year, and the holiday season is the perfect time to do so. If possible, organize a staff holiday party or a small end-of-year celebration to thank them for their efforts. Consider giving out small gifts or bonuses to show your gratitude. Your staff will feel valued and motivated to continue their hard work in the new year. One of our previous blog posts, “Do You Feel Appreciated?” shares ideas for ensuring your people feel valued and appreciated!

#5. Demonstrate respect.

As a business owner, it may be tempting to contact employees if there is a client crisis, but you should do everything you can to resist the temptation. Respect the personal time and privacy of your team members during the holiday season.

Over to You!

The holiday season can be stressful for many, and it’s important to remember that your team members are not immune to this. Taking the time to check in with them can make a big difference in their well-being. Show genuine interest in their lives outside of work and offer support if they are struggling. This demonstrates that you value them as individuals, not just as workers, and can strengthen the bond between you and your team.

A small gesture like offering flexibility in their work schedule or a thoughtful gift can also go a long way in making them feel appreciated and motivated during this busy time of year. After all, a happy and supported team will lead to better productivity and success for your organization.