Business Advantage Show – Interview with Mike Schmidt

Below is a transcript of the interview: 

Dan (host): And right now we are joined by Mike Schmidt of Anchor Wave Internet Solutions. Mike how are you?

Mike (guest): I’m doing great. How are you Dan today?

Dan (host): Not too bad, we’re having a good time here. I don’t know if you caught any of that last segment, we had Eagle Eye Rare Coins on here, he’s got $155,000 half dime, half dime, that’s right from 1792 I think it was.

Mike (guest): That’s incredible.

Dan (host): And I’m looking at your homepage and I don’t see anything like that there.

Mike (guest): We don’t have any coins on our website.

Dan (host): No coins, but you do have this thing called Review Lead. What is that?

Mike (guest): Yeah, so what that is all about helping local businesses get more five star reviews.

Dan (host): Ahh.

Mike (guest): I don’t know about you but when you’re looking for a business a lot of us get recommendations from friends, we may find something through a Google search, but a lot of times it’s leading us to a list of choices, right?

Dan (host): Yeah.

Mike (guest): A list of choices of businesses that we can choose from. And through some training that I’ve done, and asked a lot of people, and done a lot of surveys is statistically the people who get the calls the most are not the people who show up first, right? It’s not the people who show up highest in Google. It’s the people that have the most reviews and have the most number of five star reviews, ’cause simply people are looking at reputation to see who they’re going to call. Now, they might call all the businesses on that list, right? Just to get a price comparison or to find out what the options are, but the end of the day who they’re going to call first is going to be the person, that business with the best reputation. And that’s made in a split second, that decision to call that. And a lot of businesses might be wondering kind of why they might not be getting as many calls as a competitor, but they might be overlooking how they’re showing up. Even though they might be a great business, they might not be showing up so great from a reputation point of view.

Dan (host): All right, so your company is Anchor Wave Internet Solutions, right?

Mike (guest): Yeah.

Dan (host): And how long have you guys been doing this internet stuff?

Mike (guest): I started the business in 2003 just before I graduated from University of Arizona.

Dan (host): Okay.

Mike (guest): And so, we’ve been in business, just celebrated our 15th anniversary in January.

Dan (host): Oh good for you. I mean that’s a long time in this industry, right?

Mike (guest): Yeah it sure is. I mean when I think back 15 years that was a time before Facebook, and a time before YouTube, and a lot of things that … before smartphones, right?

Dan (host): Yeah.

Mike (guest): And so, a lot of things have shifted, a lot of things have changed, and we’ve built an awful lot of websites in that time, and helped a lot of businesses market themselves online as well.

Dan (host): Well I know you guys are known in Tuscan, I’m sure beyond for building incredible websites, but when you mention the change as you were describing that review business I can remember just a few years ago when I would do a search and really I would kind of trust Google to make the recommendation in terms of who they put at the top of the page or at least on the first page. But recently I’ve noticed that I really do pay a lot of attention to those stars, and I don’t necessarily need to see five stars but if I see anything even four or below I almost subconsciously disregard that company from consideration, is that what happens?

Mike (guest): Yeah that’s true. A lot of times people will automatically disqualify a company because they have low stars. But those businesses that sit in that four to five star range should really be looking at a couple more things more than just their average star rating, because what happens if the search comes up and everybody looks kind of the same? Like everybody has four or five stars and they all have kind of a similar reputation, well that’s when the customer will typically take a little bit deeper dive. And they’re looking at things like the recency of reviews. So are they pretty fresh, are they recent or are they like a couple months old or a couple years old? And what does that say about a business?

Dan (host): Yeah.

Mike (guest): They also might look at negative reviews, and if that business has responded to them. Because you know everyone’s going to get those negative reviews, it happens, even the best businesses in the world are going to have that happen. But the question is how do they deal with that? And if they don’t deal with that, that also says something about a business. So there’s more factors that even the business that has a four or five star review should be looking at just to making sure that they’re healthy. And so far conversation has been very centered around Google, but what about Facebook? What about Yelp? What about Better Business Bureau? There are a lot of places where people have a reputation online, and what does it say about a business if they have a really high rating one place and a low rating somewhere else?

Dan (host): What does it say?

Mike (guest): It says enough to create a moment of concern …

Dan (host): Doubt?

Mike (guest): … or moment of doubt, correct.

Dan (host): Okay.

Mike (guest): And really any doubt or any pause in that process could sway that opportunity to go somewhere else. I mean the good news is really that taking care of those things and getting more views isn’t that big of a deal, but what I’ve found is that most businesses haven’t done a great job of asking their best customers and clients to leave those reviews. And even when they do they don’t have a process in place to remind them, because I’ve heard some businesses, “I’ve asked my best clients and customers to leave reviews but they just don’t do it.” And that’s why when we end up helping businesses with that we have a process to remind people and also make it really easy to leave those reviews. Because I don’t know when the last time you left a review but getting to the place where you can actually leave a review and having an account to log in is a little bit of a process. And if we make it difficult at all for the consumer to leave that review they just won’t do it. We’re all busy, we got a lot of things going on and leaving reviews if it’s hard isn’t going to happen.

Dan (host): All right, when you say process to sort of help somebody leave a review are we talking about just pestering the heck out of them until they finally do?

Mike (guest): Well I mean pestering would be one way to describe it but really …

Dan (host): The pester process.

Mike (guest): Yeah, it’s really having a good script to follow. Most people don’t mind being followed-up with one or two times after doing business with you. And that’s where we kind of put that into process. And if they leave that review we can automatically take them out of those reminders so that way we’re not pestering. Because of the pester when, “Hey, I’ve already left you the review but you still keep asking me.”

Dan (host): Yeah.

Mike (guest): That’s annoying, but otherwise people we find are glad to get those reminders because we just forget. We have the best of intentions to leave those reviews and a little extra nudge, a little extra reminder often is responded to as opposed to being met with annoyance.

Dan (host): Al right, so you mentioned a couple minutes ago that obviously we were talking about Google, but there’s also Facebook, Yahoo, Yelp, there’s all kinds of these places now where reviews can be deposited. Are you able to help people manage sort of their reputation across a lot of different platforms?

Mike (guest): Yeah. What we do is help people manage everywhere that it’s relevant to them. Most local businesses need to have a great reputation on Google, on Facebook, and on Yelp because those are probably the highest sources of traffic of [inaudible 00:07:45] that are going to be sent to business. But depending on the industry, like if they’re a physician, or if they’re an auto mechanic, or if they’re a plumber, or whatever their industry might be there may be different places that are important. For example, if you’re a realtor a lot of business is set through Zillow or Trulia, those are two websites were people are looking for homes and doing searches and getting connected with realtors, and so it would make sense that a realtor would want to have a great reputation on those sites too where that wouldn’t really make sense at all for a dentist for example.

Dan (host): Right, okay. Let’s say that … I guess it sounds almost like you want to make sure that you have reviews, that you have positive reviews, and you have a good reputation on Facebook, Google, and probably Yelp. And then if you’re in a particular industry say auto repair there may be one or two others that you should consider. So, when you are using this process on customers to remind them to post these reviews are you asking them in that example I just gave, potentially to give four or five reviews or do you have a way to consolidate so that one review is published across these different places?

Mike (guest): Generally we’re asking them to leave one review. If somebody leaves more than one review that’s great. I wish there was a way that you could collect a review and automatically broadcast it everywhere it could go, but each of these review platforms it’s against their terms of service and they really want that review to happen on the platform. So the way that we manage that is we kind of change what we’re asking for over time. So if you have a Google reputation that we’ve helped you improve then we might kind of switch it up and say, “Okay, instead of of trying to ask most dominantly for Google maybe we’ll put Yelp there instead, or Facebook.” That way the flow of those reviews are being kind of shared around in different places. And that way we can kind of over time build that. One thing that’s really interesting is that reviews older than three months are not as trustworthy as ones that are frequent, so that’s why we come … This isn’t a thing were we just get your stars up and call it good, it’s really an ongoing process where you always want to be attracting new reviews. And that’s why kind of rotating through the different sites, and sharing the love across these different platforms is really the way to do it.

Dan (host): Okay, so that’s an interesting thing that three months, four months, five months they kind of got a half life on them, they decay quickly. Has study been done on that? Is there data to support that?

Mike (guest): Yeah there is. Bright Local does a study each year and they just released their 2018 numbers. And I don’t have those numbers in front of me so I’m not going to [crosstalk 00:10:33].

Dan (host): Yeah, yeah.

Mike (guest): But they have a study that really goes into depth of the how people use that, so if anybody’s interested in checking that out just doing a search for Bright Local Review Study should pull that up.

Dan (host): Okay. And speaking of a search like that I wanted to mention your website which is AnchorWave.com and you can see what Mike and I are talking about right now, and you can see a lot more there. On that same subject in terms of kind of the freshness of reviews, what is about that? So, if you look on a page and you see that the most recent review was two or three months ago and it’s an auto repair shop, I guess it doesn’t really make you skeptical about the business but it just doesn’t really encourage you to look anymore closely. Why is that?

Mike (guest): It’s kind of game of comparison, what are the competitors doing? And if you are presented with three options and one of them has several reviews from the past week, maybe even the last few days or last few weeks compared to one that’s the next competitor that has one from like a month ago, two months ago, three months ago, and maybe the third competitor hasn’t had one in two years, we’re really looking at that comparison of what is true. And things shift over time. A business that maybe had some service delivery problems two years ago, and maybe the reviews reflect that they may have changed, maybe they hired a new manager, maybe they changed the way they do things and now they’ve been able to solve that problem and their reviews now reflecting that. A business that was also once very good maybe has declined. The frequency or the recency of those reviews is really what allows us to trust that, hey, if I go there and use this business that my experience should be in line with what I’m seeing here.

Dan (host): Yeah, very good. Well Mike, we’ve run out of time. Very interesting to me, I’m sure to our listeners as well. I’m talking to Mike Schmidt of Anchor Wave Internet Solutions and you can find him online at AnchorWave.com. And please do leave a very positive review about this interview Mike on my Facebook page, Tuscan Business Advantage.

Mike (guest): You got it. Well thanks for having me here today.

Dan (host): Thanks for being on, buh-bye.

Anthony Rivera