In today’s world of online reviews, managing your business’s reputation has never been more important.
Let’s look at the numbers: Nearly 91% of people say that they regularly read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Even more interesting (or perhaps concerning might be the better word), 68% of those people form their opinion of a business after reading just between one and six reviews.
Simply put, managing your online reputation has become an essential part of doing business. In this article, I’ll lay out 6 things to keep in mind in the process.
1. Be Responsive
The reality of online reviews is that you’re eventually going to hear from one (or more) unhappy customers. The tricky part of online reviews is that they need to be handled the same whether or not the reviewer has a legitimate reason to be upset.
In all cases, the best way to handle a negative review is to tackle it head-on by making yourself available. Don’t get defensive, as this will likely turn off other customers who see how you react to negative feedback.
An example of a good response to a negative review might be, “Hello [name], we are sorry to hear about your experience. Please contact us at [contact information] and we’ll figure out how to make this right!”
Yes, some people live to complain, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Be polite and don’t shy away from bad reviews. Simply reaching out proves to other customers that you care about their experience.
2. Ask for Reviews
It’s an unfortunate reality for many businesses today – out of 100 customers, you might have a 99% approval rate, but that one dissatisfied customer is the person who leaves a review.
The only real solution to this problem, which many businesses face, is to ask for more reviews from happy customers.
While there are some regulations about review solicitation, there’s nothing wrong with a follow-up email (especially if customers are emailed a receipt), or asking for reviews on your social media.
The bottom line is that you want your reviews to be an accurate depiction of overall customer satisfaction. The only way to make that happen is by getting more of your customers to talk about their experience online. Don’t be afraid to simply ask them to share their feedback!
3. Set Up a Notification System
If you’re a business owner, having the time to monitor and respond to reviews can feel like a luxury. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay up-to-date on what your customers are saying without checking in multiple times per day.
In response to the growing importance of managing online feedback, many review platforms have the capability to notify you in real-time when a new review is posted. This means you can respond quickly, which makes the customer feel valued.
Additionally, some programs that are specifically designed for reputation management can aggregate reviews from a number of different sites onto one, easy-to-use platform. This means you don’t have to log in to Yelp, Google, Facebook, and all the other major review destinations on an individual basis.
If your business receives a high number of reviews, making a small investment in a review notification aggregation platform can do wonders for your online reputation.
4. Repurpose Testimonials for Content
What’s the best part of receiving a glowing review? It’s free marketing content!
It has been said that the best advertising is a satisfied customer – and most consumers place much more credibility in user reviews than typical marketing copy. With this in mind, it can be extremely helpful to create a document to store all your positive reviews to repurpose for content down the road.
For example, posting a thorough, positive review on Facebook can get the attention of potential customers. Most website platforms also have a space to incorporate reviews, even updating its own without any attention needed from the developer.
Never let a good endorsement go to waste. Keep a “library” of this positive engagement with current customers and don’t be afraid to use it as supplemental marketing material.
5. Stay Current
Although the majority of this post has focused on the customer-business interaction, there are plenty of things you can be doing on your own to grow your brand’s online reputation.
When customers search for a company in your industry, one way to stand out is by having the most up-to-date content on your website and social media platforms. If your last Facebook post is from 2 months ago and your website’s blog hasn’t seen any new posts in half-a-year, it sends an unfavorable message to your audience.
Getting in the habit of regularly updating your digital content will also help on the SEO side of things, which is always important for brand visibility.
6. Manage Your Google My Business
Google My Business, or that little section in Google that shows a business’s hours, address, photos, and reviews, is becoming the first ‘touch point’ in millions of customer-business interactions.
If you haven’t taken the time to optimize your listing, it’s a relatively easy process and it can have a huge impact on how people see your business for the first time.
In addition to simply hosting your information, Google My Business is a great place to promote new offers or upcoming events, as well as respond to questions that users ask through the platform’s QA feature.
In today’s digital environment – for better or worse – your reputation almost always precedes you.
Taking the time to make sure you’re being represented accurately online should be a priority or businesses of all industries. Actively managing your reputation is also a great way to stay on top of what your customers are saying about you, which can help you make adjustments as needed.
If you need assistance in reputation management, get in touch today and we’ll help find solutions for your business.