Reputation management is a crucial and frequently neglected aspect of any business’ online presence. According to Search Engine Land eighty eight percent of consumers say that online reviews are trusted as much as a personal recommendation. Most businesses can benefit from taking steps to enhance their reputation by engaging publicly with happy, unhappy and prospective clients. Here are some suggestions and guidelines to consider incorporating into your daily routine to help your business grow with sound reputation management:
Monitor reviews and mentions by keeping up with what people are saying about your business on various platforms such as review, social media, local news and information sites. This can help you stay informed about your reputation online and take necessary actions in a timely manner.
Set up alerts for any new review or mention about your brand so that you can respond promptly and effectively.
Generate positive reviews by encouraging your satisfied customers to leave positive reviews as soon as you have completed serving them. A high volume of positive reviews can help boost search engine results and your online reputation. The average consumer reads seven reviews before buying a new product or service. You can use email campaigns or social media to request reviews. Some platforms such as Google Business Profile and Yelp make it easy to request reviews by including a simple link for the client to post feedback.
Consider social media monitoring or listening if your business or brand has a high volume of review and discussion activity. Apart from reviews, listening for any untagged mentions about your brand or yourself on blogs, social media and even traditional broadcast media can help you address any concerns or negative feedback. Developing a communication plan in case of unfavorable mentions may be necessary. For those that send out press releases social listening services can pick up reporting generated by your press release.
Respond to negative reviews and mentions within 24 hours. Responding to negative reviews or comments in a professional and empathetic manner can help in resolving the issue and showcase your willingness to address customer concerns. Don’t lose your cool when responding. Most consumers understand occasional unfortunate circumstances that generate bad reviews. Doing your best to make things right with the customer will go a long way toward gaining empathy with the public. You may even be able to convince the unhappy customer to retract the review or write a positive follow up comment.
Respond to every review, even the positive ones, to show your customers that you care about their feedback. Express gratitude for positive reviews just as you would when a customer pays you a complement in person.
Create monthly reports. Regular monitoring and reporting of your online reputation can help you track progress and identify areas that need improvement.
Overall, reputation management requires a proactive and strategic approach to ensure a positive online presence. Ongoing engagement with your audience is helpful to build a loyal customer base and drive business growth. Here are some ways to engage with your existing and prospective customers:
Reach out to repeat customers via email, social media or text if they have given that permission. Staying in touch with your repeat customers can help you maintain a good relationship and encourage them to return. However, be careful not to overdo it and avoid reaching out too quickly after their last interaction.
Make it easy by providing easy-to-use methods for customers to engage with you, such as clickable links to reviews, forms and surveys. Most client facing digital platforms have tools to make this easy.
Offer small incentives to encourage customers to engage with your brand through loyalty programs or other promotions. Discounts on subsequent purchases through online coupons or loyalty tools have been proven to work to drive happy customers back for additional purchases.
Share positive user-generated content on your website and social media to show your appreciation and encourage further engagement.
Create case studies especially if you serve a business-to-business customer base. Creating case studies can help showcase your success stories and build credibility with potential customers. Case studies should be posted on your business website, social media, and pushed via email. Case studies are a great way to communicate successful use cases with your product or service.
Follow up and express gratitude. Send follow-up emails, texts, or notes on receipts to thank customers for their business and encourage them to share their experience.
Choose a day and time to read and reply to reviews. Making review management a daily scheduled activity is a long term strategy to maximize the impact of happy customers and minimize the impact of negative communication. As mentioned previously, this is also a time to send out review requests to happy customers. This is a habit that will accrue positive benefits over time.
Set team goals and rewards for your team to achieve a certain number of positive reviews during an established time period. Offer rewards for achieving those goals and publicize the award winner internally.
Set up a Google Alert, monitor your online reputation by setting up a Google Alert when your business name is mentioned. This is a vastly under-utilized tool, overlooked by most local business operators.
In conclusion, most business owners don’t pay enough attention to happy customers. They don’t ask them for reviews and they don’t answer their reviews with a thank you as they would a face to face complement. By incorporating these fundamentals into your daily routine you can magnify sentiments of happy customers, cause them to return frequently as well as cause them to influence others to also buy. Much has been written about this topic, yet most local businesses have room for improvement. Here are some helpful links and additional reading:
• Social Media Listening tools and resources:
• Top Review sites:
• Effective ways to get more customer reviews:
• Yelp’s guide to success: https://biz.yelp.com/guide_to_success
• Google Alert: https://www.google.com/alerts