Historically, reputation management happened in small bits and pieces. A customer would tell their friends and family about an experience, using word-of-mouth promotion to recommend a place or deter people from going there. Today, this happens on a massive scale. One review on sites like Yelp or Google can reach hundreds — if not thousands — of people and convince them to buy or avoid your products or services. These reviews also live on the web for years, and studies have shown they directly impact your local ranking.
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the process of listening to these comments and responding to them. It’s essential for the success of your business operations. Here’s why (and how) you should follow reputation management best practices.
Your Customers Get Their Information From Online Reviews
More people than ever turn to online reviews to get an accurate picture of the brand they’re buying from. Roughly 84 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal word-of-mouth recommendations.
Negative reviews drag down your marketing efforts because your customers won’t trust your message over the reviews of others. Google even factors in reviews in the search results, pushing companies with poor reviews down in favor of ones customers trust more.
Your online reviews don’t just affect your customer base. They also affect potential employees. A negative public image can turn people away from applying to work for your company, giving you a smaller talent pool to choose from.
Customers Expect You to Respond Online
Your customers publish reviews and comments to change the behavior of other customers (for better or for worse), but also to reach out to your brand. Roughly 42 percent of customers say they expect a response time of 60 minutes or less when they post a comment on social media — and 57 percent of customers expect the same response time on nights and weekends as during normal business hours. While your customers might have more patience for reviews on Yelp or Google, they definitely expect you to respond.
Even if you just need to thank a customer for their praise or feedback, you should always respond to a review. This isn’t always easy — especially when you’re responding to a negative comment — but showing that you have an active customer care team that wants to help can go a long way to ease the concerns of potential customers and even win back some dissatisfied ones.
Build Up Online Reviews to Promote Your Brand
Reputation management is a relatively easy strategy to employ if you embrace online reviews and honest feedback instead of hiding from it. Consider including calls to action in confirmation emails, thank-you messages, and other customer communications to leave reviews on Google or other review platforms. You can even link your page directly to your online pages to make it easy for customers to rate and comment on your business.
Another option is to use software to help facilitate review gathering. You can also incorporate the review process in your face-to-face communications. Take time to train your staff on how to ask for reviews and thanking people for leaving them.
Your customers are already reviewing your business online — do you know what they’re saying? If you’re not successfully managing the online reputation of your business, reach out to the LeadBuilder® performance marketing team today and learn how we can help.
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