Reputation management has always been an important facet of any successful business. Especially businesses that rely on local sales and customer loyalty. Though it is taken to a whole new level in the 21st Century, where things like internet advertising, reviews, and social media marketing have a powerful influence on all businesses.
That’s why so many thriving modern-day companies are turning to innovative reputation management strategies to keep up with the pace of 21st Century business. If you are looking to take the next step with your online marketing, you might want to consider embracing the following online reputation management strategies to help you attract new customers as well as retain loyal customers.
Understand the Impact of Negative Reviews & Complaints
It used to be that a negative review of the complaint simply represented one lost customer. It was a shame not to gain their brand loyalty, but it only meant losing one single drop of a future sale in a sea of potential future sales. Today, internet marketing tools and search engine algorithms like Google’s are keying in on all reviews. This includes negative reviews that are left out there for all the world to see. This gives negative reviews a power they never had before.
If a single one of your company’s locations receives a negative online review and it goes unanswered, it can have a profound impact on your future sales in a variety of ways. Right off the bat, it is a missed opportunity to get valuable operational feedback that can help improve the organization. Compounding this is the fact that you’ve ignored a customer who had a bonafide issue with your products or services.
Now that negative, critical review is sitting out there in perpetuity on the review site as a strong cautionary tale for other potential customers, warning them to stay away. The potential loss of sales from this single, harsh, negative review is truly incalculable.
While you can never be perfect, responding to negative reviews gives you both an opportunity to learn from the mistake, as well as a chance to make it better for that customer. It can even be an opportunity to connect with them again and change their opinion.
If anything, responding to the negative review positively and professionally can help sway the opinion of other users who read the review. Not to mention, Google and other popular search engines tend to view review responses as a sign of activity, which could help improve your organic ranking over time.
Developing A Proactive Reputation Management Strategy
Responding to all reviews, including being positive and professional about negative reviews is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to developing a strong, proactive reputation management strategy. A strong online reputation can do more than just entice prospective customers, it can also turn customers into online advocates that further help to drive sales and maximize your business’ revenue stream.
This includes doing one or all of the following things
Developing A Review Request Program
Reviews of any kind, positive, negative, or neutral all play a vital role in boosting your company’s online reputation as well as improving your rankings. Especially local rankings, which can give you a leg up on the competition.
Encouraging reviews can be done in a variety of ways. This includes things like:
- Review referral promotions
- Encouraging reviews at the point of purchase displays
- Printing QR codes and review requests on receipts
- Printing QR codes and review requests on promotional hand-out items
- Including links to your review sites on your website
- Including links to your review sites on all your social media platforms
- Launching an email campaign from harvest customer contact information
You might want to also task your social media managers or designate a marketing person to regularly schedule to request customer reviews. By consistently generating feedback, you create a holistic view of customer appraisal over time. Then make sure to ask all customers for reviews, you drive up your locations’ average star ratings.
A growing body of research shows that most businesses gain up to 10% more responses when you send requests mid-week. It’s also worth noting that you typically see an additional 5% when you send requests in the morning.
Maintain A Consistent Process for Monitoring and Responding to Reviews
A lot of companies who successfully manage their online reputation to boost new customer sales and retain loyal customers have an internal customer service team that is dedicated to continuously monitoring their online reviews for them.
Though this team does more than just respond to negative reviews or post thankful messages for positive ones. They are also tasked with a certain level of oversight when it comes to finding things like operational weaknesses. Then this customer service team also needs to be empowered with the ability to resolve these potential issues when they find them.
This might include problems with counter courtesy in one location. Perhaps it is cleanliness or a lack of available products that were promised to be on-hand via the website. A good Online Reputation Management strategy will provide each of your locations and management systematic visibility into what to improve.
Develop A Comprehensive System for Managing Your Business Listings
Business listings have always played an important role in maintaining brand identity and driving local sales. In the 21st Century, online business listings have become even more important. Any time a potential customer searches online for a retail store or a service industry professional, they are typically looking for the closest business with the best reviews.
Should one of your business listings pop up in a Google search or on Google Maps with an incorrect address or out-of-date phone number, you’ll lose a potential customer and sale. Oftentimes without even realizing it!
Thankfully, one of the best ways to boost your online presence is to ensure accurate business listings. This includes monitoring listings on Google and completely filling in any-and-all missing information. This includes simple things like the name of your business, as well as correctly entering the address, phone number, website, and your pertinent hours of operation. Make sure to also note holidays when you are open or closed.
Stay Active On Your Social Media Platforms
A lot of potential new and existing customers use social media platforms like Facebook for information on things like products or services, as well as updates on promotions or special events. Even if they don’t engage in a particular promotion, remaining active on these highly viewed social media platforms will help keep your business fresh in their mind. If they click, link, or share a piece of promotional content, you can use it as a way to create a 2-way communication. This is a great way to engage with interested customers.
An active social media strategy also gives you the ability to showcase positive customer reviews, in a way that gives you some control over the narrative. It also helps to create a sense of community among advocates and encourages other customers to submit feedback.