Stuff happens. No matter how many processes, customer reps, or positive reviews you have, there’s bound to come a time when negative online review management will be a priority. You can’t please everyone, but you can recover quickly with purposeful strategies. Bad news spreads quickly and can linger on the web long after a problem is solved, but that doesn’t mean you need to deal with bad publicity forever.
What Makes Up Your Online Reputation?
Reviews and press about your business should be taken seriously, they often point to the direction your review management strategies should go in the future. Your online presence is made up of a number of factors like:
Why Does It Matter?
Each form of online content acts as a piece of data to determine the overall perception of your business across the internet. Analyzing the conversations, interactions and stories being released are huge because:
Reviewing, Analyzing, and Monitoring Magic
Most small and medium-sized businesses do not have the time or resources in place to properly manage their reviews on multiple review platforms and utilize positive reviews on a consistent basis. If you are one of these brands, you want to help you stop missing out on a major opportunity to stand out from competitors!
Even with all your greatest intentions and collections of positive reviews, 20% of reviews across the internet are still defamatory, fraudulent, or have been published with malicious intent or improper site policies for established businesses. But research and development of this information is not an easy business task, so we’ve compiled our top tips to consistently manage your reviews and maintain trust with your customers.
Set Up Google Alerts and Analytics – If content is king, then data is queen! This tool makes reviewing and analyzing the narrative your business has created online easy. You can set up your top keywords and be alerted when any news or new data becomes available online about your business. Once you review what is being said and spread, it makes it easier to analyze the direction you want to take your reputation and how to build out strategy and communications to reach your goals.
Appoint a Community Manager – Whether outsourcing to reputation experts or collecting information over weeks internally, it’s important to be able to implement the strategies and changes you’re making to your reputation. Your community should be at the core of your operational values, because it is the main – if not only – way to build customer loyalty in the early years of business. For example, when a troubled customer leaves a comment or review, they typically expect a response within a day if not hours. Who will ensure their concerns are answered every time? Appointing someone to engage with your community regularly and setting up systems like response templates, timelines and tone guides can make this process streamlined and consistent for a reputation lift.
As you gain more presence, notoriety, and reviews online, it’s likely you’ll also gain more customers.
But not every person is guaranteed to be pleased with your products or services, so let’s talk about having a response and management strategy for bad reviews. This is an often overlooked yet critical element to keep your positive reputation online.
Address the Concern with Gratitude – Remember those times you were desperate for customers to get your business off the ground? Well, it’s important to keep this in mind when you get triggered by a poor review and act from a place of contempt versus compassion. Thank them first for voicing their concerns or feedback and consider their comment. Oftentimes, our greatest insights come from failure. Reacting in a way that proves you want to create a connection is a win-win because 33% of customers who received a response to their negative review later changed it to be more positive, while 34% deleted their negative review! When replying to negativity, remember to keep your tone friendly and understanding. It’s often best to personalize it with a name if available, acknowledge what was written and add the steps that will be taken internally.
Take the Back and Forth Offline – In the chance things escalate and an angry back and forth ensues, it’s best to move your conversation about their feedback to phone or email customer support. 39% of customers leaving negative feedback just want the company to apologize. So be concise on the review site, and follow up personally with the customer through another medium.
Future-proofing your brand and reputation online can seem like a daunting task with the digital revolution and constantly evolving social media platforms… but really, there has never been a time to be an online business and with solid strategies, the future will look bright for brands willing to put in the work now.
Make the Algorithms Your Friend – Understanding what each platform finds meaningful is the surest way to increase your brand visibility over time. The more high-quality content you craft for each platform – whether it be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, SEO keywords etc, – the more likely you are to be found and start building trust among your target audience. Creating a marketing strategy with meaningful content in a range of pillars the more easily you will increase your bottom line. Creating content for warm leads (ready to buy) and new leads (unaware of you or their problems yet) allows you to welcome but also convert people every day while collecting glowing reviews about your business. Over the years you’ll increase your reputation, reviews, and business operations processes for success.
Outsource Your Weaknesses to Increase Your Happiness – As you’re starting up your business, we know you’re boot strapping it, but investing in support is an indicator of commitment to your vision. No one can do it all by themselves and no small business has an owner who can truly do it all at a high level. That’s why investing in expert support whether it be marketing, accounting, or review monitoring and management can help you skyrocket your success and peace of mind, but also prevent reputation crises in the future.
The brand building gold is in the little details. Every comment and review overtime adds up to be a lot of talk about your brand. It’s crucial we ensure you’re worth the talk and walking the walk! With a combination of data development, review, and reputation management, you’ll be able to grow your visibility, sales and community overtime seamlessly!