With unlimited access to the internet, many people are more frequently searching online for information regarding a brand, service or product prior to purchasing. As such, third party reviews and word of mouth have become more powerful in swaying opinions than traditional advertising. Satisfied consumers will usually tell approximately 3 people about their positive experience whereas individuals who have had an unfavourable experience will tell anyone and everyone who will listen. This phenomenon makes online reputation monitoring and online reputation management essential to a company’s credibility and sustainability. Below, our digital marketing agency details how to manage and respond to reviews:
What Are Third Party Review Sites?
Important third party review sites include:
- Google Reviews
- And More
Online Reputation Monitoring
Online Reputation Monitoring is all about listening to what people are saying about you online. This task has become increasingly more important as consumers have become much more vocal in regards to publishing their opinions, questions and experiences with brands, products and services in public forums and online review platforms.
Your companies’ reputation can easily be monitored by setting up alerts that will notify you of instances when your company is mentioned in conversations held online. By doing this, you will be much more aware of what your customers are saying about you. The simplest way to do this is to set up “Google Alerts” corresponding to your name, your business name, etc.
Online Reputation Management
The management of your online reputation involves becoming engaged in the conversations taking place about you online, as well as responding to third party reviews. The best way to manage your reputation is to respond to both positive and negative reviews. Should you only respond to the negative, you will appear defensive and could possibly begin to convey a negative overall image, not to mention neglecting reviewers who have provided you with priceless third party promotion of your brand/service/product.
Benefits of Online Reputation Monitoring and Management
By monitoring and managing your online reputation you will:
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Strengthen or salvage relationships with your customers
- Increase brand awareness
- Learn more about your customers opinions, thoughts, and expectations
- Potentially increase in sales
- Develop stronger sense of loyalty within your current customers
Do’s and Don’ts When Responding to Reviews
- Thank them for their feedback
- Respond to positive reviews in a friendly manner
- In the case of a negative review – apologize for their experience
- Explain the steps that you or your organization will take to prevent the situation in the future
- Take it offline and invite the customer to contact you directly if they wish
- If it is an ongoing situation, post updates on the social media channel to show potential customers that you are taking steps to rectify the issue
- If the reviewer tends to rant, you should try to fix the issue they highlighted but avoid giving them much online attention
- Take the feedback personally
- Respond in an angry or abusive way and, most of all, do not attack the customer
- Question the individual’s legitimacy
- Use industry jargon that is not meaningful as you will appear to be robotic and insincere in your reply
To limit the impact of negative reviews:
- Have a plan of action in regards to how to deal with them
- Have a target response time (24 hours) to help minimize the impact
- Educate your staff regarding how to respond to negative reviews
Unjust or Fake Reviews
Unjust or fake reviews could include reviews from disgruntled former employees or fake negative reviews written by a competitor. If you suspect a review is fake or unjust:
- Flag it.Most online review sites emphasize trustworthy information and want to eliminate and filter fake reviews in order to provide accurate data to their clients. When you flag an unjust or fake review, be sure to point out any inconsistent information that can help prove that the review is clearly fake.
- If you can’t remove it, respond to it. When you reply, be sure to respond strategically and carefully – never abrasively. Be matter of fact and call the review into question by stating that you have no record of working with the reviewer; this will raise a flag for any potential customers reading the review and make them question its validity.
- One exception to this rule is Yelp. If you receive a fake review on Yelp, do not respond immediately, wait at least 10 days. Yelp uses an algorithm that filters reviews, so the fake review may get pushed down on its own, but not if you’ve already replied to it. The review has a higher likelihood of being filtered if is it from a new account that has posted less than 10 reviews.
- Bury it. The more positive reviews your business has, the less credible the negative and fake ones seem. If your business has a 4 star average rating, your potential customers will see right through the fake review(s).
Online reputation management and monitoring should be essential components to any online marketing strategy. By staying engaged with your customers and participating in their online conversations, you are able to have a better understanding of how you are viewed by your customers, acquire valuable feedback regarding your brand, and target areas of your business that may require improvement. It’s time to join the conversation!