In today’s digital age, online reviews have become a large part of your company’s reputation. Review sites like Yelp or Google enable customers to leave feedback of their experience with your company. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can allow one negative review to go viral if it receives enough traction. With so many online outlets available, it is essential to understand what reputation management is and how it affects your company.
Digital Information World provides an overview of what reputation management is. Although necessary, it is more than just simply having a staff member monitor your website comments and social media accounts. It involves doing something with those comments and engaging with customers via a variety of mediums. Companies who engage with their customers online show they value their customers’ opinions, even unfavorable ones. These efforts are intricately tied to your company’s marketing strategy and overall reputation.
BrightLocal highlights just how much online reviews matter when it comes to your company’s overall reputation. The site reports that 85% of consumers put as much stock in online reviews as they would a recommendation from family or friends. Companies with negative online reviews are at risk for losing up to 22% of their customers. In contrast, companies with favorable online reviews can see customers spending up to 31% more on their services or products. These statistics illustrate how essential it is have a reputation management policy in place. For example, your company may have 15 online reviews on Yelp, but one or two extremely negative reviews are a deterrent to some customers. While the reviews may not be truthful, customers searching for products or services have no way of knowing that.
Once you understand the importance of online reviews, you will need to create and implement a reputation management plan for your company. Forbes provides several ways to get started on your reputation management plan. The first step is to take stock of your online reputation. This includes reviewing Google search results for your company and previous social media posts. You will need to continuously monitor your online presence. Forbes recommends creating Google alerts for your company’s name and key personnel names. If you are looking for a more sophisticated approach, you can utilize media tracking programs like Cision.
Another key component of reputation management is viewing and responding to online comments on your website, social media accounts, or sites like Yelp and Google. Having a Google Alert will help you stay on top any time your company’s name appears in outside reviews. Forbes recommends creating accounts on Yelp and Google so customers can leave reviews. Positive reviews are easy to respond to; simply thank the customer for their review and express you are glad they were pleased. Negative reviews are more difficult to respond to. You can apologize they were disappointed with their experience and see if there is anything you can do to rectify the situation. You never want to argue with customers or accuse them of writing a false review. There are customers that you will never be able to please.
A strong reputation management strategy will not only help you increase your online presence, but also help mitigate any negative reviews your company receives.