It is a current reality that your company’s online reputation can make or break your business. With the numerous ways that the public can share opinions online, it’s safe to say that review sites and social media really are today’s main form of word of mouth communication. First impressions hold more weight that ever before.
Think about how you conduct your own research when you’re figuring out where to get your vehicle fixed or where to grab your next bite to eat. You are likely to turn to a quick Google search, and within seconds you have formed your first impression of a company. When the first company you see has 1 out of 5 stars, it’s safe to say you probably won’t be using them.
In a Nielsen study on global trust in advertising, they discovered that 66% of global consumers indicated that they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions.
What are online reviews saying about your company? How can you manage your online reputation?
Amp Up Your Online Presence
Don’t just focus on one review site. Focus on your online presence as a whole. Understand that your customers are looking at more than just Yelp reviews. They’re looking on Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, and more. This doesn’t mean that you need to have an online presence on every review site out there. Setup pages on review sites that are most relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a restaurant you don’t need to have a review page setup on Angie’s List.
Most importantly, make sure the information on your review pages are consistent. You don’t want incorrect addresses, phone numbers and other information leading your potential customers in the wrong direction.
Aim for Rapid Response Times
Monitor your review sites daily so that you can respond to customers in a timely manner. Leaving reviews un-responded to not only looks bad, but will leave customer issues unresolved. The goal should be to move the conversation offline when a negative review or comment is made.
Don’t forget to thank the positive reviewers too! Those reviewers are directly impacting your online presence in a positive way.
Stay professional in your responses. You will have to strike a balance between leaving feedback in a timely manner without sounding scripted and impersonal. Avoid online arguments at all costs. It’s best to apologize, take the conversation offline and come to a resolution to the problem. Remember, what you say online can be seen by current and prospective customers. They’re judging how you respond to negative situations because they know they could be in the same boat someday.
Ask for Reviews Offline
Don’t be afraid to ask your happy customers to leave a review. Be creative about it! A company that has numerous positive reviews gives the online impression of reliability.
Your customers are brand advocates for your business. Make their opinions count. At the end of the day your products, services and how your treat your customers is what is going to set you apart from your competition. Your online reputation starts with you and your employees.