Knowing what your customers are saying about you online is a key factor in effectively managing your online reputation. Here's the best way to do it.
If you could go back in time and talk to shopkeepers and handymen of yore about "online reputation management," you would quickly earn a reputation of your own: as the town crazy person.
But even if you went back 10 years, people probably still wouldn't know what you were talking about.
Until fairly recently, online reputation management was an umbrella term that could include any number of shady practices: Bribing bloggers to write about you, paying SEO companies to manipulate your website's ranking or bury negative feedback, buying fake reviews for your Yelp page: businesses tried them all in the Wild West era of internet commerce (aka the '00s).
But as consumers and search engine designers have gotten savvier, those questionable practices don't work so well anymore. Today, it's nearly impossible to hide or cover up a bad reputation.
That's good news for businesses that operate ethically and give their customers a good experience. People now understand that it's hard to get away with, say, posting fake reviews to Yelp. They know that a business owner who harasses or cheats his customers will get called out on Facebook and publicly shamed.
Many of those customers are also regular users of online review sites, and they know firsthand that these sites are legitimate and transparent, that businesses can't cheat the system. So just as they believe the negative reviews they see online, your customers believe the positive ones too.
The Power of Reviews
You probably have a lot in common with your customers. You drive on the same streets, shop in the same stores, cheer for the same sports teams.
You probably have similar habits around using online reviews, too.
After all, the majority of American consumers read online reviews, according to recent research:
- 93 percent of people surveyed said they read online reviews at least occasionally. 66 percent said they read reviews regularly or always.
- 73 percent said that positive reviews make them more likely to trust a business.
- 68 percent of people said they had written an online review when asked to do so.
- 85 percent said that they trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends and family.
Overall star rating is the most important factor people look at when evaluating online reviews. Quantity of reviews is the second most important factor, jumping 11 percent from 2016.
Your customers want to see that lots of people have had good experiences using your business.
So, yeah, online reviews directly affect the way customers make buying decisions. Leverage that knowledge to boost your reputation.
Step One: Getting More Reviews
So you've set your sights on getting a lot of positive reviews. Now what?
The first step is establishing a system to get those reviews.
Say you get 200 customers per month, and you'd like to get a dozen reviews per month spread across a few different online review sites. It's not easy to ask in person that every customer write you a review, and you don't have time to track down all 200 people each month by phone or email.
Enter ReputationStacker software. Its primary function is to help you get more reviews from your happy customers, while catching your unhappy ones before they leave a review so you can turn their experience around.
By sending your customers a one-question survey, the system identifies satisfied customers and sends them to the review site of your choice. You have the option of reaching out to dissatisfied customers to address their criticisms (and show them that you care about customer feedback).
Step Two: Monitoring Those Reviews
It's working! You're seeing reviews roll in daily, and most of them are positive. That's great, but the work is not done.
Every review that a customer writes contains useful information. These posts can help you figure out what you're doing well so you can keep doing it. More importantly, they'll help you figure out what you need to improve.
Your customers were raised to be polite (most of them anyway; we see you, Lady-Who-Always-Demands-a-Discount). It's unlikely that they'll tell you in person that your employees are rude or your parking options are too limited. But they'll share those criticisms on Yelp and Facebook, where you can read them and address them.
But once you start getting a steady stream of reviews, you'll quickly find that keeping up with them is very time-consuming. This is where ReputationStacker comes in (again).
Included with all Standard, Plus and Premium Plans is ReputationStacker's online review monitoring.
The system automatically tracks your reviews on all of the major review sites and the most popular industry-specific review sites.
Good, bad and everything in between, it alerts you when a new review comes in so you know exactly what your customers are saying about you (and can act accordingly). When you know what your customers are saying when you're not in the proverbial room, online reputation management for your business is easy!
The Crash Course
Getting a steady stream of positive online reviews is a critical part of staying competitive in today's marketplace. But getting those reviews is only half the battle: you also have to know what to do with them.
ReputationStacker does the work of getting more online reviews from your satisfied customers, and automatically tracks your reviews so you can quickly and easily access up-to-date customer feedback.