The Secret to Online Reputation Management

  •    Andrea is the VP of Marketing at Signpost. Signpost’s powerful CRM and marketing automation technology is the first in the industry to guarantee outcomes for local businesses.

Word-of-mouth has always been the ultimate driver of new business. Recommendations and referrals are the holy grail when it comes to customer acquisition, but as increasingly more of these are being conducted online, it’s vital for businesses to monitor review sites to manage their online reputation.

Why Customer Reviews are Important

Now that 88% of consumers report that they trust online reviews as much as those received from people they know, they can’t be ignored.

Unfortunately, many of you may already be familiar with the prolonged pain a scathing review can cause your business. A Harvard Business School study recently found that an increase of just one star in a business’s Yelp rating can boost its revenue anywhere from 5-9%.

While it may be impossible to please everyone, it’s essential that you respond to each of these and attempt to reach a resolution. If possible, reach out to the unsatisfied customer, directly, by either messaging them through the site or with an email. Once you are able to smooth things over, comment on their review stating your apologies for their negative experience and how happy you are that you were able to resolve their issue. This is a great show of goodwill.

Be Proactive

Negative reviews happen to the best of us, and are too often the result of a misunderstanding or extenuating circumstances. Imagine the time, effort and frustration you could save if you were able to intercept them before they even happened? Sending feedback messages to customers following any interaction allows you to do just that. Most often when a customer has a lackluster experience, they really just want to be heard. This commonly leads to the airing of grievances in the most public and inconvenient of forums.

Sending out feedback requests reinforces your commitment to your customers’ satisfaction and gives the unhappy ones a platform to express their disappointment. 87% of consumers agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of the business.

Sending out and responding to these customers can circumvent a negative review and lead to an even more substantial improvement in sentiment, as you’ve positioned your business as one that cares about its customers and isn’t just trying to save face on a reviews site. ​

Get Feedback

Requesting feedback, can also help you increase the good reviews your business receives. Happy customers will respond accordingly to you, and this will pave the way for requesting testimonials, referrals and reviews. It will also help you segment loyal customers who you can send exclusive offers and event invites to in order to keep them engaged between visits.

Although it can seem overwhelming to maintain your business’s online presence, by putting these simple procedures into place you can reduce the number of negative reviews you receive while also engaging with current and prospective customers. By proving your business takes feedback seriously you stand to gain honest insight into areas you can improve upon without compromising your upstanding reputation and can ease any doubts potential customers might have.