Managing your online reputation is crucial for protecting your business’ image. While your reputation certainly depends on the quality of your product/service, your customers’ online feedback and comments are also a key factor.
Potential customers use online reviews to compare and seek information about companies – including yours. When you get involved in these conversations, you have an opportunity to steer them in a better direction. You can turn negative experiences into positive outcomes – both for you and your customers.
Whether you’ve been reacting to online reviews for a while or are just starting, here are three tips for keeping your online reputation positive and beneficial for your business.
1) Be efficient.
It’s easy to waste time browsing online reviews – especially if you have to search for reviews manually, website by website. This method is inefficient and unsustainable. After several tedious hours of clicking and typing, you might begin to question the value of so much effort.
Fortunately, you can skip the tedium. One of the easiest ways to understand what is being said about your business online is to leverage a tool such as G5’s Social SEO Platform. This tool can gather reviews about your business from multiple sources and notify you when new reviews appear.
If you don’t have a tool with this functionality, you’ll have to rely on manpower alone. Consistency is still technically possible, but will be more difficult and time-consuming. Without the tool’s notifications, you’ll have to check each review site every day to know when something is being said about your business. Otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity to steer conversations as they occur.
Monitoring your reviews daily is important because your prospects are reading them daily. These reviews help guide their conversion decisions; so the sooner you catch new comments, the better. Properly addressing negative reviews and engaging with positive reviews helps create an image of customer care and reliability.
If you’re monitoring reviews without a tool, you can make the process more efficient by focusing on the main sites for business reviews: Google My Business and Yelp have been major review sources for many years and continue to be places where many users go to submit and read reviews.
Facebook is also a good place to stay active. With more than 30 billion monthly active users, it’s the largest social engagement platform and has a fast-growing review presence that is sure to rival Google and Yelp. (G5’s Social SEO Platform just added Facebook, in addition to Google, Yelp, and other market-specific review sources.
2) Respond to all reviews – positive and negative.
It’s important to respond to all reviews, positive or negative. People want their voice to be heard. Reading and responding to reviews shows that you’re listening, which can help create a more positive view of your business online.
Responding to positive reviews is a great way to engage with customers. It might seem unnecessary, but the positive relationship you foster by responding can promote advocacy for your business.
Likewise, responding to negative reviews shows you care for your customers. It also helps avoid a “passive” or otherwise negative reputation, since you’re solving problems instead of just accepting them. In both cases, you’re building confidence in your business’ reliability.
When responding to negative reviews, it’s helpful to be empathetic and offer solutions to any problems raised. Stay professional, courteous, and brief. A professional and empathetic response that offers solutions can turn a negative review into a positive experience.
Being transparent about the issues raised and honest about possible solutions, moreover, can give your business more credibility. This credible reputation will come across to anyone who reads your response to the review – possibly leading to more conversions.
3) Use reviews to improve your business.
Reviews can give you helpful insights into how your business operates and appears to your customers. They can be instrumental in identifying what you are doing well and what you could improve upon.
Again, you can use G5’s Social SEO Platform to help you gain those insights. The tool offers you the ability to set up customized operational tags, which categorize reviews within the tool. When you add a tag to a review, you can attach a negative or positive sentiment to each tag based on the feedback in the review. After adding these tags, you can easily view reporting of key areas mentioned in the reviews – as well as whether those areas were seen in a positive or negative light. This reporting can indicate consistent problems you could address to improve your business and customer experience.
Even if you’re monitoring reviews manually, you can still keep an eye out for recurring problems and find ways to improve your business. Although a tool could give you more insights, staying in tune with your customers and their thoughts online is invaluable for improving your business practices. A well-run online presence is, after all, one of the best ways to maintain an excellent reputation.