What do customers think of your business?
In all likelihood, thanks to your hard work, your customers probably have a very high opinion.
That’s great – it means you’re doing your job so well customers are likely to stick around, using your product or services for years to come.
But having a good reputation among your customers is useful for more than just customer retention. Leveraged appropriately, positive feelings towards your brand can be channeled into new customers.
Reputation management includes encouraging online reviews from people who have had positive experiences with your business. There are dozens of review sites out there, all with different methods of conveying a brand’s reputation.
These sites offer a unique opportunity to spread the good word about your business and build trust and social proof with potential customers who have never done business with you before.
There is, of course, a flip side to that coin.
Review sites aren’t just for raving fans, but also for dissatisfied customers. No matter how amazing your business is, odds are, one customer will eventually have a less-than-perfect experience.
The trick to reputation management is taking the good with the bad, but maintaining an overall positive reputation.
Types of Reviews, and Where They Appear
There are dozens of review sites, from Google to Yelp and Facebook to Trip Advisor – all of which have their advantages.
Most sites have a simple rating of “n” out of five stars that provide a simple, easily understood piece of information for people wondering how your business ranks.
Of course, this doesn’t provide much detail, and written testimonials are an important accompaniment to the simplicity of a star rating.
The first step you can take to get more reviews is to make sure that your business has a presence on the main review pages used in your industry. Ensuring you have a Google Business page setup (if you’re a local business) will guarantee your reviews are front and center when people search for you.
Taking a quick look at where people are posting about your competitors is a good way to see where people are turning for info in your industry. This research and give you a place to start gathering your own testimonials.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Reviews
Incentivizing your customers to write good reviews for your business is a bad idea – you might even face a fine because of it.
But simply asking them how they feel with an in-house survey can have a very positive impact.
Email some of your customers and ask if they have any feedback, including how they feel about your business on a scale of “Very Happy” to “Very Unhappy.”
In the rare event you have customers who are unhappy, their responses will give you insight into potential issues, allowing you to help solve them, and provide a positive customer experience. You may even prevent a once-unhappy customer from feeling the need to post about it publically.
For your happy customers, once you’ve surveyed them privately, invite them to share their positive feelings on the review site most frequented by customers in your industry.
It’s up to them whether they want to or not, but if they’re happy with the experience they’ve been provided, many will be happy to spread the word.
The Positive Effects of Positive Reviews
Why should your business care about courting positive reviews?
Reputation management is an essential part of building trust among potential customers.
Understandably, people will be less convinced by your marketing material claiming your business is awesome, and more convinced by unbiased people who feel so good about your brand they are compelled to share it publically.
In fact, according to Marketing Land, 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews before they buy. NINETY PERCENT.
Nearly every single person who engaged with your business is going to be affected by your brand’s online reputation. That means you’re going to want to make sure it’s as positive (and accurate) as possible.
How to Deal With Negative Reviews
You just can’t please everyone.
No matter how hard you try, a bad review at some point is inevitable. But how you respond to that review can maintain an overall positive impression of your business.
Simply put, don’t ignore bad feedback. No one actually wants to read criticism, but it’s an invaluable learning tool to improve how your business operates. Some complaints may be baseless or petty, but many will provide insight into how you can improve.
The most important thing you can do is actively (and promptly) respond to customers who leave negative reviews. Let them know they’ve been heard, their problem has been acknowledged, and you’re taking steps to remedy it for future customers.
This will not only show the person who left the negative review that you’re taking steps to improve customer experience, but also everyone else who reads the reviews. This negates the impact a bad review can have.
Your online reputation matters.
It’s important to ensure the word about how your business is helping its customers, developing solid social proof so others can share in the positive experience. Use this simple three-step plan to get more positive reviews for your business.
- Identify the networks most used by consumers in your industry. Establish a presence and allow your business to be reviewed.
- Proactively ask your customers about their experiences. For happy customers, requesting public reviews is a great way to develop a foundation of positive testimonials. If you encounter unhappy customers, this is the perfect time to address their concerns, and set a fresh course.
- Deal with the bad. Negative reviews are an unfortunate inevitability. You can’t please everyone all the time. The right way to address them is quickly, respectfully, and ensure you learn from the comments.
With proper reputation management, your brand will develop trusting, loyal customers before they’ve even purchased anything.
Still unsure of what you should do to get more reviews or just don’t have the time to put your system in place? Talk to Valens Point about done-for-you marketing services, which include a comprehensive review system.
Click here to learn more about our Marketing Jumpstart package.