Managing Your Online Reputation - Online Reviews
Customers know more about your business today than ever before. The internet is covered in reviews, opinions and customer reflections for every type of business. Your customers will search the internet for information about you before they set foot in your store, you need to make sure the information they find online doesn't stop them from doing so.
Visit Google and search for your business. Google will often pull up a bunch of information about you, including your street address, price range, a map, reviews and all sorts of other bits and pieces. Look a little further and you'll find there are customer opinions from all sorts of sites, providing opinions about your products, website, customer service, location and just about every other aspect of your business. Beyond those are reviews from newspapers and other media outlets.
The first step towards managing your reviews is offline. You need to do is provide a great customer experience at both your physical store and your website. The internet means bad experiences spread quickly and make it impossible to get away with shoddy customer service. Providing a great customer experience will help keep bad reviews to isolated incidents. Unfortunately, people who have bad experiences are far more likely to put them online than those with good experiences.
Two of the most popular review sites are Yelp and Angie's List. Search directly for your business on these and take a look at what people are saying about you. Your business is probably mentioned on a number general review sites. Generally speaking, the reviews are spread across several different sites, so the impact of a negative review is limited. However, you still need to watch for them.
Registering allows you to message users who have posted reviews about you. Negative reviews may contain valuable information about a problem with your product or customer service, so you might highlight a problem you didn't know existed. You may also be able to get the dissatisfied customer to give you a second chance if you apologize and offer them some reasonable compensation.
Check for websites dealing specifically with your industry. These tend to have more numerous reviews, which gives a better picture of the overall customer experience. However, you can still examine the negative responses to manage ongoing issues with your products or customer service.
If you want good reviews on a particular website, ask customers who have positive experiences to post one. A good proportion of them won't bother, but a few will, and it'll boost the number of positive reviews you have. You can also promote the review site on your website. When your loyal customers visit it and see the bad reviews, they'll post something to defend you.
Bad reviews are more sensitive to manage. Don't ask the reviewer to remove them, but do contact the customer to see if there is anything you can do to make it up to them. Many reviews are posted out of frustration and sometimes easing the source of the frustration will cause the reviewer to update the review or even remove it altogether.
Online reviews are an important part of your company's online presence and you need to manage them as carefully as you do your website. Start by making sure your customer experience is as good as it can be, and then watch online review sites to highlight potential problems areas. Deal with the problem areas while asking your best customers for good reviews. Before you know it, you’ll have a sparkling online reputation.