Customer reviews can make or break a business. Various studies have highlighted the fact that increasing numbers of customers use a search engine to research a company before considering a purchase. Consider the power of review sites like TripAdvisor. If you’re planning to make a hotel booking and see a number of negative reviews, would you still go ahead?
Online reputation management is the process of monitoring and managing online reviews. You may feel that your business is at the mercy of anyone’s opinion, but there are things you can do to take control of how your business is perceived online. Even if your business doesn’t trade via the Internet, it’s still important to understand what customers will find if they carry out some research online.
One of the foundations of good online reputation management is to encourage positive customer reviews. The following tips will help you to do this.
1) Keep your customers happy.
It’s very hard to generate positive reviews if your customers aren’t happy. Do you know what customers really think about your products and services? If you don’t have customer contact on a daily basis, ask for the views employees or staff in the front line. If your business isn’t delivering to expectations, make a plan to improve things.
2) Show customers that your value their opinions.
The easiest way to get reviews for your business is simply to ask. You may not feel comfortable doing this, but think of it as offering an opportunity for customers to get involved. You may be surprised how helpful people will be if you make it clear that you value their views. Sending a customer survey with every order is one easy way to generate feedback.
3) Make it easy for customers to post comments.
Include a feedback button on your website to make the process of offering reviews quick and easy. Customers under thirty may only share their views if you allow them to do so via social media. A Facebook page is a great way to capture feedback and promote discussions. Businesses like hotels and restaurants can display a visitor book to encourage customers to make comments about their experience.
4) Respond to negative reviews.
Even if you maintain high levels of customer service, you must accept that some customers will post negative reviews about your business. Complaints and comments may be unfair, but they can cause serious harm if you don’t deal with them. Responding to negative reviews is another key part of the online reputation management process. Thank the customer for their comments and offer to resolve any specific issues. Turning a negative review into a positive outcome can enhance your reputation and lead to increased sales and new customers.
5) Play the numbers game.
For every ten or twenty good reviews you must accept that there will be a bad one. If you can attract hundreds of reviews any negative comments will be outweighed by the good ones. Potential customers reading one or two bad reviews will accept that mistakes happen and some people demand more than can be delivered.
Online reputation management should become an everyday activity for your business.