Don’t just manage your reputation – improve it
The rising trend of online reviews in local search results has made it mandatory for every business to prioritize pro-active improvement strategies for their web credentials.
Reputation management has remained a key component of business strategy since the advent of the internet. Most enterprises would want to increase the number of positive reviews online while downplaying the negative ones. Because Google ranks businesses in local search results based on how likely are the consumers to recommend it, almost everyone is busy pushing for positive statements. Latest techniques proven to grow businesses are aimed at not only managing your reputation but also at improving it.
Importance of Reviews
More than three-quarters of all consumers consult reviews prior to purchase. Online review platforms on websites, Google, and social media among others has revolutionized consumer decision making.
Google uses reviews to rank businesses. More positive reviews will translate to better rankings and higher visibility through search engines, which have adopted algorithms that filter out fake reviews and use legitimate ones to assess the reputation. The Australian market is competitive and the higher the number of reviews, the higher the chances of being seen by potential customers online.
High ranking alone is not enough for most customers. They want to ‘feel’ the service when ascertaining how the business will meet their needs. That’s where the reviews come in. For instance, a busy customer may want to focus on how long they might have to wait before being served, not simply the quality of service. Reviews give an insight to the business along with the unique viewpoint of any given demographic’s preference. It’s a question of taste as well as of facts.
Online reputation mobility is notoriously rapid. Maintaining an established reputation may not be enough to stay afloat against aggressive market disruptors. The modern consumer is not a tame beast that will go for an offering simply because it meets requirements. It needs to feel the satisfaction of having made the right choice, picked the best. A business with a slew of good reviews last year but online silence this year will raise consumer suspicions. Unless your online reputation is not only good but also current, you may soon be forgotten.
When you began your business, you had a dream. A vision of being the best. ‘Now’ is always the time to work towards that. The process starts with action. More and more people use physical shops to view and assess products, subsequently making the purchase from the comfort of their beds courtesy of online shopping. Developing your online reputation may be your only hope of staying in business.
Importance of Developing a Reputation
Developing your reputation will enable you to:
- Survive rapid changes in the business world.
- Grow the value of your investment with increased sales, enabling business expansion.
- Stay dynamic in a market where new competitors sprout day and night.
How to Improve Your Reputation
Now that you understand the need for reputation development, how exactly do you make it happen? Here are several proven ways that have helped businesses not only in Australia but throughout the world.
You may have several reviews by now. Initial reactions are vital in dealing with both existing and future comments.
- Avoid automatically generated responses unless absolutely necessary for volume management. Provide personal responses wherever possible.
- Genuinely appreciate the positive reviews while acknowledging the negative ones.
- Explain why and what you will do to sort out any issues, and follow through to a satisfactory conclusion for the customer.
- Prove your end-game is always customer satisfaction.
- Actions speak louder than words. When a customer points out a problem, take it up as soon as possible and work towards a resolution.
- Repeated complaints on the same issue from multiple customers is a warning-bell to potential clients and to be avoided at all costs.
- Use the reviews as a mirror to better your business. Harness the good reviews acknowledge your strengths and focus on them.
- When it comes to working towards a goal, you will need everyone on board. Let your employees understand what you stand for and your goals.
- Send a clear message that the most important person in the business is not you but the customer, and they need to do everything in their power to ensure client satisfaction.
- After a purchase or delivery of a service, thank the client respectfully and ask for their feedback. Such gestures are perceived as genuine concern and will result in positive reviews that will improve your reputation.
- Facilitate communication to help field potential poor reviews. Skilled handling may not only satisfy a disgruntled client but even turn them full circle into a promoter.
- Request permission from customers who leave positive feedback to quote their comments on your website. Make your ‘testimonials’ tab easily accessible.
If customers can’t find a venue on your site to express their feelings about your business there are a plethora of other fora where they can vent frustrations. Ensure you have a platform for them to post their experience directly on your website. It will help you respond (ideally) to all of them, and also function as damage control in containing negative feedback rather than facing the impossible task of collecting scattered discontent from all over the net, which will invisibly undermine your business.
Net Promoter Score
Having understood how reputation can be improved, you need to know how to assess this growth. The best way currently is using the Net Promoter Score® (NPS). It’s based on the concept of the likelihood of consumers to recommend you to other people around them. It is done simply by asking customers how likely are they to recommend the business on a scale of O to 10. Those ranking it from O to 6 are called detractors while those ranking 9s and 10s are called promoters. NPS is the percentage difference between the promoters and detractors.
Based on this concept, you can assess your standing and strategize on how to boost it. NPS has proved useful for many businesses, and you too can capitalize on it to take your organization to the next level.
The age of internet may be dangerous to the survival of some businesses but the key to growth for those who know how to use it. An online reputation built on reviews not only needs to be managed but actively improved to thrive in these competitive times.