Managing The Reputation of Your Business

Managing the Reputation of Your Business

The continued growth of social media has subjected businesses to a great deal of publicity, some good, some not so good. If consumers are not happy with any product or service, they can very easily go online and vent their anger on a business Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Twitter, LinkedIn pages, and let’s not forget Google. Even if you’ve done your everything that you can to provide amazing customer service, you won’t be able to please everyone, every time. That’s why as a business owner, it’s critical for you to have a comprehensive business reputation management strategy in place so that when the bad publicity hits, and at some point it will, you already have a plan outlined to minimize the damage.

 

Business Reputation Management

Here are some of the key online reputation management do’s and don’ts you should be aware of:

Business reputation management claim your social media profiles

 

Be sure to claim your business on Google, Yelp, and other important industry-specific platforms that could be relevant to your business like TripAdvisor, Vitals or OpenTable — and if you don’t already have one, create a Facebook page. Even if you haven’t taken the time to setup these social accounts yourself, customers have the ability to do it for you, so the pages may already exist and you don’t even know it. When you claim your business, make sure the pertinent information like your phone number, address and other contact information associated with it is accurate. After you have claimed your business profiles you are going to want to start optimizing them on each of these platforms. Make sure to add your company description, high-quality images, videos, contact information and a link to your website.

Check out our blog on how to create your Google My Business listing.

 

Reputation Management Understand Your Target Audience

 

This might be obvious, but it’s a frequently forgotten step: understand who your target audience is before trying to market to them. This includes everything from location, demographics, purchase behaviors, needs, and any other characteristics that you need in order to construct a specific buyer persona. Knowing your target audience is going to help you set the appropriate tone, subject matter and content that you plan to share with them. This will help you to obtain maximum results from your online channels.

 

Reputation Managment Don't Market to the wrong audience

 

Advice here is the same as with the advice above. Once you understand precisely who your target customers are, be sure not to waste time and resources chasing ones who are unlikely to frequent your business and most importantly convert. Plan out your communication strategy and review so you’re not just throwing marketing fluff into the wind, not to mention your hard earned money. Targeted, data-driven campaigns with clear, tangible goals are the most likely to succeed.

 

Reputation Management Engage with your target audience

 

Customer engagement is crucial. Take full advantage of the online interactions by having conversations with your customers, in real-time, wherever they are. Comment on their social media posts and publish interactive posts of your own that get them talking to you and each other. Regularly ask for their input and feedback, and be sure to respond promptly and productively to their complaints. The more authentic conversations that are out there and available, the better; customers are going to rely more on the opinions of their peers than learning about your brand from advertising.

 

Reputation Management Do Not Ignore Customer Feedback

 

When consumers make noise about a business, it often means they either love it or hate it. Although negative feedback can be frustrating, don’t make the mistake of turning your back on it and hope it goes away. It not going anywhere so take advantage of the potential opportunity to turn it around. Instead, make a point of sympathetically responding to customer complaints regarding negative experiences. This can stop complaints from turning into catastrophes and turn negative reviews into positive interactions that won’t steer prospects away but instead draw them to you. People know every business makes mistakes, it’s how they positively remedy them that counts most.

Check out our blog, Negative Online Reviews – Don’t Ignore Them.

 

Reputation Management Manage Complicated Customer Issues Offline

 

When you engage with an angry customer, let them know publicly that you are fully committed to resolving their issue — this way, other customers who are watching the post or review, and trust me they are watching, know you care about your customers. However, working through the whole issue in one long public thread is hardly ever the best approach. This usually just escalates into a heated argument that solves nothing. Instead, provide the name and contact information of the employee who will work with them to resolve their issue, and make sure that person is available immediately to provide comprehensive support. Handling problems in this manner has even shown that it can lead to the customer deleting or editing their original post or review.

Check out our blog, Turn Your Negative Online Reviews into a Win for more insights on why you need a Reputation Management Strategy.

 

Reputation Management Do not try to sell with every message

 

Don’t add pushy marketing messages when responding to customer reviews. The simple fact that you are responding to customer feedback is the positive message — just let them know that you appreciate the fact that they took the time to share their experience.

 

Reputation Management Always Show Gratitude

 

Most importantly, always be thankful. Your brand’s success and reputation depends upon your customers, so wherever possible, show your appreciation for them. Responding to positive feedback is as important as managing the negative.

 

Reputation Management Do not argue with customers

 

Always be professional, sympathetic, and avoid disagreeing with the customer, even if they are actually in the wrong. The best route is to always try to clear up any misunderstandings with patience rather than getting defensive, remember other customers are watching. This demonstrates confidence and authority, strengthening trust in your brand.

 

Reputation Management Do not take happy customers for granted

 

Happy customers are the ones who enthusiastically promote your brand without expecting anything in return. You are going to want to try and show them some appreciation on a regular basis, whether this is through a customer loyalty program or special promotions based on their past purchases. Little gestures of gratitude like these keep your business at the forefront of their mind and reminds them why they do business with you in the first place.

 

Reputation Management Do not let negative reviews get you down

 

Don’t forget, negative reviews are still honest, genuine feedback on how your business is doing, and that is very useful. Consider them constructive criticism, and work on improving in certain areas based on their comments. Negative reviews also lend credibility to all the good reviews you have, providing transparency that customers value. Nobody expects you to be absolutely perfect, at some point you’re going to make a mistake. It’s all in how you deal with it and learn from it.

Check out our blog on Review Responses and Local SEO for more insight on a Reputation Management Strategy.

 

In closing the reputation of your business is by far one of your greatest business assets if it’s managed effectively. It can be a lot of work, but there are ways to make it manageable. If you are looking for help or guidance with defining your Reputation Management Strategy or are wondering how you manage and improve your business reputation, make your customers happy, and get more customers — the answer is super easy. Just book a call with us for a free discussion, we can talk about your challenges, where you are doing great, and how we can help you streamline everything.

Take charge of your business’ reputation and show people that your business is active, reliable, and trustworthy.

As always, drop me a line if you have questions and be on the lookout for our next blog.

 

Ken G.

 

Negative Online Reviews – Don’t Ignore Them

Positive engagements are going to build loyalty and trust. This also applies to negative online reviews as well. Negative online reviews, while not exactly something you want, they provide an opportunity creating a positive online reputation for your business, so don’t ignore them. Many businesses dread negative reviews without understanding that when managed correctly, they can help to create a positive impression among your customers. In this article, we will help you deal with customers who’ve left a negative review on your Google My Business profile. We’ll give you the tools you need to make sure these reviews don’t hurt customers’ perception of your business.

Negative Online Reviews – Don’t Ignore Them

Why do customers post negative reviews

If you get a negative online review for your business, it does not mean that your product or service is terrible. No matter how good your business is, not all customers that you work with are going to leave your business happy. Though you can’t prevent every bad review, you can make sure that you are prepared for when it does happen, because it’s going to. Having a plan in place for responding to negative reviews will prepare you for the inevitable.

Negative Online Reviews – Don’t Ignore Them

 

I get it, you feel frustrated when you get a negative online review, but use it to your advantage. Believe it or not, having a good mixture of positive and negative reviews can prove that your reviews are genuine. Trust me, I get it, no business owner ever wants that negative review, but look at it as an opportunity to show just how much you care about customer service.

It has been proven that consumers will trust reviews more when they see a mix of positive and negative online reviews left by your customers. I know, seems backwards right? You would think that having nothing but 5 star reviews would make you look like an absolute rock star, but consumers may perceive this as suspicious.

Do you know how many fake online reviews were bought and paid for in 2020? According to the Harvard Business Review, an estimated 4.5 million sellers sourced fake reviews from Facebook groups.

Why You Should Respond to Negative Reviews

 

About 92% of potential customers, and existing ones, are watching to see how you respond and handle the situation, it shows that you care about customer experience and service. Roughly 40% of those potential customers are going to use your online reviews to form an impression of your business’ reputation.

Why You Should Respond to Negative Reviews

 

 

Changing Perception of Prospective Customers and the Reviewer

If something went wrong, or didn’t meet the expectation of a customer, (even if you don’t necessarily agree) by taking the time to address the negative review with the correct response you can turn it into a positive outcome. Your business will earn trust and be viewed more positively just by listening and addressing the issue that was pointed out in the negative review. A recent study has shown that 7 out of 10 customers changed their opinion about a business after the business owner responded to their negative reviews. This does come with expectations though, but again manageable and it can be turned into a positive outcome.

Business integrity, the view that is seen online, can be very easy to lose if you do not address quickly. Also, just be understanding and offer an apology when it appears necessary. My suggestion, have a few responses prepared that would cover negative experiences so that you can immediately respond by just updating a few items rather than having to come up with a new response if it happens again. That will help in most situations, but will not obviously not cover some, it’s a quick response that may potentially be a factor in determining the outcome. Again, this response, lack of response, and time that it took you to respond are all factors that can be seen. Make sure that you are putting as many positive +1’s up for your business as you can, they will add up quickly if you pay attention.

When responding to the negative review, stay calm, cool, and don’t panic. Respond to the reviewer in a tactfully and keep them engaged until the issue has been resolved. Once the issue is resolved and if handled correctly it is absolutely ok to ask the reviewer to edit the review or delete it altogether. Check out our steps to help your turn a negative review into a positive win for your business.

 

Keep the Positive Reviews Coming

Responding to negative reviews is extremely important, as is minimizing the negative publicity it could create for your business. It is equally as important to keep the positive reviews coming in for your business. Make sure that you are staying on top of sending out the requests to your customers. It is not unheard of to get a 70% response rate when satisfied customers are asked for a review, it’s all about the timing. You are going to want to send those while the experience is fresh in their minds, don’t wait until it’s too late.

 

Responding to negative reviews is extremely important

 

 

How Should You Respond to a Negative Review

Again, respond tactfully and try to turn the negative experience into a positive one. Below are some helpful tips on how to handle responding to negative reviews.

  1. Apologize – By apologizing, you are showing your customers that you are hearing them and are trying to acknowledge their concerns and care about their experience. This is where you make it crystal clear that you are willing to provide a fantastic experience for each and every one of your customers.
  2. Offer a solution – A solution to the problem is more than just you apologizing. Your solution has to show that you have put an effort into the response and not just copying and pasting a template that you had just sitting around. Make your response a personalized one to show them you care and are sympathetic to the situation.
  3. Take the conversation offline – In the event that you have a very angry customer, offer to speak to them offline and let them know that this will allow you to resolve the issue much more quickly.
  4. Thank you – Make sure that you let the customer know that you sincerely appreciate their time and feedback. Let them know that this experience will help you build a stronger business and continue to improve your customer experiences.

Offer a solution when you Respond to a Negative Review

Potential Fake Review?

If you feel that one of your negative reviews is fake, make sure you do your homework before you take action. You don’t want to overlook something and accuse an actual customer of leaving a fake review just because it was a negative one. Now, if you have done your due diligence and are absolutely sure the review is not from an actual customer, flag it and request that Google remove it.

After you have done this make sure that you respond to the suspected fake review to ensure that your potential and existing customers understand why you think it is a fraudulent review. Check out the example below.

responding to a suspected fake online review

 

 

responding to a suspected fake online review

 

 

How to Avoid Negative Online Reviews

Negative reviews are inevitable, they are going to happen at some point if they have not already. However, you can work to limit the number and frequency of negative reviews just by focusing on great customer service and letting them know where they can provide feedback. This feedback can be done on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, your website contact form, or any other ways that would make it easy for feedback to be left. Let your customers know that customer service is extremely important to you, and how they can get in touch with you to resolve issues quickly rather than feeling that they have no alternative other than posting a negative review.

Final Thought

I want you to think about a negative online review from the perspective that I am about to explain. Hopefully what I am saying will make sense to you even more and you seriously think about this.

Put yourself in the shoes of a customer, if your perception (pay attention…this it is really all that matters) of the experience that you had with a business was impactful enough for you to take the time out of your day to leave a negative review rather than just blowing it off and never shopping with a business again, obviously you want everyone to be aware.

How many times have you been a customer and had a less than positive experience? Then rather than never spending your money with that business again took the time to actually leave a review, seriously – think about that. When and if you did leave a negative review, how passionate were you about making sure the business owner and other potential customers that saw your review would actually use your experience in deciding whether or not they should choose this business?

Think about how many times that you would have just walked away feeling like you were giving that business more of your time that they didn’t deserve. Now think about the one time that you felt passionate enough to make sure your feedback was absolutely necessary. Hopefully I’ve given you something more to think about regarding negative reviews. If you want more insight on them, how to respond to them, reach out and I’ll share my approach. Yes, I actually gave it a name.

I’m just being realistic here, I believe in online reviews 100% and I rely on them every single day. When I am looking for something I need on Google, I’m not shopping for groceries or toothpaste, I am looking for something very specific. I look at the reviews of every business I choose to view the product I am looking for on. I will even go as far to Google the name of that business and the word reviews, because I know Google is not the only place that reviews can be left. Yes, Google is going to be the decision maker in a Google search, but there are literally over 150 review sites that customers can leave business reviews on.

Seem like a bit much to you, maybe, but if you’re a business owner a light in your head just went off. If it didn’t let me flip the switch for you, how can I get all of my business reviews into one location if they are on multiple review websites? How does that help me on search results? Hope that helps drive my point home, if you want to see it in action I’ll show you what your business looks like and how inexpensive it is compared to the results you get from it.

If you think positive reviews are hard to get then we should talk. Yes, if you are not actively using an online reputation management strategy, you are much less likely to get the reviews you deserve. Don’t let a negative experience have a higher likelihood of your business receiving a review than a positive one.

Take charge of your business’ reputation and show people that your business is active, reliable, and trustworthy.

As always, drop me a line if you have questions and be on the lookout for our next blog.

 

Ken G.

 

Review Responses and Local SEO

I’m sure you’re wondering, as many others have, do review responses really help with getting new customers and Local SEO results? Well, the short answer is yes it does help with both aspects. After reading this article, if you are interested in a free 30 day trial of our automated solution all you have to do is request that we get it setup for you. After that we will take care of everything for you after a few questions.

Review Responses

Customers trust online reviews, 92% of them are going to read reviews before making the final decision to make a purchase.

Show current and potential customers that you engage with and value customer feedback by responding to reviews that have been written for your business. After all, a lot of customers are going to form their initial impressions of your business based on your reviews. If a business takes the time to thank happy customers or offer an apology to unhappy customers and attempt to fix the problems that were experienced, they show just how important customer service is to them.

Statistics show exactly how important review responses are, 53% of customers expect a business to respond to them on a review site. Responding to reviews also increases the number of customers that will recommend your business to people that they know. The research shows businesses experience a 16% boost in customer advocacy after they deal with negative reviews. So, again, responding to reviews is extremely important to getting new customers and not to mention the boost your business gets from responding.

Ranked Brain Review Responses Template

Review Responses and Local SEO

Review Responses Local SEO Importance

 

You are not just helping your business with how customers view you by responding to reviews, it helps with search engines as well. Google is on a mission to ensure that customers are getting the best results for search queries. Delivering reliable search results is often influenced by the exact same factors that a customer would use to determine if a business was trustworthy.

Diversity, recency, and the quantity of reviews are all signals that are considered by Google’s search algorithm. So, if you want to make sure that your business is being discovered, start paying attention to these factors and how well you are performing based on the criteria.

Google does not just take those reviews factors into consideration. Just remember, the reviews are going to help your business appear more trustworthy to customers. That is going to naturally help you with the results from search engines as well.

Taking it straight from the Google My Business support page, Google states that businesses should “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business.”  Responding to reviews that customers leave about your business shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.” This is followed by “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”

When you respond to reviews, the rewards your business will get from customers and Local SEO are going to pay dividends. Your business is going to have a much higher chance of turning up in the local pack results, which are the first 3 businesses that show up in the Google search queries

Let’s be realistic, responding to reviews can sometimes be a difficult task. Giving each review a personalized response can be very time consuming. With all of the work that running a business requires, responding to reviews can be something that easily gets dropped in priority or simply forgotten about.

Not only are the review responses important, but the time-frame that you take to respond to them is also a factor. Research has shown that customers expect businesses to respond to reviews within 24 hours, especially if it is a negative review. If you let that initial 24 hours slip by without responding, chances are it’s too late to change the mind of the reviewer that left it.

So, how can you set your business up for success with all of these expectations around reviews, responses, SEO benefits? There are solutions available that will help automate some if not most of these tasks and they can help improve your brand perception at the same time, which will help attract new customers.

Tools That Can Help Your Business Stay on Top of Review Responses

Responding to your business reviews on large platforms like Google and Facebook can already be difficult enough. But business owners have a lot of other websites to worry about, not just Google and Facebook. There are hundreds of different review sites on the Internet that customers could potentially be leaving reviews on.

Staying on top of your customer reviews is important to manage brand perception and help your business rank higher on Google and other search engines.

 

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Automatic Review Notifications

Staying on top of customer reviews is important to brand perception and helps your business rank higher on Google and other search engines. With so many reviews being posted about your business all around the internet, it can be hard to keep track of all of them. Just paying attention to Google and Facebook is hard enough, but you also have to make sure you’re responding to reviews from the hundreds of smaller review sites where customers may be posting about your business.

For negative reviews, it’s crucial to give customers a response as quickly as possible. If you wait too long, it might be too late and the customer might have a bad opinion about your business that cannot be changed. However, if you do get to the customer in time, you can turn their negative experience into a positive one. That means you need to know the second a bad review is posted.

Ranked Brain’s solution gives businesses automatic review notifications when reviews are posted. In your business’s dashboard, you can monitor more than 150 sites. You can choose the sites that are most important to you, then have the ability to respond automatically. You can also choose specific situations to get notifications.

With automatic review notifications, you can make sure that you are responding to reviews within 24 hours. While it’s easy to miss reviews, automatic notifications ensure that every single review you want to see is brought to your attention.

 

Review Templates and Automated Responses

 

Ranked Brain Automated Online Review Response Templates

 

You and your employees are busy with all the work it takes to run a business. You don’t have time to respond to every review. With response templates, you don’t need to.

Our solution has response templates that you can use as soon as you alerted of a review. We build a variety of positive and negative response templates to lessen the work that businesses need to do.

Some people worry that templates might quickly get repetitive. Ranked Brain gets around this problem by offering lots of different templates and the ability to create your own. You can also set rules so that the same template is not used for consecutive reviews.

Ranked Brain Automated Negative Review Response

You also have the option of automating the review response process entirely. You can set auto-response rules so you can stay focused on your business operations while promptly responding to every review. With automated responses, you can automatically respond to certain customer reviews with templates.

Of course, response templates and automated responses don’t work great for every situation, as we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section. We allow business owners to set auto-response criteria so that you can choose which reviews to respond to personally.

Response templates can help your business respond to some feedback. Unfortunately, they don’t work all the time. Typically, we only recommend businesses use review responses when they receive 1-star and 5-star reviews.

Response templates work great when a customer is uncritically praising your business. In situations like these you usually just need to give a polite “Thank You” message. When a customer leaves a 1-star review, you typically need to apologize and direct them to an offline forum to handle the complaint.

Unfortunately, automated responses don’t work in more ambiguous situations. For example, think about 3-star reviews. A lot of the time, the reviews praise some aspects of your business’s service and criticize others. A restaurant might receive a 3-star review that says “Although the food was great, the wait was long and the service was awful.”

Reviews like these typically can’t be solved with templates since they are partially a compliment and partially a complaint. A personalized review response must thank the customer for the compliment while also apologizing and promising to fix the problem the customer was upset about.

Because you’re dealing with ambiguity when you have 2-star, 3-star, or 4-star reviews, automated review responses aren’t going to cut it. Most of the time, personalized review responses are necessary for these situations.

Still, it’s easy to fall behind on these responses when you and your employees are busy with your usual tasks. Even if you assign the responsibilities of responding to reviews to an employee, it’s hard to track how often and how quickly responses are coming.

Ranked Brain Automated Online Review Campaigns

 

Ranked Brain also offers a dashboard to manage your online reviews. You can see progress, set goals, where are your business reviews located, and track your performance.

 

Ranked Brain Automated Online Review Dashboard

There’s no one tool that can magically solve the problem of responding to reviews. But by using several tools together, you can make the process easier for you and your employees. With automatic notifications, automatic responses, and review ticketing, businesses can effectively manage customer perception and increase search ranking.

Get your 30 day free trial today!

As always, drop me a line if you have questions and be on the lookout for our next blog.

 

Ken G.