Creating an Online Review Management Strategy that Works
In order to build a great reputation and attract more customers, businesses need to get more positive online reviews. A great way to make this happen is by implementing an effective online review management strategy.
As local business owners, you know the drill – everyone researches businesses online before buying and a big part of that effort is reading (and trusting) online reviews. If you are not actively involved in managing your reviews, your business is likely missing out on a lot of business.
Making online reviews a priority in your marketing efforts is not as hard as you think and the benefits are too great to ignore. In this article, we outline tips any business can use for creating an online review management strategy that works.
Involve Your Staff From the Beginning
It’s not that you wouldn’t include your employees at all, but this is an initiative they need to be involved in from the start. Their involvement is key to making this program a success. Afterall, your employees are on the front lines engaging with customers every day. The customer experiences they deliver determine whether you get a positive online review or not. Because of this, it would also be a good idea to conduct refresher training for your employees regarding how to provide a great customer experience. It’s critical that they are informed, energized and ready to hit the ground running from the get go.
Assemble an Online Review Response Team
Effectively managing your online reviews is not a one-person job. This is why the business should put together an online review response team to ensure all reviews are identified, read and responded to. The number of people involved will vary depending on the size of your business, but you should consider a representative from at least the executive, legal, marketing and operations teams. Once in place, this team is accountable for managing the entire process and making sure any customer issues are resolved.
Establish an Online Review Response Process
Documenting the steps involved in replying to online reviews in your business will make your efforts more efficient and effective. This does not mean holding lots of meetings or needing large binders to capture your online review process. For most businesses, the task of responding to reviews requires a short list of steps.
In addition, you should develop a library of pre-written review response templates. These templates should address typical customer experience situations your business faces, good and bad. The purpose of having them is to help streamline the review response process. Also, they should only be used as a starting point for crafting replies to reviews. You should always strive to customize each review response.
In the end, the objectives of having an online review response process are to appropriately acknowledge the customer that wrote the review and maximize the marketing opportunity for the business.
Claim Your Business on Review Sites
There are countless websites where your customers can post online reviews about you. Businesses should claim and optimize their business profile on at least the most popular sites and any that are important to the industry you are in.
Obviously, Google, Yelp and Facebook come to mind when thinking of where most consumers leave reviews. If you are in the restaurant or hospitality business, for example, TripAdvisor and OpenTable would be sites to focus on too. The key is to be present on these sites frequently by updating your profiles and responding to reviews.
Monitor and Respond to All Reviews
An obviously important step is to monitor and reply to your online reviews. But how do you know when a customer has posted a review about your business? On some review sites, you can request to be alerted when this happens. Otherwise, you will need to set up alerts using a tool like Google Alerts.
When we say respond to “all” reviews, we mean that should be your objective. However, there will be some cases where you may consider not responding. If you believe the review is fraudulent or is toxic in nature, opting not to respond may be best in these situations.
To help you with this task, it is a good idea to consider using a reputation management software company, like ReviewIgnite, to provide a complete solution for managing your reviews. This will give you the best option for managing your reviews and save you a lot of time and effort from your staff to try managing this inhouse.
Request Reviews From Customers
Online reviews are very important for businesses. The more reviews a business has, the more credible they look. In addition, consumers want to read “fresh” or recent reviews. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of customers write online reviews. To address this, businesses need to ask customers to leave online feedback.
There are many ways for a business to request reviews. The obvious method is to ask customers after the sale. However, more and more businesses use email or text to follow up with their customers. Again, using an online review software to automate this task will make this job much easier.
Amplify Positive Customer Reviews
Getting positive reviews is great. But businesses should not just respond and move on. Customer reviews and testimonials provide social proof about a business that is both coveted by marketers and trusted by the public. So, share your customer’s positive words with rest of the world. This is a great marketing opportunity that many businesses miss out on.
This can be as simple as taking a screen shot of the review and posting it on your company’s website or social media. Even better is to create branded social media post templates. Doing so will increase the marketing impact when sharing this great news about your business.
Including an online review management strategy in your marketing plan is must for businesses. With the high emphasis consumers put on reviews, businesses can’t afford not to take the opportunity to leverage reviews to attract new customers and grow sales.
The online review management strategy outlined above can be implemented by most businesses within a short period of time. And, you can start seeing results just as fast.
How are you managing your online reviews? Let us know in the comments below.
Offering a suite of tools to effectively manage your online reviews is just one of the many features included in ReviewIgnite’s powerful online reputation software.
We specialize in helping businesses leverage their online reputation to get more positive online reviews, attract more customers and grow sales. See our software in action. Click the button below to watch our self-guided demo now.