Your online reputation is heavily influenced by ratings and reviews published by satisfied and sometimes, unsavory customers. While you may receive amazing feedback from the customers you interact with on a daily basis, your online reviews are telling a different story. Reviews that are outdated, outrageous, or outnumbered can all reflect poorly on your brand. Many brands find themselves asking how to generate more positive reviews online so that their digital reputation matches the one in real life. The answer is as simple as asking!
Be Where the Reviews Are
While most customers will want to tell you their opinion directly, many more will look for your online business listing on customer rating sites to leave their review. Many customer journeys begin with online research through various ratings and review channels. Customers are looking for honest reviews from others in their same position. If a customer chose your business after seeing a review on a specific website, they will likely go back to that same website to leave a review.
Be aware of what profiles exist online for your business. Claim all the ones you can and work towards creating new profiles for sites where you do not yet have a presence. Make sure that your company information and messaging is up-to-date and consistent across all profiles, and that they all link back to your website or greatest resource.
Once you have identified all online profiles for your company, create a plan for monitoring and responding to reviews. Create a review response matrix that sets guidelines for how to respond to positive and negative reviews. Set up alerts for when new reviews are posted on your business’s profiles and delegate time for responding to them within a day.
Responses should remain professional, acknowledging the main points of the initial review. Show your gratitude for positive reviews and reflect on your mission statement and company vision. Be considerate and open-minded towards negative reviews, providing ways in which the original reviewer can contact you directly about their concerns.
Another consideration is to use an online review management system to help monitor and respond to reviews across multiple channels. Often these systems offer tools to help drive positive reviews to more of your online accounts while facilitating private discussion around negative reviews.
Asking for Reviews
Chances are, you already have a list of loyal customers who give you positive feedback during your direct interactions with them or during day-to-day operations. You know that these individuals are the ones you want leaving reviews for your company online, but you’re not sure if you can ask them to take that extra step. The key is timing.
Wait until your next great interaction with a customer to ask them for a review. Asking while they are already pleased with your work and in a good mood, will enhance the likelihood that they will leave you a positive review. Ask directly or in an email, being careful to give directions or include links to where they can go to post a review. Be open about what the review would mean to your company and how much you would appreciate their time for doing so.
Share Positive Reviews
Sharing positive reviews through your social media channels is a great way to remind other past customers of their own great experience with your business. In addition, having reviews to share is a signal to potential customers that your business is worth looking into for their own needs. Sharing these reviews also allows you to link to your online business profiles on different review sites, directing people on where to go and leave their own review.
Reviews received through online consumer rating sites can typically be shared without the need to notify the original poster, as their review was made in a public space. However, reviews that are collected through forms on your website or direct emails, or reviews that are physically handed in as pen-and-paper responses, will need to be given proper disclosure that they may be shared through your social media channels.
Create a Strategy
Develop a guide that you or your team can follow the next time there is an opportunity to earn more reviews. Creating and using response templates, like the review response matrix mentioned above, can ensure that all comments are written using the same branded voice. Templates can also set standard responses for frequently asked questions or common concerns that customers mentions. Standard responses make it easier for teams working together to maintain multiple social accounts and can help improve your brand’s response rate.
Look at how you can integrate online reviews into your workday. Identify key points of customer interaction and plan ways to effectively request online reviews. Share best practices for requesting reviews with your team and find ways for everyone to be involved. Set SMART goals for your brand’s online reputation management that include reasonable expectations and timelines for review generation.
Finally: follow through. Two key deciding factors within the consumer journey are trust and authenticity. Each review should be seen as an opportunity to re-evaluate and polish your business practices for the better. Showing your customers that you value their input and have made improvements based on their feedback is the ultimate trust-builder.
Looking to super-charge your online presence and generate more reviews? It all starts with your website and online content. Visit our Search Engine Optimization page to learn more about how BlaineTurner can help tip the scales in your favor!