It could be argued that your brand's reputation is its most important asset. Word-of-mouth marketing is a strong driver of referrals and a great customer experience can go a long way in driving future sales. Consequently, a poor customer experience can create serious implications for a company as well as scare away future business. That's why staying on top of what customers say about your brand online is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your company's reputation.
Jay Baer, who runs Convince and Convert, sums it up nicely when he says that online reviews can be categorized into two types; the on-stage reviewer and the off-stage reviewer. The on-stage reviewer is the customer who's already decided that the only recourse against a bad experience with a business is to shout it from the rooftops. They leave ranting reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp and any other forum they can find in order to sound the alarm about their experience.
Off-stage reviewers, however, are more focused on a resolution. They understand that imperfect service sometimes occurs and are willing to speak to a business owner privately to reach a mutually agreeable solution. Unfortunately, these reviewers often get ignored and overlooked because they aren't causing a commotion. Because of this, the off-stage reviewer can often turn into the on-stage reviewer.
So what's a brand who cares about reputation management to do? For you sports fans, the old adage "The best defense is a good offense." rings true. As we've worked with hundreds of brands to improve their online reputations, one fact remains constant: the best way to create and keep a positive reputation is to proactively intercept reviewers before they post a negative review online.
These three tips will help you guard your company's reputation proactively instead of reactively.
As soon as your customers have interacted with your brand or have become clients, reach out to solicit feedback. This will accomplish two things: first, it opens a channel of communication between your company and your customers, showing them that you're invested in customer service. Second, it allows you to collect positive reviews from customers that are pleased with your services, but may not independently consider leaving a review. Having a strong base of positive reviews will help offset the occasional negative review, effectively building more consumer confidence in your brand.
Sometimes there are common themes in customer reviews. Pay attention to negative comments that your company receives and use that feedback to thoroughly examine your customer-experience process. If the same complaints are being voiced repeatedly, there may be larger issues at stake. Customer reviews can act as a feedback loop that will help you adjust and improve your company's customer-experience system.
It's no surprise that when customers understand the process for how to leave a review, they'll be more likely to leave you one. To do this, ensure that the links to review sites such as Yelp or Google are easily found on your company's website. Additionally, optimizing your company's web pages on these review sites will help customers find you online more easily.