Online Review Management
Strategies and techniques to improve online reviews ethically
Why manage reviews? Because companies with better reviews tend to attract more customers
Online reviews are an excellent resource for consumers and businesses as they go about their buying decisions. Word of mouth has always been a key player in whether people opt for one product over another, and the wealth of online reviews and ratings systems available today are simply the cyber version of this phenomenon.
Online Review Management Strategies
Because online reviewing is so prevalent, it's normal to be concerned about what people might be saying about you -- and whether it's tarnishing your name. For starters, not all reviews sites are created equal. Most consumers are savvy enough to put more stock in a review from a trusted site like Yelp than, say, if there were a site called TheseBusinessesSuck.com.
Many who seek out strategies for online review management do so because they're hoping to delete or mitigate negative reviews. So, what can you expect when you work with someone to help manage your businesse's online reviews? A comprehensive strategy will include at least some of the following:
- Encouraging positive reviews on popular sites like City Search, Yelp, Angie's List, Google Reviews, Facebook, and Merchant Circle through focused customer outreach, but without bribery.
- Removing negative reviews when possible (if they violate terms of service or promote legitimate falsehoods, these are the most common acceptable grounds for removal. If the reviews are negative and truthful, your strategy will need to be more proactive).
- Inclusion of Yelp and other review site badges and signage on websites, storefronts, within direct advertising, or email newsletters to encourage satisfied customers to promote you through word-of-mouth online.
- Have a protocol in place for monitoring and responding to online reviews.
With all of this in place, you'll have to keep in mind that people can still be fickle. Reviews like "It's a great beach, just too sandy" or "haunted" can drag down reviews for no apparently good reason.
To fight bad reviews by customers and competitors, business owners must be proactive. Here are a couple of ways that a company like Reputation X can help you develop and implement a review management strategy.
Intercept the customer
Businesses that intervene during and just after the end of the sales cycle to request feedback tend to have better star-ratings. Why? Because they catch people before they get to the review sites with an up or down vote as to whether the experience was positive.
Asking whether a customer had a good experience can be automated using certain review management tools. The premise is simple: if the customer had a good experience, direct them to make a comment on a specific review site. If the customer reports having a bad experience, address it immediately.
Removing reviews that violate TOS
When reviewers violate a site's Terms of Service (TOS) the content can often be removed. Inappropriate content, intellectual property issues, privacy issues, promotional reviews and more are all reasons to request reviews be removed.
Review Management as One Piece of the Pie
If you want to drive your business's positive image for the long-haul, you'll need to do more than monitoring online reviews. As important as a sturdy review management strategy is, it's only one piece of the larger pie that represents your digital image. Learn more about online reputation management by visiting our blog, or contact us today for a free consultation.