Online Reviews Are Today’s Word of Mouth – Reputation Management
Online Reviews Are Today’s Word of Mouth
Today’s business owners need to be aware of the importance of online reviews. Just a few negative words can lead your business into a one-star wasteland that you’ll need to spend days or perhaps even weeks recovering from. Just a simple few words can give your business’s online reputation a huge boost or tank it.
It’s amazingly easy to share an opinion nowadays, and many people do it when they want to share an excellent experience or negative one. Since the entire world can read those reviews, as a business owner or manager you are required to keep an alert eye on them and act quickly if you see something damaging. Paying attention, in fact, is an important part of successfully managing your online reputation, which is a critical element in today’s business world. There are so many moving parts on the world wide web that you absolutely must have a strategy.
How do you track your reviews and how do you respond to them? Do you reply to everybody, or just pick and choose? These are all questions that you must consider carefully. If you want to obtain or keep a five-star rating, you must be consistent in cultivating and maintaining reviews. Be aware that having no stars or no reviews is almost as bad as having one star.
Mind-blowing stats from a recent study by Invespro
- 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
- 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more on a business with “excellent” reviews.
- 72 percent say that positive reviews make them trust a business more.
- 92 percent of consumers say they will use a local business if it has at least a five-star rating.
- 72 percent of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review.
- A single negative review can cost a business about 30 customers.
According to research, most consumers will read at least four recent online reviews before they fully trust a business. What to take away is that consumers are heavily influenced by online reviews, regardless of where they are in the buying process whether that be for a product or a service.
Maintaining your online reputation
As a business, you need to manage your online reputation with strategic thinking and a well-thought-out plan. That plan requires monitoring every single online review and addressing them properly. You need to deliberately and consciously cultivate fresh positive reviews to outweigh negative ones and push those negative ones down the results. It involves analyzing the feedback to help you with product or service improvements. Ideally, managing an online reputation also involves getting your good news out on your digital assets, to ensure that people recognize you and your business as experts, and you have a built-in positive starting point. This gives you an important leg-up on the competition.
Who do you have managing your online reviews? You certainly don’t entrust this to someone who doesn’t have a handle on how online reviews work. This is a job for professionals who understand reputation management. Just one negative review, among dozens of positive ones that may be posted on any given day, can greatly affect your business. Fair or unfair, people are going to read it and make a decision to buy a product or use a service based on it. You have to act quickly. You need to craft a response that makes the customer feel that their voice has been heard and that their concern will be addressed, while simultaneously you show other potential customers how responsive you are and that you support your “100 percent satisfaction” guarantee. Not only that, but you express this message via a short, courteous, empathetic, professional response that contrasts with their negative review. Every single review, positive or negative, however, needs the same meticulous attention from you because each of them can impact a future customer.
You may need an Online Reputation Management expert in your corner
Consider hiring a PR agency you trust. If your company is big enough, you might even want to hire a professional communications team member to manage this increasingly fundamental part of your business. The investment will be one that will pay off in amazing ways in regards to your profits. If you are looking for a marketing company to guide you through online reputation management, give us a call at Big Machine Marketing. We can be reached at (800) 485-9498.