How Online Review Management Enhances Brand Image
Consumers routinely turn to online reviews as the most trusted source of information when considering a new purchase. Research reveals that the review factor that has the greatest sway over whether or not a consumer will use a business is their response rate to online reviews, with 88% stating that they would gravitate towards the brand that responds to all its online feedback.
Clearly, having an effective review management strategy is essential to enhancing and protecting your brand image.
Here I want to take a look at why review management must be a priority, and how review management and resolution services can be used strategically to enhance and maintain your reputation, keep existing customers, and bring in new business.
The impact of negative reviews
Negative customer reviews severely hamper a brand’s image. Public criticism and complaints when left unaddressed can have a considerable impact on sales. Some still ignore the problem and take the ‘sweep it under the carpet’ approach. At best this is just delaying the inevitable, at worst it sends a signal to your market that you not only don’t have the answers, you simply don’t care.
So, it’s absolutely crucial to engage with feedback right away, before it escalates, instead of leaving it to stink up your image like a spilled dustbin. Rarely is a situation ever a lost cause. Online reviewers who believe that their issues with your brand have been given due attention and have been engaged with sincerely are likely to retract the complaint or even update the review in a positive light.
How does investment in review management drive positive changes?
Review management services bring businesses instant access to expertise and tools that can manage and improve their online reputation.
Continuous monitoring of the latest reviews across social media and dedicated online review platforms such as PissedConsumer.com enables you to stay on top of emerging problems before they escalate. Review management tools can track and alert you of mentions of your brand across all platforms. Giving you the heads up that allows you to respond promptly and calm any situation before it develops.
More than just a way to manage online reviews and deal with them reactively, online reputation monitoring gathers actionable insights into customer sentiment and consumer preferences - details that can inform a proactive approach to customer satisfaction. Through analysis of trends in customer feedback, businesses can identify problem areas and areas where they could do better, and make confident, data-driven decisions that will help streamline and improve the quality and efficiency of their organisation, and thus benefit the customer experience.
How to respond to reviews
Never neglect to respond to reviews. Few things are more infuriating to the consumer. If they have been sufficiently moved to take their time to pen the review in the first place, then it’s not surprising that they are going to want to be taken seriously. Acknowledgement is the first step in granting this.
A considered reply to a review indicates to the consumer that they are heard and their concerns are being taken into consideration. An individual, thoughtful and empathetic public response can go a long way towards redirecting a situation that has the potential to boil over.
Here are my tips on timely and effective review engagement:
- Be prompt – within 24 hours is a reasonable and expected timeframe.
- Be respectful and allow the customer to express themselves fully. Never be dismissive or defensive.
- If appropriate, offer an apology for what the customer has experienced.
- If the situation cannot be resolved there and then, tell the customer what further action you will take.
- Follow up with the customer to establish whether they are satisfied with the outcome.
Effective review monitoring does demand rigour and commitment, but the value it brings more than makes up for it. Companies that consistently engage with customers with considered, empathetic, and transparent engagement are piece by piece building a brand reputation that becomes synonymous with trust and confidence.
Given this impact, online review management really does need to be a priority for every business. Dedicated review management services can provide a company with instant access to the expertise and tools needed to monitor, analyse, learn from, and promptly respond to customer feedback. It is one of the smartest investments you can make in growing an excellent reputation.
Michael Podolsky is the CEO and Co-Founder of PissedConsumer, a review and reputation management platform. Entrepreneur, Forbes Business Council influencer, an expert in customer service and leadership, and active advocate of consumer rights and freedom of speech.