In a day and age when online reviews can make or break a business, it’s more important now than ever to have a brand reputation management strategy in place to handle the good, the bad, and everything in between. In light of this, we’ll explore how to use good reviews to your benefit, how to handle and use negative reviews to make a positive impact, and the overall importance of collecting reviews.
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A common misconception business owners have is that they should fear business reviews and complaints. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s true, that online reviews can have a direct impact on your brand’s reputation, getting out in front of them and responding to them is how you can better control your company’s narrative.
In other words, the only time there is cause for fear of what others are saying about you is when you choose to ignore it. When you pay attention to the comments about your business, you can actually leverage your online reviews to benefit your business. Even when the reviews are negative.
When you’re receiving good reviews, it’s common to just assume everything’s going well and focus on other tasks related to running your business. However, it’s important to remember that regardless of what people are saying, they want to know their comments have been received. People want to know they’ve been heard.
Most business owners will excitedly take good reviews and display them on their websites and social media. This is a great idea and we urge you to do the same. We also recommend you develop a full plan for managing your brand’s online reputation.
Now, before we go any further, you might be asking yourself, what is a good strategy for managing your online reviews? We’re so glad you asked, because it’s our specialty.
A simple plan for brand reputation management
While we admit this is a simplified list of steps, the main elements you need in your action plan are:
Sign up with an independent third-party review platform like Hellopeter. This will make the rest of the steps significantly easier to carry out.
Or get in touch with our team to learn more, we'd love to hear from you.
Gather as many reviews of your business as possible.
Respond to all of your online reviews - the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Correct the situations that caused your bad reviews. This may require reaching out to your customers, and asking how to best rectify the situation. Then, after you’ve had the chance to wow them, ask those customers who left bad reviews to follow up with a positive one.
Only now, once you’ve started addressing all of your reviews, should you begin displaying them on your social media pages, landing pages, testimonials pages, etc…
Continue collecting reviews, and addressing both the good and bad online reviews that trickle in.
You should share your positive reviews to build your brand’s credibility
When it comes to shopping for goods and services, the public wants to read your reviews. According to online business marketing guru Neil Patel,
“A staggering 97% of customers read online reviews before they buy. And almost half of those interviewed will only trust 4-stars or better.”
Constant Contact echoed that sentiment when they found that,
“90% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.”
Here’s why: There are a lot of companies selling the very goods and services you’re offering. New customers need social proof that you’re reliable, trustworthy, and will be able to deliver on the promises you make to them. They look to a company’s online reviews as that social proof.
The reviews customers are reading are the new word-of-mouth. Hubspot reported,
“85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Why should they spend money with you over someone else? Your positive reviews tell them whether or not they’re in good hands so they’ll feel assured making a purchase with you.
At the same time, the way you handle negative reviews shows them how much you care about your customers after a sale and your willingness to resolve their problems.
So you know what to do with positive reviews. Respond to them, and then ultimately use them as a way to garner more trust and likability for your brand. Brilliant. But, what do you do if your business has negative online reviews?
Should you put your head in the sand and just pray they go away? Of course not. In fact, that falls under what not to do with your reviews.
Firstly, recognise that bad reviews can actually be a good thing. As Predictable Profits explains,
“A few bad reviews among the good actually adds a human element to your business – a bad review of your company is a little piece of honesty… and we all know what honesty leads to: trust.”
Furthermore, too many positive reviews can make a potential customer sceptical of whether or not the reviews are real. After all, like everything that’s for sale these days, the reality is you can buy fake online reviews for a business. And consumers are highly suspicious of companies with only positive reviews as a result.
For example, learning that John was horrible in customer service could mean he needs more training in how to interact with customers. Or finding out that several customers smelled a strong odour at the buffet could signal you that your gas stoves have a leak that needs addressing.
We cover this further in our post “How to turn a negative review into a positive result,” but the most important takeaway is that you can use all of your feedback to make your business better. Then, after you’ve upgraded, and corrected issues, you can always invite the customer to give you another try and ask for a positive review after you redeem yourself.
By now it may be clear that your business needs reviews to get a leg up on the competition, improve brand awareness, and increase your brand’s “know, like, and trust factor.” Not having reviews about your business online can cost you untold amounts of revenue. Just to put it in perspective,
We have found that when a business has online reviews, their customer onboarding rate is 40%, otherwise, it's 10%.
When you start actively working on your online reputation management strategy, you’ll find your business will get better, and both your customer satisfaction and income will increase.
The question is, how do you collect more reviews for your business and respond to them without creating another full-time job for yourself? The easiest way to manage your online reviews is with Hellopeter.
We’ve helped thousands of businesses get to the next level, and we’d be honoured to help you do the same. The best part is you can get started for free -- Create an account and begin working on your brand’s reputation today.