What do you think is the first thing that a customer does before choosing a business over its competitors? How do customers evaluate whether the restaurant, consultancy or retail store that they’re heading to is better than others? The simple answer is, “reviews and star ratings”.
Reading reviews and checking out the star ratings of a business are the two most common ways for customers to determine whether they’re making the right choice while making a purchase.
In fact, one research showed that 91% of people checked online reviews regularly or occasionally, while 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they would trust a word-of-mouth recommendation.
Online business reputation management is more important than ever in today’s world. Another study showed that 89% of customers use search engines for discovering businesses and that 62% of customers research about a business on Facebook before buying from them.
In other words, if you’re not found online with a good star rating and positive reviews, your customers are not going to be able to trust you.
If you’re wondering, “Now, how do I work on my business’ reputation management?”, then you’ve come to the right place. Our step-by-step guide is going to talk about all the things you need to do to maintain a good online reputation for your business.
Step 1: Make Sure You’re Found
Before we dive into getting more positive reviews for your business, let’s get something out of the way. You can’t showcase your 4.6 stars rated business to your customer if your business isn’t found anywhere online. In other words, you need to make sure that you’re found on top business listing and review sites such as Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
Recommended: Handling Bad Reviews and Leveraging Good Ones
Search engines, closely followed by other websites and apps, have been the top sources when it comes to discovery of businesses by customers.
Making sure that you get your business listed online should be the top priority on your digital marketing and reputation management to-do list. Provide rich data about your business on these discovery platforms to make sure that you maximize your business’ chances of getting found online.
If you feel like getting your store listed manually on every single website online is goeing to be cumbersome, you can use an automated listings management tool like Synup or AdviceLocal to get the job done for you.
Another area you need to focus on to improve your chances of getting found, especially if you’re a local business, is the SEO of your business’ website and local SEO in general.
Over 60% of your customers are going to find businesses on search engines (refer the previous image), so making sure you work on your business’ local SEO is important to get discovered locally, online. Check out this checklist for local SEO if you’re not sure of how you can tackle this problem.
Step 2: Improve Likeness of Getting Online Reviews
However, this only means that actively asking for reviews of your business is now looked down upon, and it doesn’t spell the end of the world for getting more business reviews.
Improve your chances of getting reviews for your business by using stickers from companies that are okay with you openly asking for reviews and ones that aren’t okay with you soliciting reviews as well.
This will likely improve your chances of getting reviewed online, since it acts like a visual cue for customers to review your business. Using opportunities like Yelp deals and certificates can also encourage customers to visit your business’ listing.
Beyond all this, make sure that you’re warm and welcoming when you are serving your customers, and establish a good rapport with them to improve your chances of receiving a positive review from them.
Step 3: Always Respond to Reviews
Once you start receiving business reviews, make sure that you always respond to them. Responding to positive reviews will help you build a relationship with the customer while responding to negative ones can greatly help in both crisis management and convincing a customer to give you another shot.
In any case, responding to reviews shows other customers that you care about your clients and the quality of service that you put in. If you feel like it’s going to be difficult to respond to every single review that you receive, check out these ready to use review response templates that can save you a ton of time.
Step 4: Generate More Reviews
Review generation wizards allow you to send SMS or email prompts to customers that will allow them to give you feedback about your business. Once a customer types their feedback, they will be encouraged to post it as a review on any listing of your business’ choice on the internet.
Getting more reviews using an automated review generation wizard will greatly improve the rate at which you receive reviews for your business, and positively impact your overall star rating online.
That’s it! All you need to do is make sure that you employ these four simple steps, and you’re all set to improve your business’ online reputation.
Beyond this, some things that you can do to realize customer satisfaction and improve online ratings are:
- Setting up net promoter score (NPS) surveys for your business
- Building a good social media following
- Setting up referral programs for your customers
- Getting featured in your local blog/publication
- Getting loyalty programs in place for your business
The more you work on your business’ reputation, the more you’ll learn about it. Spend some time experimenting with various things, and you’re sure to figure out the much-coveted secret formula to maintaining a great online reputation for your business.
Harsha Annadurai works as an Inbound Marketer at Synup. His excessive love for music and football has led many to believe that he was a jukebox in a football stadium in his past life. You can follow him on Twitter.