Online reviews play a crucial role in reputation management for businesses. Let’s take a look at some statistics that establish why customer reviews are important for your business reputation management.
According to a BrightLocal report, 77% of customers check reviews before buying from a local business. 89% of customers are likely to buy from a business that responds to all its online reviews, and 57% said that they would not buy from a business that does not respond to its online reviews.
Furthermore, most customers do not buy from a business with 2 stars or less. Customers are also aware of fake and censored reviews and are adamant about buying from such a business.
So what is reputation management, and how to use reviews to improve and manage brand reputation?
What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management is a continuous process of monitoring customers’ perceptions of your business. Whereby you take strategic action to control the narrative about your company.
Overall, reputation management entails protecting and improving the reputation by monitoring customers’ opinions and experiences, managing crisis, and taking measures to recover the reputation.
In the online space, the right reputation management strategy involves monitoring consumer reviews about your business on various platforms, e.g., review websites, forums, and social media. Then, amplifying the positive ones and taking action to address the negative ones that could damage your reputation.
Reputation Management Strategies Using Online Reviews
Any reputation management strategy requires thorough research. You will need tools and strategies to discover what customers say about your business on various platforms. Then, take the appropriate action to leave customers with a favorable perception of your brand.
Below are 5 strategies to use customer reviews for your brand’s online reputation management.
Find Out What Customers Are Saying About Your Business Online
An online reviews report indicates that Google is the top review site. Therefore, start with a simple Google search for your company to see your reviews and rating.
While at it, look through the first and second page of the search results and take note of the platforms where your company is mentioned. There could be articles about your business or reviews for your products and services. To narrow down your search results to reviews only, search for “your company name/brand + reviews” and go to websites with customer-generated reviews.
It is advisable to sign up for the Google Me Tool. Set up the custom alert feature to get notified every time someone mentions you or your company’s name online. You can also do an advanced search across various social media platforms. Keep an eye for negative and fake reviews and flag them or report them on the review platform.
Be Proactive About Getting Customer Reviews
Engage with customers actively to seek their feedback. Contact customers directly —via email or phone— within 1-2 weeks of a transaction to ask about their experience.
This direct approach gives you better control over your brand’s reputation. You can address any issues before the customer broadcasts them as negative reviews on public platforms. It also enables you to build a relationship with the customer and foster loyalty.
Also, identify the top websites where customers review and rate your business. Work with the top review websites to monitor and address customer reviews. For instance, PissedConsumer.com has a brand reputation management solution with features such as weekly review reports, real-time review alerts, business verification badges, information about reviewers, and more.
Establish Policies and Systems for Reputation Management
Create a strategy for online brand reputation management. Determine who will be monitoring and responding to reviews. If you do not have a team, hire and train one.
Develop a list of the right customer feedback questions to ask and design a feedback form to use on different platforms. Draft feedback request and response templates. Do not incentivize or buy reviews.
Establish a schedule—you should monitor reviews at least once a week, preferably every 1-3 days. The team should provide a weekly or monthly report to the marketing and public relations team to inform the larger marketing strategy of your company.
Respond to and Engage with Consumer Reviews
Excellent customer service is essential for reputation management. It comes into play when engaging and responding to customer reviews.
According to the abovementioned online reviews report by Revietrackers.com, most businesses do not respond to consumer reviews fast enough. The report indicates that 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week, preferably in less than 3 days. In addition, the report revealed that highly responsive companies have higher ratings.
Therefore, you must respond to customer reviews promptly to improve your brand reputation. By being responsive, customers feel heard and seen. However, you must be strategic about responding.
Many businesses offer a generic response, which is not satisfactory to most customers. Instead, personalize the response to each review depending on the highlighted customer’s experience.
In the case of positive reviews, thank the customer for buying from your business and taking the time to provide feedback. Reassure them that your customer support team is easily accessible for any questions or issues that may arise. You can also promote another product if there is room to do so organically.
When responding to negative reviews, be intentional about client communication. Be empathetic and show that your business cares for them. Use a professional yet friendly tone.
Acknowledge the complaint publicly on the review platform. Apologize, take responsibility for the inconvenience caused, and then offer a customized solution to the highlighted issues.
For instance, you can guide the customer through the steps to take or customer support resources they can utilize to resolve the issue. Take the conversation offline by offering them contact information they can use to reach you or your customer service team directly.
Use Positive Reviews to Amplify Your Marketing
Customers want social proof that your products and services deliver value and that your business is worth transacting with. Use positive reviews as testimonials in your marketing messages to build trust with potential customers.
For instance, embed a review widget on your website to display positive reviews from the top review website. The widget can decrease the bounce rate and improve conversion rate and user experience.
Best Practices by Industry
Generally, the principles of reputation management for businesses are the same across the board. However, there might be slight variances in the exact response depending on the products, services, and procedures involved.
Below is a look at different customer service examples of how companies in the various industries respond to reviews on PissedConsumer.com.
Travel businesses include tour operators, booking companies, hotels, car rentals, and more. There are numerous reviews for booking companies and travel agencies on PissedConsumer. The most common complaints are regarding cancellation, getting refunds, difficulty amending travel details, wrongful billing, false advertising, etc.
For example, Getaroom is highly responsive to negative reviews posted about their company. In review #3530034, a customer complained about difficulty canceling and getting a refund.
The Getaroom team responded to the review within 3 days. It seems that the response and further communication with the reviewer helped to resolve the issue as the customer later updated their review to indicate that the issue had been fixed. After the company's response, this consumer increased their rating to 5 stars.
Banking customers often encounter issues that require immediate assistance, such as fraudulent activities on their accounts and cards. Such issues must be addressed as soon as they are reported to avoid further loss. Therefore, the same-day response is advisable, most preferably within an hour of being reported.
Therefore, banks should offer 24/7 customer service and have tools in place to track customer complaints and reviews in real-time to enable prompt assistance.
For example, in a Chase Bank review on Twitter, the company’s customer service representative responded to the customer on the same day. They assured the customer they were there to offer support and asked them to send their details in a private message for further assistance.
In the clothing industry, the most common customer issues concern delivery delays, delivery of wrong items, returns, exchanges, cancellations, refunds, and missing orders.
We looked at how Shein responds to customer reviews on PissedConsumer and found that they are quite prompt. They mostly respond to customer complaints in 1-2 days. They have an overall 4-star rating* out of close to ten thousand reviews, which could be attributed to their responsiveness.
However, their response is quite generic, which some customers find unhelpful. For example, in Shein review #3784680, the option offered was not helpful to the customer. In the response, they provide a link to the Shein customer service page, which requires the customer to choose from a list of issues. The customer’s specific issue is not categorized in the prewritten issues.
It is best to offer customers a personalized solution to their issue or contact information they can use to reach the customer service representatives directly.
How a business responds to online reviews is core to its brand reputation. Prompt and helpful responses improve and maintain brand reputation. The communication with customers, either to thank them for leaving a positive review or to apologize and address issues brought up in a negative review, communicate to existing and prospective customers that you care. Every resolved issue is social proof to customers that your brand is trustworthy and reliable. It is evidence that your business has good customer service.
*Disclaimer: Ranking and statistics are based on our users’ review texts and Pissed Consumer posters’ reviews. Also, a company’s rating is calculated using a mathematical algorithm that evaluates the information in the profile, including users’ rating, the number of resolved issues, the number of company’s responses, etc. The algorithm is subject to change in the future.
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- customer reviews
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