How to build a strong online reputation

Many business owners are feeling completely helpless in the face of online review sites that allow customers to review their business publicly at any time.

You may not expect to see reviews, but they can have an impact on the perception of your business by potential customers and existing ones.

Online reviews can be frustrating, especially if your average rating is below three stars.

Manage your online reputation to build a loyal customer base and maintain steady revenue. This is especially important for small businesses. Reviews are a major factor in influencing people’s buying decisions.

It is not easy to build a positive online reputation. However, if you follow through on each of these five tactics, they can help improve your scores and create a positive impression of your business.

Respond to all reviews on any site immediately

What will you achieve?

  • Showing your customers how much you care will make them feel valued.
  • You will locate and resolve potential problems.

Yelp is the most popular review site for general consumers. Other major areas include Facebook, Yahoo, and Google+. You should be aware of all the review sites relevant to your business or industry.

E-commerce sites, for example, should pay attention to the reviews their products get on Amazon. Hotels, restaurants, and preschools should be paying attention to TripAdvisor and Yelp.

It’s hard work to manage reviews on each of those sites, so it’s best to have at least one person check them daily. Create a list of all the places where your product or business could be reviewed. Bookmark each page to make it easy to access. This process is quick and easy because not every home has a review every day.

You can respond to reviews on most sites. Write a response to EVERY review you receive directly on the website. Share your perspective if it was a negative review and rectify the problem publicly. Also, show your appreciation for customers who have raved about your company. You will show potential customers that you respond to both positive and bad reviews.

If the site does not allow you to respond directly to a review you have written, you may be able to locate the information of the specific customer and contact them. However, only do this if they give you their information voluntarily. If the site allows, you can write directly to the profile of the customer.

How to handle reviews:

  • Thank them for a good review and offer an incentive to return.
  • Offer to fix the problem if you receive a bad review. Give them your contact info and follow up if they do not reach out.

Reviews can be intercepted before they are posted.

What will you achieve?

  • By blocking negative reviews, you’ll stop them from appearing.
  • You will resolve customer complaints before the public is made aware of them.

Create a system to consistently contact customers after they have done business with you and inquire about their opinions. You can send online surveys to customers immediately after they have completed a transaction, or you can give them forms at the counter.

It is crucial to manage your reputation that you get the customer’s feedback as soon as possible (or even before they leave).

You will give customers a way to voice their concerns or compliments if you respond to them quickly.

Even if they don’t resolve the issue, giving them a place to air their grievances could help them avoid posting any negative reviews on the internet.

Find your satisfied customers and ask them to write about you

What will you achieve?

  • Build relationships with your customers, and they’ll keep coming back.
  • You will convince your customers to spread positive word of mouth and recommend your service.

As described above, intercepting customer opinions can put you in touch with happy customers who are the most valuable voice for a business. Most satisfied customers will not write a review until they have received service on a level they’ve never experienced before.

You can direct happy customers to leave a review online if you catch them while they are still thinking about their positive experience.

Be careful with how you word your follow-up messages, as you want to avoid making the customer feel used or desperate. It may be enough to include the link in a thank-you message to direct customers to these review sites.

You can also reply to popular reviews posted on lesser-known websites and invite these customers to leave their study on a more-known site.

Customer feedback can be used as actionable advice

What will you achieve?

  • You will receive valuable feedback (positive or negative) on your business.
  • By taking this input as a heartfelt recommendation, you can improve your business.

Keep a record of responses when viewing feedback from customers, both online and privately. You can improve your services by using both positive and constructive feedback.

If your customer is willing and able to talk about a particular aspect of your company with you or even the entire world, this was likely something they really liked. It will also likely be something others find interesting.

All reviews and responses should be kept. It is easier to do this if you provide your customers with an easy-to-analyse survey. For example, use number ratings for each question. You can create a chart or graph that shows the ratings of all aspects of your service. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Keep your word

What will you achieve?

  • You won’t make a promise that you’re not able to keep.
  • You will build trust with customers and a positive image.

Any business must maintain its trustworthiness. The most common cause of frustration is when customers do not receive the service they expect. This often relates to promises made by a business that were not kept.

It would be best if you did not break any promises you make to your customers or the public.

It is much easier to implement all the above strategies if you know what you promised your customers. Miscommunications can be resolved honestly and efficiently. You can address any complaints that are directed at a specific aspect of customer service.

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