Building strong relationships with customers is not always an easy task. At times, this can take time away from your everyday responsibilities, especially if you have customers across multiple locations nationwide. Getting reviews on platforms like Yelp and Facebook is no longer an option for a business. If people dislike your brand, they are going to talk about it -- even if you don’t want them to talk about it. The key point here is to see this as an opportunity to encourage your local partners to see online reviews as great sources of word-of-mouth marketing. More importantly, it’s a way for them to increase online visibility over competitors.
In a previous article, we highlighted the importance of online reputation management for national brands. While monitoring reviews is a big step of the process and a great way to start, there is more to it. The interaction between what people say and how businesses respond is what search engines are looking for to lift search results rankings.
Review sites have become hefty influencers for American consumers, who now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Since search engines are constantly looking to provide the best user experience, reviews are now an important ranking factor. Positive reviews help a business rank higher in search results, which leads to more clicks and visits to a business since it’s standing out from competitors.
As with many other situations in life, quality over quantity applies with reputation management. The authority of the third-party review sites matters, and a business should focus on sites relevant to its industry, geographic location and social media presence. Search engines like Google and Bing are getting better at identifying fake reviews, so it’s important for your reviews to be authentic. Don't pay for reviews. Instead, let your product or service speak for itself.
How Should You Manage Online Reviews?
Requesting reviews from loyal customers is something you can encourage your local partners to do. Make sure they provide clients with clear instructions on how to leave a review and share direct links to the review profiles. Placing buttons from review sites on channel partner websites so customers can easily find them is a good practice that can boost the number of reviews your partners get.
Contrary to what you may think, negative reviews aren’t necessarily a bad thing for your brand. It’s important to keep in mind that reviews can help you understand what makes your customers happy. The best way to deal with them is to be responsive. This shows you’re engaged with your customers and appreciate what they have to say. When you respond to a negative review, avoid using defensive or negative language. Instead, keep your reply brief and empathetic. Submitting a positive reply to a negative review can help build strong client relationships. The business is communicating not only with the dissatisfied customer, but with many other potential clients who are keeping an eye on this interaction.
While monitoring your reputation, you might find reviews that don’t aim to help either the business or to potential clients. Reviews with offensive, spammy or promotional content aren’t unusual, but there’s no reason to worry. Most review sites have guidelines and review content policies and, once those reviews get reported, the site will take care of them.
All in all, reviews will continue to assert their importance, so listening to what your clients have to say can be beneficial in more that one way. Tracking reviews is important, but engaging your customers through them is much more important. It not only helps in boosting your search rankings, but it also builds relationships that keep customers coming through the door. If you would like to understand how reputation management works through your channel partners within the complex distributed marketing environment, let us know. We’re here to help!