The internet has leveled the playing field between any size company and the voice of the customer. Critics no longer need credentials to get published. Everyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer can publish anything for the world to read.
According to research, 9 out of 10 consumers are making buying decisions by reading and trusting what is said collectively on less than ten online reviews.
And, less than 1 out of 10 consumers will buy from you if your star rating is below 4.0.
That means, if your ratings fall below 4.0, they are driving away 83% of your market.
Companies are being rewarded as they manage their online reputation.
One study of the impact of online ratings on businesses revealed that a one-star increase in ratings led to a 5 percent increase in revenue. And a small company can gain an increasing share in a market dominated by big business. Smart companies are becoming aware of the rise of online reviews as well as other sources of peer-to-peer information and how to use them to increase their sales.
Why Companies Are Making Reputation Their Number One Marketing Priority
All marketing efforts will lead a consumer to learn more about a company. If a consumer discovers a less than 4.0 average rating, all the marketing efforts will ultimately drive the prospect away.
“Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked, and never mended well.”
How To Manage Your Company’s Reputation
Effectively managing your company’s reputation requires recognizing that reputation is a matter of perception.
Reviews, which can be either more positive or more negative than reality, significantly influence perception. Either way, an inaccurate perception poses a risk to the company.
If there is a lack of information gathering or denial, a negative reality can exist, even though the owner or manager doesn’t see it.
Therefore, you must monitor perception and produce change when it is inaccurately negative. And, you must objectively monitor reality and bring about real change when it is negative.
Preventing An Inaccurate Negative Reputation
When the reputation of a company is less positive than reality, it faces significant risk. An inaccurate negative perception can happen in a couple of ways:
1) Negative reviews can include baseless, highly subjective, uninformed and inaccurate information. And, inaccurate information is spread throughout the internet every day.
2) Also, according to research, customers are 152% more likely to post a negative review if they experience poor customer service than to post a positive review if they experience good customer service.
An undeserved negative reputation can be frustrating. A company must take action to manage an inaccurate negative perception.
The Danger Of An Inflated Reputation
When the reputation of your company is more positive than reality, you face a substantial risk as well. Eventually, reality will be exposed, and a company’s reputation will drop or even become damaged from resentment over false promises. To bridge a reputation-reality gap, you must either bring about real change to produce a positive reality or reduce expectations by promising less.
“Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of—for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
Actively seeking customer feedback is imperative for measuring the reality of customer experience with your business and preventing negative reviews.
Only 2 out of 5 customers who have a negative experience with customer service will tell the company providing the service if they are not asked for feedback. Yet, 95% of those same people will communicate their dissatisfaction elsewhere.
The only solution is to actively seek feedback, objectively learn from criticism, make whatever changes are needed to make the actual customer experience positive.
Elements Of Online Reputation Management
Good reputation management will include a response to all positive and negative reviews across all review sites. You must respond to negative reviews strategically with empathy as your top priority and without being defensive. You also need to respond to all positive reviews to build your reputation and reward positive reviewers.
Listing management also contributes to a good reputation. Creating new listings and including your offerings where applicable can help to you to be found to gain a positive reputation. Correcting and updating all online listings can prevent disappointments, frustrations, and other negative experiences for prospects and customers. 85% of the time, if a customer finds an incorrect address or phone number, they will not return to the company. 40% of listings on listing sites contain errors. And, with up to 300 listings sites out there, the chance that a prospect or customer has become frustrated by going to the wrong address, calling the wrong number or showing up after you close is significant.
You also need to monitor conversations that are taking place on news sources, blogs, and postings on social networking sites related to your products or services and your company. You should be in-the-know of what people are saying about your company and incorporate it in your brand management strategy.
This multi-point check report covers an exact measurement of your company’s:
• Listing presence: your found listings compared to the industry average. Listings determine whether people can find your business.
• Listing Accuracy: percentage of accurate listings found for your business compared to the industry average, including notation of missing phone number or website. 85% of the time, if a customer finds an incorrect address, phone number, etc., they will not return to the company.
• Data Provider Accuracy: accuracy of information about your business is represented on data provider sites. Data providers provide listing data to hundreds of online sources including review sites, directories, social sites, search engines, GPS services and more. 40% of the time, data provider sites contain inaccurate data which they distribute it across the internet.
• Online Reviews: reviews found per month, average review score, the number of review sources, the number of “likes," a number of posts, and shares per post.
• Search engine marketing measurement: shows how easily your business can be discovered by customers on search engines and how well you're doing to attract customers through paid campaigns.
How are you doing with managing your listings and reviews?
Do you have any questions? Please comment below and let me know your thoughts. If you'd like a Free Online Rating Report that measures your organization’s rating scores, listings, social performance and more, please click the link above and look for Free Online Rating Report on our homepage.
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