Online Reviews -
The Voice of Your Customer
By Rick McNeely...
Why are Online Reviews so Important?...
Simply stated: Online reviews are “so important” because they are the Voice of Your Customer, (VoC). In other words, your customers are providing you with feedback about their experiences with and expectations for your products or services. It’s your golden ticket to knowing where you are exceeding or failing to meet a customer’s expectations. Stated another way: If you want to be customer-centric, you will monitor reviews and embrace the data they provide! But wait, there’s more.
The Top 5 Reasons Why Online Reviews are so Important ...
5. Online Reviews for Competitive Research...
Online reviews are a great place to gather intelligence on your competition. In other words, if you’d like to see your competition’s strengths and weaknesses head to the Google reviews or Yelp. If you are so inclined, you can always set up technology to monitor your competitor reviews. Should you detect a trend it could translate to an opportunity!
4. Net Promoter Score...
Do you want to gather data on client loyalty and satisfaction? Net Promoter or Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. It serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research and is claimed to be correlated with revenue growth.* (*learn more at Wikipedia).
Operation Reputation offers a technology platform that easily lets you gather a Net Promoter Score while managing your online reviews.
3. Protect Your Brand...
Are you listening to what people are saying? Simply stated, you should address all reviews good and bad, but you should also protect your brand. Consider this, someone attacks your brand or team member with an abusive or crazy review, what do you do? Without a doubt, stand up for your brand and team. Sadly, there are unstable people online and when given a platform from which to pontificate they will write some crazy things!
Remember, the general public and many of your good customers are in the audience, so take the opportunity to be the voice of sanity. That said, thank them for their review and state your brand’s value relating to the alleged occurrence (keep it brief). Most importantly, get them offline by using direct messaging, email or a phone call.
The last step is to check and see if the reviewer has violated any of the review platform’s rules. Yelp is a good example of a platform that has a strict set of guidelines they enforce. While dealing with many of the online review platforms can be frustrating, it isn’t unheard of to have a review taken down or pushed into a secondary location.
2. Online Reviews Communicate With Three Audiences!
As with any communication, remember your audiences. In the case of online reviews there are three audiences. Specifically, the “public response” is written for the broad audience of review readers. While the pubic comment is addressed to the reviewer, it is truly intended to show the public your company values. Additionally the comment shows how seriously you take comments from your customers and that corrective action will be taken.
The public comment also communicates with your internal team. It is a reflection of your company and no team member or manager wants thrown under a bus or villainized in a public forum. Remember, your team and other stakeholders also read reviews!
Conversely, the audience for the direct message, call or email is specifically the reviewer. The goal is to handle the specifics of the complaint outside of the public eye.
Remember your written responses are easy to share, so keep it professional and don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want to say to an auditorium full of your customers, co-workers and friends.
1. Take Quick Action and Save a Client...
Just how quick is quick action you may ask? A good rule of thumb is to reply to an online review (bad or good) within 48 hours. That said, at Operation Reputation we like to keep the response as close to within 24 to 28 hours as possible. Remember, a quick response to an online review shows all readers how important customers are to your business! Additionally, it serves as an example of how willing you are to listen and take action to improve the client experience.
Now is the Time to Act!
1. Claim your business page on all relevant review platforms
2. Monitor your reviews and take action quickly
3. Respond positively to all good and bad reviews
4. Share your reviews with your team, follow-up and embrace reviews as a way to improve
5. Solicit more reviews!
Do you need to find a partner
to help with the management of your Reviews?
If you’re not managing your online reputation or allocating marketing budget to reputation marketing, we would highly recommend you do so. The cost of having your in-house team (or an agency) monitor your presence and make ongoing efforts is a great investment. Of course, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.