Reviews are real, influential and online forever; so let PR show you how to make the best of them
There are now more than 500 review sites online. It’s a pretty sure bet that the public is rating your company on more than one of them. Are you handling your company’s online reviews in the most advantageous and effective way?
With more and more people researching and shopping online, review sites have quickly become a powerful indicator for the performance of your brand. Whether it’s a star- or points-related review or a paragraphs-long discourse about the advantages/disadvantages of your product, consumers are increasingly using these reviews to make final purchasing decisions. Therefore, it’s imperative that you manage online reviews correctly. Here are four mistakes you may be making in handling your online customer reviews.
- Responding incorrectly to bad reviews.
Let’s face it, when someone criticizes your company or product, it stings. Your first instinct may be to lash out, tell the customer that it’s his fault because he didn’t use the product correctly or just ignore the review. None of these options will serve you well.
Of course, you shouldn’t take negative feedback lying down, either. It is crucial to address the reviewer, let him know that his concerns are important to you, and explain how you may be able to solve the problem. Keep a positive tone, never get defensive and remember to highlight your positive qualities in the process. Also, you should avoid lengthy back-and-forth dialog. Offer to speak with the customer offline to fix the issue. You may win the customer back to your side and pick up some new fans in the process.
- Not aggressively attracting more reviewers.
A recent survey proved that more than 80 percent of consumers trust online reviews from strangers more than recommendations by people they actually know. Reviews represent a significant opportunity to engage with customers during critical stages in the buyer’s journey. If you are not actively seeking and promoting good reviews, you are missing the chance to tell customers what they want to know to make smart purchasing decisions.
Methods for success in this area include allowing customer reviews directly on your site and making sure your company has a presence on all relevant review sites. Even listing a few bad reviews shows that you are being honest and responsive to your customers.
- Failing to spend enough time on making online reviews work for you.
Today’s customers are constantly online, and they demand that the companies they do business with be there too. For example, research has shown that customers who tweet about a company expect an immediate response, typically in less than one hour.
Many companies now have dedicated customer service accounts on Twitter and other social media platforms. But, this doesn’t mean sending out automatic, canned responses. While the customer service function has increasingly moved online, your conversations should still be real, natural and effective in representing your brand.
- Not hiring a PR firm to handle online reviews for you.
Managing your online reputation is a big job. Online reviews help to shape consumer opinion on what your brand is all about, and you have to be careful to make sure you don’t miss any.
Axia Public Relations uses ReviewMaxer software to help clients stay on top of online reviews from hundreds of sites. The list of sites includes small, local outlets as well as large, national ones because anytime your company’s name is on the line, it’s important. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a demonstration of our ReviewMaxer program.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.
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