Customers are already talking about you; learn how to use it to your advantage
Today, online customer reviews can literally make or break a business. When reviews are managed correctly and the information is positive, you can reap benefits such as an increase in customer engagement and profits. If you get it wrong, your company will be flooded with negative search engine results for years as your reputation plummets.
Online customer reviews take on a critical role when you realize that a majority of consumers research companies online before they ever talk to a salesperson or get to the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. Learn some insider tips on handling this crucial element of marketing.
- Pay attention to the conversation. If a customer called you or walked through your door and spoke to you about her concerns or complimented your business, you would listen. Just because the conversation has moved online doesn’t make it any less important. It’s the same information.
- Learn vital facts about relevant review sites. Once you know which sites your buyer personas use, find out all you can about them and how to make them work for you. Many sites have tools for businesses to respond to negative complaints and some even allow businesses to have their own presence or page. Also, sites like Yelp use programs that toss out reviews, even positive ones, written by people who are not consistently active on the site.
- Look for trends in your online reviews. Of course, you will always encounter people who just want to criticize, and you should certainly address them. However, you may find numerous reviewers complaining about one or two issues, such as rude customer service or long wait times, and these you should view as trends that need to be fixed.
- Respond to positive as well as negative reviews. Sometimes, we get so busy killing weeds that we forget to plant flowers. Don’t let your happy customers feel forgotten and insignificant. Nurture and engage them with attention, information-sharing and special incentives so that they understand how valuable they are to you.
- Consider your input and responses carefully. Handling online customer reviews is too important to just “phone it in.” Canned, automated responses don’t really help you or the customer. Individual, personalized responses show that you care about what your customers think, which helps to engender their trust and loyalty.
- Make it easy for satisfied customers to give you a review. Include buttons to relevant review sites on your website and social media pages. Remember that many customers may be on a mobile device so make any necessary design adjustments to account for this.
- Include customer reviews on your website and social media pages. Many people don’t think about writing a review when they’ve had a good experience, and seeing other positive reviews may remind them to do so. In addition, research has shown that consumers give more weight to reviews by strangers than the opinions of friends and family when deciding on a purchase. A review from another customer is also considered more trustworthy than any sales or marketing message you create.
- Recognize the value of having a qualified PR firm manage your online presence. The magnitude of managing your brand’s online presence is clear. What’s not easy is finding the time to do it all.
The experts at Axia Public Relations will help you elevate your company’s online reputation and increase customer engagement. With tools like our powerful cloud-based ReviewMaxer software, you can track online reviews from more than 500 review sites, see all the places that mention your company and promote positive reviews for maximum benefit. Contact us today or request a demonstration of our ReviewMaxer software to find out how we can create an online reputation management strategy for you.
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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