Online Reputation Management | Monitor Reputation
Never before has it been so easy for people to leave reviews about the product or service they get from local businesses.
If you are a local business owner you need to know that, because of the internet, you operate in a glass bowl. Word of mouth has gone viral and people usually leave nasty comments a lot faster than glowing testimonials. Social media as well as blogs and review sites have created a platform for people to leave opinions about your product or service everywhere. And they’re not shy about doing it.
If you slipped up once or twice it gets worse: your prospects will search for reviews and ask their friends through places like Facebook or Twitter about your product before they buy. Imagine discovering a patient or a client telling their friend, i.e., the whole electronic world, “I’ll never go there again. The lady at the front desk totally ignored me and acted like I was invisible.” I have actually witnessed a doctor go out of business because of negative reviews. Yes, there was probably more to it, but the bad reviews kept the phone from ringing.
But wait, before you close your store, there is hope. By implementing an online reputation strategy, your company can maintain a positive online reputation, which will lead to better customer loyalty and new customers.
Here are the basics of an Online Reputation Management strategy:
- Monitor Reputation
- Negative Response Strategy
- Response Removal
- Create Positive Content
By taking a proactive approach to keeping an online reputation management system, you can actually build trust and attract more patients and clients. When people see that you make the effort to communicate with them they’re a lot more forgiving. In contrast, most times a business owner isn’t even aware that someone said something negative about them.
In this article we will discuss the first part of the strategy, which is monitoring your reputation online.
Social Media Monitoring
There are several free ways and paid ways to monitor your brand.
First, let’s focus on the free methods. The cheapest method is scanning the following on a dally basis:
- review sites
If your brand was mentioned you can address it (more on that later).
Unfortunately, this method is also very time consuming.
One free way to reduce the time necessary to police bad reports and directory submissions is to use Google Alerts. This service can alert you instantly when your search term or your brand name is mentioned on the internet. Once you receive this alert you can click on the link and find the comment. The downside to this “instantly alert system” is that Google may not find a negative review immediately.
As Twitter becomes more popular, people will leave comments to their following that stream through immediately. “I’ll never go there again.” If you’re not a follower of that patient or client you can still discover what was said about you on sites such as TweetDeck. There are other free sources as well such as Social Mention or HootSuite. Your own search will uncover many more.
Inventory Your Company Reviews
An inventory review is when someone submits a comment to a review site such as Yahoo review. Once identified, inventory them and the comments your brand has now. For example you may have found your company has 35 reviews over the past 2 years. Of those 35 reviews, 8 of them could be considered negative. So 22% of the reviews are negative. Further detail and look at the dates to see if the reviews are spread out over time, during a product launch or were the bulk of the reviews a few weeks ago. You may uncover the source of your complaints if they weren’t clear in the communications online.
Categorize the Reviews
You know your industry better than most so you need to decide if 22% is a proportionally high number of negative reviews. One way to find out is to check out you competitors’ reviews. Add their name to your Google alerts and you’ll see what others are saying about them and be able to compare their customer service satisfaction to the reports you’re learning from your online reputation management system.
Put the reviews into categories. For example, there are nine negative reviews, four of them were based on a bad product. The other five were based on poor customer service. So you would have 2 main categories for your negative reviews – customer support and product/service. Some other examples could be phone support, waiting room, bedside manner, billing and technical support.
Next Step | A Negative Response Strategy
This is your company’s benchmark and very useful in improving in those areas. You know the different types of negative reviews and a ratio of good to bad reviews. Do this with your competition as well. In the next article we will take this information and create a negative response strategy.