Your reputation is everything. That fact is nothing new.
What is relatively new, however, is that the details of your reputation are conveniently posted online for future potential customers to consume at their leisure. Do you know what your customers see when they search for you online?
That’s why Reputation Monitoring matters. Myriad tools and services exist to help you monitor what your customers are saying about you online. These tools can equip you with the means to be notified whenever a customer leaves a review, allowing you to get in touch and rectify any potential negative experiences they may have had.
These services also provide the tools to solicit new reviews from customers, and can also provide you with the ability to have negative customer feedback sent directly to you, as opposed to a publicly facing review site. The advantage here is generating a higher volume of positive reviews, and stifling the flow of negative reviews.
You may have no interest in monitoring and building your online reputation. Unfortunately, your customers do have a huge interest in monitoring your business. The numbers are staggering at this point. Nearly ¾ of Americans will read reviews before making a purchasing decision. Almost that same number of American consumers will skip visiting your business based on negative reviews.
So … is it time to start monitoring your online reputation? Here are three easy ways to find out.
You have a minimal number of online reviews
It may not seem fair, but in this situation, perception is a reality — at least it is for your customers.
A severe dearth of reviews for your business on review sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor can be almost as limiting (and even damaging) as having a preponderance of negative reviews. Customers that see your business has no or few reviews compared to a business with a high number of positive reviews from their customers will often make their decision simply based on the availability of information.
Even if your competitor’s reviews aren’t all that outstanding, it can still be more appealing for customers to choose an average business with a lot of reviews versus your business with no (or few) reviews — a complete unknown.
Not only can a shortage of reviews be damaging from an anecdotal standpoint, but from a technical standpoint, reviews are also a factor in Google’s search rankings. Your listing can gain a lift in its’ search ranking by gaining a higher number of positive reviews on your page. Similarly, a lack of reviews can make it more difficult to have your listing rise in the ranks.
You have a high number of negative reviews
If you’re working with a high number of negative reviews, your best bet is to solicit reviews from your customers to generate additional positive reviews.
If you’re not already doing so, it’s also important to address negative reviews as quickly as possible, and as efficiently as possible. Quickly acknowledge your customer’s concerns or complaints, let them know you’re there to help, and provide them a means to contact you in private, via email or phone.
While all of these customers may not come back to change their review later, your response at least tells potential customers that customer feedback matters to you, and you always work to address those issues. Leaving negative reviews with no responses makes it look like you simply don’t care. Even if that’s not the case, potential customers won’t typically give you the benefit of the doubt with so many options available to them.
Not only do negative reviews need to be addressed, but additional positive reviews can help create a greater balance. A reputation monitoring service, like the one offered by V Digital Services, can help encourage a higher volume of positive reviews through review solicitation. The use of a gated landing page can also help ensure that a customer’s negative feedback is delivered straight to your inbox, as opposed to your Google My Business page, or your Facebook page.
You have a disproportionate amount of reviews across review sites
Occasionally, a business will have a huge number of reviews and a sterling rating on one site but may be lacking in one or both of those categories on another.
Take this example — your business has a 4.5-star rating and 100 reviews on Google. Those are great numbers, and any potential customers that seek you out via Google will likely be very pleased.
However, your business has a 3.2-star rating on TripAdvisor and only 12 reviews. Not quite as appealing. And if somebody is using this site to find you instead of Google, they’ll simply never see your sterling rating there. The solution is to focus on building up your reputation on TripAdvisor.
Reputation Monitoring services, through the solicitation of reviews via email and text, can allow you to direct customers to a specific site to build a higher volume of positive reviews. In the above example, directing users to TripAdvisor and not providing an option even to visit Google to leave a review would be a way to help balance those reviews and scores out.
Your reputation isn’t getting any less important
The best time to start paying attention to your digital reputation is yesterday. The second-best time is now.
In 2005, the average consumer consulted anywhere from 1-3 online sources before making a purchasing decision. In 2012, that number was 10. Today, that number has grown to nearly 20 for many consumers.
People are looking for your business right now. Do you know what they’re going to see when they find you? Reputation Monitoring services can help provide you with the tools to gain greater control and ensure that your online presence is both rich and positive.
To learn more about Reputation Services from VDS, contact us today.