Online Reputation Management (ORM) for Local Businesses
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The reputation of your business is essential, so when you’ve worked so hard to build it up, you want to retain it.
In our digital on-demand society, consumers are interested in instant gratification and ease of interaction. These two aspects are key when it comes to managing your reputation online. And by referring to your reputation, we’re speaking about your business listings and reviews.
Business listings - a vital component to effective reputation management
Businesses today have some amazing tools available to them to boost their online profile. By utilising these platforms, you can meet the on-demand expectations of consumers.
We have to give a big nod to the likes of Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, and Tripadvisor. These sites enable you business owners to form a relationship between your brand and the consumer. Review sites are more than a platform displaying honest feedback from customers, they offer click-to-call, online ordering, booking functionality, messaging capabilities, and directions on GPS. Positive reviews are essential to encouraging users to take any of these actions.
The power of local listings for your business is that consumers easily get the information they crave in real time, increasing the likelihood of converting the browsing user into an enquiring customer.
How to manage your reputation through your listings
Manage incoming reviews
We’ve previously spoken about the importance of local business listings and getting reviews for your business on them. Something that is just as important is the way in which you respond to those reviews; good or bad.
So why respond? Well, Google My Business say: “Respond to reviews that users leave about your business. When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback.”
On top of that, there’s also the benefit to your online marketing: “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.”
How to respond to positive reviews
Firstly, thank the customer.
When someone compliments you in real life, how do you respond? You thank them. Behave as you would in reality when someone compliments you, but act as your business/brand.
Reviews from your customers are powerful and could make the difference in another customer deciding to use your business or not. So thank them for their custom and time taken to review you.
Show your brand’s personality.
Don’t write a generic response to a consumer. Touch on specific elements of their review, it adds a personal touch that customers will appreciate and remember.
Entice them to come back.
Let customers know you look forward to seeing them again, and gently encourage them to come back. You could do so by offering promo code for when they next order or work with you again.
This act of kindness from you to your customer will be seen by others.
How to respond to negative reviews
It’s really hard to do, but you must embrace bad reviews.
Failing to respond to a negative review is not a good look and could be detrimental to your reputation. In fact, an ignored review is worse than receiving the negative review in the first place. It sends out the wrong message to customers during the ‘research phase’ of their buying journey.
Apologise and thank them for their feedback.
No business wants to hear that their customers have had an unsatisfactory experience, so start by apologising. The review may contain information that you don’t want to hear, but thank them for their time.
Take care when responding, remember it’s public.
Use your customer service skills to write a good response. Don’t blame the customer in their review, and avoid any confrontation.
Continue the conversation offline if necessary.
Responding is key, but avoid going back and forth publicly with an unhappy customer. Understand from their point of view they may want a solution or some kind of rebate, but it’s best to take this offline and speak directly with the customer.
Most importantly, learn from the feedback.
It’s valuable, unfiltered feedback from real people. Use the reviews as a learning experience to improve your processes.
These easily actionable insights could make all the difference
Managing and maintaining your reputation could make all the difference for your business; winning you more business just from responding to online reviews.
Tom is the co-founder of TRACX, a no-code marketing platform that allows local business owners to collect customer feedback and create engaging marketing campaigns. With over 17 years of experience in entrepreneurship, product development, and marketing for businesses large and small, Tom is currently responsible for developing product and marketing strategies for TRACX.