Should You Pay Attention to Your Online Reputation?
It’s likely you’re familiar with the buzz phrase of “reputation management.” Maybe you’ve done some investigation into what it means or perhaps you are already trying to manage your reputation. If you’re still on the fence or haven’t been paying attention to your online reputation at all, though, there are some key reasons why you should focus on managing and improving it.
Negative Reviews are Turning Potential Customers Away
The cold hard facts don’t lie. Consumers trust online reviews. They actively seek them out and read them before they visit a business. The higher risk a purchase might be for them, for example if they are purchasing a vehicle or an expensive electronic, the more likely they are read to read several reviews and seek out advice from multiple sources. 92% of people read online reviews. 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Over half of consumers will take multiple sources into consideration when they are looking to make a purchase. So if someone is saying negative things about your business online, your potential customers are seeing it. You could be losing valuable business by ignoring what is being said about you online. This isn’t a situation where you have a choice. We live in a digital age where consumers can quickly and easily broadcast their opinions to many others. There’s no opting out of having reviews left about your business online. It’s happening, whether you like it or not and so the best thing you can do is to face it head on and take as much control over the situation as possible. While this may seem very frightening, in reality, it’s a great thing. Yes, negative reviews might be turning off potential customers, but positive reviews could be bringing them in.
If you can’t stop the negative reviews, what’s the point of paying attention to them? Responding to negative reviews demonstrates to all the quiet users that you care about your customers and the experience they had. You are hearing the complaints and demonstrating a willingness to make important changes. And in some cases if you are able to have a productive conversation with the customer making the complaint, they may walk back their negative review which will improve your overall score and appearance. Read more about what to do when a negative review happens to you.
Customers Think You Are Ignoring Them
At least 36% of customers who leave a negative review are hoping to receive an apology and nearly 40% are hoping you’ll change your policy. While these motivations are interesting and noteworthy by themselves, they reveal a very basic truth. Your customers are expecting you to monitor your reviews and they want to hear from you. If you aren’t paying attention to your online reputation you are missing this very essential element in your relationship with your customers. It also means that you may need to do nothing more than offer a sincere apology to set things right. A negative experience, however, can be made to seem worse if you do not respond to the negative feedback your customers leave you. So it’s very important not to ignore the negative reviews you receive and instead to pay attention and respond as appropriate.
Additionally, customers who leave positive reviews enjoy feeling like their feedback has been worthwhile. It’s a good rule of thumb to reply to all customer reviews including the positive ones. Thank them for taking time to leave positive comments about your business. The entire social system on the internet is built around an individual’s craving for social validation and this is a key way you can meet those expectations.
Valuable Learning Opportunities Await
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of people spreading negative words about your business on the internet and not realize the great opportunities that await. By monitoring what is being said about your business online, you gain tremendous insight into how customers feel about your business since you are able to read their words directly. It’s true that people may let you know in person how they feel about something, but there’s a degree of comfort that they feel when they are safely behind a screen. While they may be a bit more extreme than they would be in person, they can also be more honest. Pay attention to what people are saying about your business. Most reviews will contain some useful information about changes you can make, popular products, troublesome employees, or fantastic employees. If the same issues keep receiving complaints, chances are it was not a one-off situation but something that represents a true problem for your business. You are empowered with the information so that you can make changes for the future and learn if anything is working especially well so that you continue those policies or even use them as selling points in the future. All this information is readily available to you if you are paying attention to your online reputation.
If the concept of paying attention to your online reputation is brand new to you, you might also want to check out The Essential Guide to Reputation Management. It’s important to keep in mind, also, that your online reputation is more than just reviews and it’s wise to pay attention to all of it.
There is a lot to consider and pay attention to when it comes to reputation management. Think Creative can help! We’d love a chance to talk to you in more detail about how we can help you monitor and manage your online reputation.