Review Management – we’ve all heard of it, but what does it actually mean?
Well, what customers say about your business can be the difference between failure and success. Customers sharing their experiences online can be a lot more powerful than you think. How many times have you tried something because it’s been recommended to you by a friend or family? Exactly! That’s why it’s a must to manage customer feedback to prevent adverse effects of negative feedback for your business, and encourage growth! This is where review management comes in.
So, how do we ‘manage’ our reviews? In this guide, I’ll try my best to answer the basics of review management, why it should be a priority for your business, and tips for achieving client success and business goals.
Starting with the basics…
What is Review Management?
Review management involves generating, tracking, analyzing, and responding to customer feedback. Businesses conduct review management for marketing purposes or to improve business offerings and customer experience. Understanding what review management involves puts you in a better position to implement an effective strategy for improving customer experience. Whether you’re looking to better market your small plumbing business, or increase your reputation as a large retailer – it applies to all businesses.
Why You Need Review Management
Regardless of the size of your business, review management is essential for staying on top of customer sentiments.
Informs Business Decisions for Customer Satisfaction
‘Business decisions’ is often a term used without any real context around it, in this instance we refer to it as decisions that have either known parameters, where the data to make a good decision is there, or unknown parameters, where the data isn’t there to make an informed decision.
Review management allows you to acquire and analyze reviews about your business so you can use and store the data to make sound business decisions. This information allows you as a business to manage risk in customer relationships and forecast the results of decisions that have known parameters, i.e. the data from your customers.
While positive feedback can help you identify your business strengths, negative feedback tells you what to improve. Using the reviews to make improvements makes you more competitive while safeguarding your clients’ interests.
Helps with Marketing
Online reviews act as a ranking factor for search engines like Google, signaling to the search engine that your business is trustworthy. This ranking factor came into effect when the Google E-A-T algorithm was introduced. The more positive reviews your business gets, the higher the ratings.
Customer feedback and reviews act as a free form of marketing as it sparks conversations about your business. With proper review management, you can use customer feedback as a marketing asset to attract more clients, increase brand awareness, and influence customer buying decisions in your favor.
Safeguards Company Image
Sharing positive reviews puts your business in good light and builds credibility in the eyes of the present and potential customers. Negative feedback, on the other hand, can ruin your business image and turn away clients.
Review management allows you to track online reviews and maximize positive reviews to boost your company’s reputation. It also enables you to deal with negative feedback promptly before it hurts your business reputation.
To get the best out of customer feedback, you need to ensure you have the right approach towards review management. You can encourage google reviews through things such as a google review link.
How to Implement Review Management for Client Success
Every business has unique needs and goals. However, there are essential steps that are crucial for every business seeking to benefit from customer feedback. Below are review management best practices you should consider for client success.
1. Ask for Reviews
For you to benefit from review management, you need reviews. Although some customers willingly offer their feedback, others don’t. As such, you need to learn how to get online reviews. Use the following methods to encourage your customers to leave feedback.
- Include a reviews section on your website
- Create a review landing page
- Issue your customers with receipts, invoices, or cards containing review sites’ addresses
- Come up with an email campaign
- Ask for reviews in person
- Use a review management platform to automatically ask your customers for feedback after they transact with your business.
To ensure you get the most positive feedback and better ratings, target clients you feel are satisfied with your services or products.
Avoid bribing your clients, using discounts and incentives in exchange for feedback, or outright buying reviews. Doing so may result in low quality or lots of one-star reviews with no explanations. Fake reviews also violate the terms and conditions of most review sites, resulting in more harm than good for your business. Instead, focus on providing exceptional customer service and offering thoughtful gift ideas for your clientele. This approach will naturally generate positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations, helping to attract new customers
2. Identify the Right Review Network for Your Company
Identify the best online reviews site for your industry and list your business or claim your profile. The platforms enable you to collect online reviews and boost your online visibility. Below are popular Review sites you should consider:
- Google My Business. Claim your listing on Google My Business to be able to rank on Google. The platform is ideal for local businesses and can help you build online credibility.
- Facebook. Create a Facebook profile for your business and encourage your clients to leave reviews on your page. Besides offering a sizable network of reviewers, it also gives you the option of turning off ratings in the settings.
- Trip Advisor. TripAdvisor is an ideal option for businesses in the entertainment industry, hotels and restaurants, and travel.
- Yelp. Most consumers use Yelp when checking out businesses, making it a valuable option. It also offers training to companies on how to respond to reviews.
Always opt for a platform that adds the most value to your business. Target networks that host most of your clients, and consider your goals. For clues on the best review sites, research similar businesses in your industry, and ask your clients how they found you.
3. Track Your Online Reviews
A significant part of review management involves monitoring reviews both online and offline. Although reviews may not seem to be ‘trackable’, there are certain metrics and KPIs that you can measure. Note that things like having lots of unanswered reviews is a red flag for search engines like Google and can affect your ranking in the long term.
With numerous review sites and networks online, it can be stressful to monitor customer feedback. To ease the process, utilize tools like Google Alerts that notify you when someone mentions your business. Review management software also comes in handy when responding to customer feedback and identifying and removing fake or negative comments.
4. Respond to Customer Feedback
Whether your reviews are positive or negative, you should always respond to them. Not only does it show that you pay attention to your customer’s opinions, but it also allows you to connect with them and form deep relationships. It is also an opportunity to rectify any complaints before they escalate and ruin your company image.
Positive reviews are easy to handle. You can thank the customer for their feedback, acknowledge their key points, and encourage them to engage your business in the future. However, dealing with negative feedback requires more tact and attention as it can jeopardize your business’s success.
How to Respond to Negative Feedback
- To help you respond appropriately to negative reviews and avert a crisis, consider the following tips.
- Respond within 24 hours if possible
- Acknowledge the customer’s dissatisfaction and show empathy
- Take responsibility for the unfortunate incident
- Address the root cause of the complaint
- Assure your customers by explaining how you plan to prevent similar occurrences in the future
- In case of misunderstandings, use the opportunity to offer clarification and updates on outdated information
Always be authentic in your replies, and respond to feedback as soon as possible. Also, maintain professionalism and remember to be polite even when the customer may not be.
5. Learn From Customer Feedback
For your review management efforts to translate into customer success, you need to learn from customer feedback.
There are certain things you can learn from customer feedback, such as how the buying process works, if there are bugs on your site, if there is a problem with your product and much more. And since positive feedback tells you what you are doing right, you should capitalize on them for business growth. These may be excellent customer service or high-quality products. On the other hand, customer complaints expose your weaknesses. Use the information to strengthen the unsatisfactory aspects of your business by making the necessary adjustments.
However, by acting on your customer’s complaints, you show them that they matter and you care about their needs. They also enjoy a better customer experience which earns you loyalty and higher revenue in the long term.
The days of ignoring online reviews are gone as studies show that 90% of customers check online reviews prior to visiting a business. It is no secret that customer satisfaction is the key to business growth and success. Review management gives you an opportunity to learn about your customers and use the data to not only make their experience better, but also market your business.
For you to get the best out of customer reviews, I’d recommend you to pay attention to customer feedback. Hopefully, the above information will guide you in creating a foolproof review management strategy that will help you achieve your business goals. Remember, what works for one brand may not work for the other, so explore different approaches and find what works for your business.