Brand professionals must constantly update their online reputation management strategies and review management. After all, we exist in an uncertain world, which throws curve balls (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) all the time.
Online reputation management is an ongoing necessity for any brand or business in 2023. And with judicious research and understanding, it is always possible to flex strategic decisions to meet any new challenges.
Review management plays an increasingly important role in any reputation management strategy.
What is review management?
Before we go into details of how to successfully implement review management, here are some statistics that show why it’s so important:
- Almost 90% of consumers say that they use online reviews to form their opinion about a local or national business (according to Podium).
- According to Trustpilot, 625 consumers refuse to buy from brands or businesses that censor or alter online reviews from customers.
- Stats from BrightLocal show that around half of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations.
- Around two-thirds of consumers use Google to read reviews about businesses
- Almost 55% of consumers look for at least four reviews before they make a buying decision, according to Bizrate Insights in 2021.
- Almost 75% of consumers said in 2022 that they had left an online review for a business, according to BrightLocal.
As you can see, a major driver in building a strong and resilient online presence is proper review management.
What is excellent review management?
When done correctly, review management effectively monitors customer reviews posted about the brand or business across the Internet.
This includes websites, specific review platforms and social media channels. Review management is about actively monitoring, analysing and appropriately responding to every review.
A good strategy will help to deal with negative and fake reviews in a way that organically diminishes their reach and promotes positive reviews instead.
An example of effective review management would be when a customer leaves a very negative review about a service or business and the brand responds respectfully. By acknowledging negative reviews, apologising if necessary and offering ways to rectify the dissatisfaction, a brand creates the possibility of positive interaction. This is then seen by anyone else who reads the reviews and responses, giving them a positive view of the brand.
Why are quality reviews important?
Online reviews give you immensely important data with which you can craft your digital marketing strategy. They provide real-time customer feedback on your services and products and give you the opportunity to directly connect with customers in different ways.
Furthermore, keeping track of negative reviews shows what’s going wrong with your business and gives you the chance to rectify issues and improve your offering.
Positive reviews, on the other hand, build confidence and trust in your brand organically and essentially act as free advertising – free and powerful advertising.
Online reviews are also user-generated content (UGC) that is used by search engines, such as Google, to rank the website. Therefore, the more positive reviews your brand has, the better the chances are that it will rank higher on Google’s all-important first page.
What is a review management system?
This is a strategy to monitor all online reviews and feedback about your brand across social media channels, media and review sites, as well as your own website if you have set up a review function.
It provides you with the data you need to make the most appropriate decisions for your specific review management needs. It’s important that businesses understand that nearly 75% of customers expect effective review management from the brand in question.
This means responding to a negative review or customer complaint and providing the kind of solution that goes towards growing trust in your brand, rather than further negative opinions.
Why does online review management matter so much?
There are numerous reasons why review management impacts your online reputation and the trust that you can build with customers. Below are a few reasons why your business definitely needs an online review management strategy that works:
It will forestall a potential crisis.
Customer criticism in the form of a negative review doesn’t have to become a major problem. But without a strategy to deal with it, it can turn into a crisis very quickly. Brands that effectively monitor reviews so that they can deal with negative feedback quickly and efficiently are less likely to deal with a crisis.
It will help to retain customers
An effective strategy will also ensure that you don’t lose potential customers. Remember that most people read reviews and feedback about a brand, product or service before they decide to spend their money.
Poor handling of customer complaints or negative reviews can backfire and cause potential customers to look elsewhere. On the flip side, good handling of these issues helps to build authenticity and trust with potential customers and boost your sales.
It will help to boost trust in your business
Customers are more likely to think of your business or brand as trustworthy if they see consistently well-handled review responses online. This improves the customer-centric focus of your brand and helps people to see that, should they decide to spend money with you, it’s in good hands.
One of the most important aspects of this is that potential customers trust you to deal with any problem they may have with your services or products after purchase.
Mismanagement can lead to reputational damage
Review management can be viewed as a preventative step – it’s far easier to control review responses than to deal with a full-blown viral media problem. Effective reputation management, including review management, strengthens a brand’s resilience to deal with changing public opinion.
Negative reviews can damage conversion rates in a significant way, and failure to deal with them appropriately only adds to this. For more on reputation and review management head here.