Improve Customer Trust and Maximize Retention With Reputation Management
Running a business requires serious strategic thinking, diligence, and motivation. Before earning a penny, you have to figure out how best to market your products and services, increase brand awareness, and build a positive online reputation that converts curious shoppers into loyal customers for life.
Today, your online reputation serves as easily-accessible, real-time public proof of your successes (or failures). With a click and a quick glance, ready buyers can view countless star ratings on Yelp, or a flip through dozens of reviews on Google all before deciding to choose your location — or that of a competitor.
Here’s how to build a smarter, data-driven reputation strategy that draws in your perfect customer, and turns them into loyal fans.
The Importance of Building Trust with Potential Customers
In a world where people rarely venture beyond page one of the search engine results page (SERP), your web presence needs to rank as high as possible when consumers look for keywords relevant to your brand and store locations.
Positioning your brand to be discoverable in local searches should be a high priority for marketing leaders of multi-location businesses and franchise owners alike. Drug store chains want their relevant business locations to appear atop the SERPs anytime consumers search for ‘pharmacy near me’ on Google, Apple Maps, or whichever map app they prefer.
However, it takes more than search engine savvy to pull in great customers. Businesses of all sizes must build strong brand trust to convert a could-be customer into a long-term brand advocate — and that’s often achieved by creating impeccable online and offline customer experiences.
No matter your industry, online reviews can significantly impact your ability to build trust, convert potential customers, and ultimately achieve long-term success. A recent analysis revealed that 90% of consumers surveyed said positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions, and 86% said negative reviews had an influence.
With a strong reputation management strategy and process, get more customers to submit online reviews, receive better reviews, build more authentic connections, and even gain access to in-depth reputation metrics designed to drive growth and revenue.
How Proactive Review Management Builds Trust
Before handing over those hard-earned dollars, today’s consumers pay close attention to your brand reputation. Let’s say you manage online reputation for a fast-casual burger chain, and someone near one of your locations is hungry for a quick bite. They open their laptop, do a Google Maps search for burger restaurants nearby, and start scanning the top SERP listings that pop up.
If your burger restaurant is one of them, you’ve won part of the battle — online visibility. However, the competition for that hungry customer’s business has just begun.
As search results roll in, an aggregate star rating is prominently featured within each restaurant listing. The hungry diner keeps scrolling through listings while paying special attention to:
- Low and high ratings
- Standout customer feedback
- Notable complaints
- The brand’s engagement with reviews
- Photos of the establishment and menu items
If your reviews are filled with happy buyers, high ratings, genuine review responses — even critical feedback — boom! New customer earned.
Or, if your business has dozens of unanswered reviews, low star ratings, and consistent complaints, you’ve lost trust in seconds — and that potential buyer will swipe on by.
If that last scenario rings true for your business, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on improving your online reputation using today’s top strategies, tools, and technology.
Why Review Management is Especially Important Today
Don’t just take our word for it. Studies show that customer review interaction is up 50% from pre-pandemic levels, and four out of five consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews.
Even after getting a direct business recommendation from a trusted friend, seeing how your business receives customer feedback can dramatically sway a final purchasing opinion.
It’s inevitable that customers will encounter issues and will get frustrated with your products or services. If they’re really upset, they may head to a review site to share their two cents with the rest of the internet.
So, what should you do when that happens? Here’s how to ensure every customer experience, good or bad, becomes a tool to boost buyer trust and retention:
Add reputation analytics and reporting capabilities
Without reflecting on past results or understanding what’s going today, you’re essentially strategizing in the dark. That’s why integrating analytics and reporting for reputation is critical to your multi-location growth strategy and success. From real-time competitor comparisons to tracking star ratings at 1000s of locations to following your review response rates, few tools will up-level your strategy faster and better than analytics.
Respond to all reviews — positive and negative
Nobody likes a one-sided conversation. A Harvard Business Review study highlights that consistent engagement tells a customer how much your brand does (or doesn’t) value their feedback, patronage, and loyalty. When a paying customer takes the time to engage your brand, always be sure to engage right back.
Prioritize prompt replies
Don’t leave your customers hanging. Multiple studies have shown that most consumers expect a reply within a day or two — a week, tops. Not only does this prove to buyers that their feedback matters; quick review response speed might even impact your Google search ranking and visibility.
Personalize your response
Review replies should never be one-size-fits-all. Instead, address the reviewer by their first name and reference specific details from their review in your response. This shows that you actually read and understand their feedback. If that feedback was positive, be sure to say thanks! If it’s negative, show empathy and offer a solution to make it right.
Move negative review conversation offline
In most cases, you can find a solution to an issue that triggered a negative review. However, it’s almost always best to take that conversation offline. Reply quickly to negative reviews, thank your customer for sharing their feedback, and offer and give an easy, secure way to connect with someone on your team who can personally address their concerns.
Prompt, personalized engagement is the key to building trust with customers, boosting retention, and helping your business build positive online visibility. In fact, many customers will change their previously negative or neutral reviews into better ones!
Another essential component to boosting customer trust through online reviews needs to be addressed. Let’s talk logistics.
Common Online Reputation Management Challenges
Given what we know about the impact of reviews, why don’t all businesses make online reputation management a higher priority? As with most things, a number of stumbling blocks can make it difficult to implement a streamlined review management process.
The top challenges to effective online brand reputation management include the:
- Manual and time-consuming process
- Delegation difficulties as multiple departments are involved
- Supporting a review response strategy across multiple business locations
- The constant stream of incoming reviews requiring a response
- Managing listings across various platforms
- Need for proper review response training
That fact is, a stellar review response strategy does take substantial time and resources. That’s why more growing, multi-location businesses are implementing tools like review response software and listings and reputation management platforms to take the pain out of the process. Others even go a step further by enlisting a white-glove review response team to ensure all customer feedback gets the attention it deserves.
With an in-depth, streamlined process in place, businesses eliminate many review-related issues that can hamper customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.
Here are just a few benefits of reputation management software:
- View reviews from Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. in one place
- Access a single source of truth for listings and reputation
- Reply to reviews for every store location on one dashboard
- Achieve faster response times using the bulk response tool
- Create fully-customizable review response templates
- Get in-depth analytics from response rates and competitor comparisons
By investing in proven review management tools, brands can rest assured that their reputation will precede them — in a good way — and top leadership will soon experience the bottom-line benefits of a well-executed brand reputation strategy.
Prioritizing Reputation Management is a Win-Win-Win
No matter how established your brand is, your current online reputation strategy, or lack thereof, will continue to play a pivotal role in your success. While awareness is a good start, implementing the right systems is the real key to attracting, converting, and building life-long loyalty with your valued customers.
Schedule a demo with Chatmeter today and see how our award-winning software and support team can launch your brand’s perfect strategy.Book a Chatmeter Demo