Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | January 2, 2019

What Is the Difference Between In-House and Full-Service Review Response?

Your company’s reputation is vital to its survival. Without the proper review management system, what people think about your business will be subject to negative comments and discussions that could have easily been avoided. Up to 30 potential customers can be lost by receiving one bad review, making reviews a crucial factor in the amount of business you bring in.

As the information age advances and the power of technology continues to grow, the concept of a company’s reputation has begun to change. Social media platforms and review sites have given consumers a new voice that holds more weight among their peers.

Studies show that 88% of consumers are using these reviews as a determinant when deciding whether or not to purchase a product or service. Customers can voice their opinions, reviews, and experiences with your brand which can reach thousands of eyes in a matter of seconds.

With the endless amount of review sites and social media platforms popping up around the web, the job of review monitoring has become a multifaceted experience. It now includes areas such as monitoring and responding to social media posts, replying to customers on review sites, and generating positive reviews.

With everything that is included in review monitoring, the process of incorporating it into your business and aligning it with your goals is almost impossible without the right tools in place.

Option 1: In-House Review Monitoring. Does It Work?

Brands with multiple locations often find they do not currently have the time and resources needed to handle the unrelenting amount of data that comes with review management and are thus left overwhelmed. When looking for a solution, some companies may think that hiring new employees to handle the job in-house is a valid option because they may feel:

  • That’s traditionally how they solve problems. Hire a new employee!
  • There are only a few review sites that are important. Someone can just manually find them or use Google Alerts
  • Hiring a full-time employee will allow the company to easily align their reputation management goals with their business and project goals
  • Emerging issues could be handled quickly and exactly the way they want

However, for companies with a number of locations, hiring a new employee won’t solve the problem; the amount of data that needs to be tracked in order to have an effective review management strategy is overwhelming. Take Sears for example. With 1,000 stores nationwide you can see they have over 30,000 online reviews, 20,000 business listings, and 25,000 social pictures posted. It is unreasonable to think someone can manually find and track this information without a review management software tool in place.

Even brands with 50 stores may only get 2 reviews per store per day, but where are they posted, and for which stores? The issue is that your new employee would need to open all 50 store pages on 5 different key review sites and look for these new reviews. That’s 250 pages to open and look at per day to find 10 new reviews. Does that sound like an effective use of employee time?

Option 2: Outsourcing to an Agency

Alternatively, some companies may consider handing off the task to an outside agency rather than spending the time and resources that accompany hiring a full-time employee. Companies looking to outsource their review management do so for reasons such as:

  • Outside reputation management firms have implemented social media and reputation management tactics into other businesses and therefore know what works and what doesn’t
  • Gets the task of reputation management off of your plate so you can say it’s being taken care of without having to deal with it directly

However, outsourcing to an agency has some issues that you should consider:

  • It’s difficult and time-consuming to train an agency on your strategy, process, and execution of the plan
  • Outsourcing will slow down the response time as you will be prioritized among other agency clients
  • It is very difficult for the 3rd party to consistently follow the same guidelines for all reviews
  • Experiences are unique and will require decision-making on how to react and what should actually be said online in response. These are sensitive issues and if handled wrong, can make the situation worse

If hiring an employee to handle the task of review management is inefficient and ineffective, and outsourcing is out of the picture, then what choice are you left with?

Option 3: Software Platform

Companies receiving hundreds of reviews a week may find that monitoring and compiling all their reviews into meaningful and useful information to be problematic. Moreover, responding to these reviews-while necessary -can be extremely time-consuming.

The only way to successfully implement and manage your reputation across multiple locations is through a software platform. A platform enables your current team to easily and effectively handle the task of review management. A software platform will provide:

  • Quick aggregation of data into actionable information
  • The ability to stay on top of your company’s reviews as it is the only way of ensuring you’ll receive the business you deserve, whether at a particular location or across many of them
  • The opportunity to keep up and engage with customers in ways that help your business grow

The features you should look for in a platform include:

  • Daily Alerts: Receive daily email alerts when you have a new review or new content pertinent to your brand
  • Review Management: A tool that monitors all your stores on a daily basis and notifies you right away of new reviews found on local search and review sites
  • Note Taking: The ability to take notes on reviews, images, and listings across the dashboard to help you and your employees stay accountable
  • Local SEO Rank Tracking: Track the chatter across the social web, analyze sentiment, highlight issues to address, and provide access to participate in the conversation
  • Media (The Reviews of today): Gather pictures tagged to each store from across the social web (Instagram, Yelp, Google, etc.) and display them in one convenient location

Chatmeter’s multifaceted dashboard brings you some of the most powerful and easy-to-use tools in the industry and gives you everything you need to have a world-class review monitoring strategy.