Reputation Management is More Important Than Ever
Amy, shaken to the core by a recent article touting the dangers of mainstream laundry detergent, set off to find a new, safe, more eco-friendly brand.
First, she hit up Amazon. Eleanor’s Essential Oil Detergent looked promising, but there was only one review and it was basically a rant against the flimsy packaging. Nope.
Next, Amy looked up Sully’s Suds, recommended by her sister-in-law, but there were tons of consumer questions posted all asking for clarification on ingredients. None of them had answers. Moving on.
Finally, a very frustrated Amy had a brainstorm. “I’ll shop locally,” she said, and off she went to look up artisanal detergent makers in Phoenix. She found one, but the top Google search result was an article about the owner’s DUI from three years back. Uh-oh.
Three different brands, all suffering from the same problem: subpar reputation management.
First Impressions and Last Chances
When 97% of customers use online reviews to choose a local business and 49% of those shoppers won’t patronize a business with anything less than a four-star rating, it’s clear that reputation matters. Your Yelp listing and Facebook page may be the introduction your brand gets. Reviews are your digital handshake, like it or not, and it’s beyond disheartening to know your success depends on the opinion of others, but it’s also an opportunity.
Why No Reviews is a Disaster
Lenders view people with no credit history even less favorably than applicants with a negative credit history. The same principle applies to business with no reviews. Negative reviews at least contain information; blank listings are like black holes.
Encourage customers to share their thoughts by soliciting feedback via SMS messaging, email marketing, social media posts, and cross-channel promotion. Some brands even offer a discount for customers who post reviews, and the investment is generally worth it.
The Positive and Negative
Every time you boost your Yelp rating by a single star, your business revenue stands to jump by as much as 9%. That’s a huge payoff just for currying customer satisfaction. These positive reviews drive sales in a couple ways. The first is by shining up your brand’s reputation in general. People see the star rating, assume they’ll also have a good experience, and press the ‘buy’ button. The second benefit is the ability to share those positive reviews on social media. You’re trying to build buzz, and testimonials help.
Even negative reviews can be a gift. Remember Amy? Imagine if:
- Eleanor’s customer service staff had publicly responded to the packaging complaint, letting the customer (and the world) know the company had since upgraded their closures to prevent spillage.
- Sully’s Suds took the time to answer questions and use those queries to reformulate their on-site content, creating an overall more informative and comprehensive brand message.
- That local shop in Phoenix hired a PR team to generate positive media mentions, overshadowing that years-old mistake.
Reputation management is more than checking up on TripAdvisor listing and sending take-down requests to disgruntled bloggers. In a world where consumer trust is intricately linked to reputation, how you monitor and deal with your public position will impact sales.
We’ll leave you with this:
- Wikipedia is typically on the first page of Google results, and all the content is written by volunteers who may or may not be subjective.
- The vast majority of customers compare products before making a purchasing decision.
- Of the 50% or so of adults in the U.S. who have Googled someone they’re considering doing business with, 45% said they found information that led to the end of the deal.