Years ago we paid to have an on-going assessment tool of our customer's buying experience. We also worked with customers to get testimonials. The ability to do this on an on-going basis by managing online ratings and reviews provides a competitive advantage to those businesses that embrace it.
There are a number of obvious reasons why managing your online reputation is important. The most important being that 88% of all consumers read online reviews before they buy from a business. Without properly managing your online reviews a business risks losing not only sales but also the ability to attract great employees. They say information is power. In my opinion, Information on an ongoing basis regarding your customer’s buying experience, using it to improve your business, and providing to your potential customers so that they can make an informed decision is the most powerful information that we can have regarding our brand. So why don’t business owners work on managing this indicator? I believe that there are several unjustified reasons:
• They realize the importance of monitoring and managing their online reputation.
• They don’t believe there are any benefits to doing so.
• They haven’t proactively managed the customers' journey and therefore haven’t mapped out the customer experience as a repeatable process.
The importance of monitoring and managing your online reputation
• Your online presence is everywhere and can be seen by everyone.
• Responding to reviews is critical. 86% of people trust online reviews as much as a word of mouth recommendation.
• Unknown website listings are everywhere. Having a tool that can discover where your reputation is being judged means that you can respond to all digital consumers effectively.
• In a small sample survey of Saskatchewan businesses over 70% of businesses have not claimed their Bing listing. This is just one of the major online business listing service.
• Anyone can claim your business listing. You heard it, anyone can claim your listing on various sites be harming your business's reputation.
• Online reviews are easily accessible. The fact that consumers are pressed for time means that most people don’t do a lot of fact-checking. Therefore, managing your online reviews can help those pressed for time to connect with your business instead of your competitors.
• Online reviews can travel at the speed of light. Therefore, monitoring and managing your reputation before something goes viral is critical. Rogue employees can cause significant damage to your reputation unless you respond to them quickly. Reputation damaging reviews from x-employees can be removed from your listing services if done correctly
The benefits of monitoring and managing your ratings and reviews.
• 88% of consumers say that this factors into who they chose as a business.
• Reviews increase brand trust and loyalty.
• Reviews increase your online exposure and your local SEO. The reason for this is simple. Google wants people to have a great experience online. While not specifically stated by Google, we believe in the future online reviews will play a great role in determining who will be on the premium organic positions on Google. Google cares about user experience and as the ability to determine the ultimate user experience, that is the search and completion of a transaction by a user, becomes more scientifically measurable these ratings will influence your position. In other words, Google will put the businesses that provide the best service on the first page.
• It provides a feedback loop for business owners to assess the consumers’ experience. This can reinforce what you are doing right and what you need to change as a business.
Mapping the customer journey/experience
If you are having negative feedback either online or in-person, mapping out the customer journey has saved a number of businesses from failure. If you are interested in improving your customer satisfaction, talk to us we can provide an assessment and the tools to improve your customer satisfaction rating. If you are unsure if you do have a problem, you can look at what we call customer rollover or lost business. If the percentage of lost business is higher than what we consider to be acceptable this is an indicator of a problem.