A DIY Guide : 10 Best Practices for Online Reviews Management
How to manage your business reviews and improve your reputation online.
Key takeaways from this guide on Reviews Management System:
- Best practices for managing reviews.
- How to streamline the internal process for reviews management.
Let us share some facts to grab your attention:
- Research has shown that with an increase of just 0.1 in the star rating, conversion rates of a business could increase by 25%.
- Businesses that move from a 3.5 to a 3.7-star rating experience conversion growth of around 120%, the highest percentage growth jump from any star rating.
- Businesses with 4 stars convert more than any other star rating and enterprise businesses and global brands start to outperform SMBs around the 4.4-star rating mark.
- A star rating increase from 3.7 to 4.4 can increase an enterprise location’s conversion rates by 80% and global brands by 120%.
- 95% of customers actually get suspicious of a business rating if there are no negative reviews.
We hope we have your attention now. Let’s move forward.
A Magical Business Strategy
If you come across a magical (yeah!!) business strategy that will infuse confidence in your customers and spark positive engagement to eventually inspire a high level of trust in your brand, would you not grab it with both hands and execute it without even thinking twice?
Time and again, it has been proved that Reviews management is that magical business strategy. We have enough evidence that promoting customer reviews and responding to these reviews appropriately do wonders to your brand reputation.
So, how did “Review” get all this power? This most significant change was brought by one of the latest inventions of technology, smartphones. Smartphone not just opened the bottomless box of knowledge for the consumers, it also gave them the power to express their emotions and feelings through reviews for the services, products they bought. In recent years, consumer behavior has been revolutionized by smartphones and the reviews. Local searches on Google are all time high and customers are using “Near Me” searches to find businesses, stores that offer the best services and products in their local areas.
This is where it becomes more interesting. Reviews play a very important role in the customer journeys by influencing their buying behavior that follows these searches. A whopping 93% of consumers admit that their buying decisions were influenced by the online reviews.
Embrace the “Reviews”
Boosting your customer to share their reviews and embracing them as valuable feedback may seem like a risky strategy as you may anticipate a flood of negative reviews which can be damaging for your business. Your apprehension is understandable, however, not justified.
As already shared in the facts section, 95% of customers will not trust a rating if there are no negative reviews. When negative reviews are managed effectively, these can be transformed into big wins for your business.
Your worries are not baseless considering the peculiarities involved in engaging with customer reviews. Careful planning will be required to overcome the challenges involved in this business strategy, but be rest assured, the end results will be very rewarding.
Best practices for Review Management
Let’s start by learning about the practicalities of review management. We will explore 10 important ways of turning customer reviews to your business’ advantage.
1. Every review matter – Respond to both Good and Bad Reviews
Positive reviews encourage us, but negative reviews help us improve. Ignoring negative reviews can have severe repercussions. The best thing to do is to engage in the conversation. If you engage in a professional manner and respond well to a negative review, it can work strongly in your brand’s favour. A study conducted by ZenBusiness showed that 34% of customers in their twenties are willing to upgrade a bad review and around 27% will remove the bad review altogether if they get a personalised response from the business.
2. Increase response rates to increase your conversion rates:
Your reviews are the most powerful selling tool. A survey confirmed that businesses who reply to 32% of reviews attain 80% higher conversion rate as compared to the businesses who reply to 10% of reviews. It is evident that customer engagement can seriously affect your bottom line. Not only it represents you as a mature business, but it also influences customers’ buying decisions and increases lifetime value (LTV) of the customers. So, make sure you strive for maximum response rate.
3. Rome was not built in a day – Be patient and keep nurturing your stars
Easier said than done but this is the reality, and you will have to face it. You will have to put in time and efforts to grow your stars. Slowly and steadily, you will start getting good results. Matter of fact is that even a small increase in your star rating can massively improve the conversion rate. As a study has shown, an improvement from 3.5–3.7 stars can result in a conversion rate rise of as much as 120%. However, the only way to increase your star rating is by maximizing your response rate, customer engagement.
4. Your brand’s characteristics define you, stick to them no matter what
While responding to a negative review, you may be tempted to become defensive and drift away from your brand’s tone and characteristics, just make sure you don’t. The team members responsible for responding to customers’ reviews should be well trained and fully equipped with appropriate resources to guide their communication, writing style and enable them to deal with unfavourable situations. Your brand is everything for you so your brand identity and values should always be the guiding star for your team members.
5. Welcome back, dear customer – Encourage repeat visits
It is evident that acquisition cost of a new customer is much more than keeping an existing one. If we go by stats, a new customer’s acquisition can cost up to 25 times more than you spend on keeping an existing customer. So, you don’t require rocket science to understand that spending time with your existing customers to nurture the relationships is far more beneficial than going out and finding new ones. This also stands true for those customers who had a bad experience with your business and have gone away.
For such customers who left negative reviews for your business, the very first thing to do is to acknowledge their complaint in a sincere manner. By showing good intentions and connecting emotionally with such customers, you will get an opportunity to win their trust back. Offer them a discount or an in-store deal, or a no-question-asked return, so that they feel valued. Such gestures will go a long way in establishing good customer relationships.
Not just the negative reviews should get your attention, customers who leave positive reviews should be given equal attention. You have already won their trust, now it is the time to earn their loyalty. A discount offer, or an exclusive information about an upcoming sale will not just make them happy but will also help in establishing a long-lasting relationship.
Remember, it is not a one-time activity, rather is an on-going process which will help your business tremendously.
6. Relationship building should take the front seat
Many customers will share their resentment about a new purchase in a review, rather than going through the grievance redressal procedure setup by your business. You can always surprise them with a personal response to such negative reviews as they may not be expecting a response from a brand as most of them would only expect a response to a formal complaint filed with the brand’s grievance redressal department.
Take such reviews on a priority basis, make sure your response conveys regret, empathy, and a genuine intent to make things better.
Such personal and direct response to an unhappy customer makes it a great customer retention tool. Of course, the rest of the communication can be shifted to phone or email to give it a personal touch.
7. Customer profiling – How well do you know your customers?
Customers leave a lot of information about themselves in their reviews; therefore, reviews can be used as a great resource to paint a picture of customers’ expectations, thought process, and what really makes them tick.
Businesses should develop a strategy for gathering this important information from review sites. This information will give you a good idea of your customers’ reaction to your business; what they really like about your business, what they value the most and what are their pain points as well. This will also help in generating different profiles of the customers, which eventually will help you to customize your responses to reviews and reactions of the customers.
8. Detect problems early before they affect the whole company
Reviews management will not just tell you about your customers, it will also help in finding out the situations/challenges at the local level in your company. If you find a problem occurring time and again at one of your business locations, you may be able to detect the problem and deal with it before it becomes a challenge for the whole company. Because online reviews focus on the local and personal experiences, they can work as an early-warning system for you.
In a reverse situation, if reviews tell you about something good happening at a local level, the learnings of such a scenario can be applied to the other locations to improve brand reputation, revenue as well as customer satisfaction.
9. Protect your brand image
Protecting your brand image is one of the most important tasks and brands need to ensure that their brand identity is not in danger in any way, either through the misconceptions of the customer or due to any activity of the people working within the organization. Any potential information that may damage the company’s identity should be dealt with a quick and appropriate response. This is different from handling negative reviews posted by individuals about their poor buying experience.
Some of these reviews could be because of an individual’s own myths and misconceptions. Others could be fake reviews prompted by hatred or jealousy and such reviewers may never get along no matter what you do. But some of these reviews could in fact be serious complaints and should be handled promptly and carefully. Recognizing these cases and dealing with them would require clearly stated, well documented procedures. Specialized team members should be handling this task and they must be well trained to be able to use these procedures efficiently. Escalation process should also be included in these procedures.
10. Don’t forget SEO – It is always your best friend.
Your brand’s online presence and positioning in the search results is equally important for the success of your business. Businesses interested in winning on “Near Me” searches will get great benefits if they get a position on Google’s “Local 3-Pack” – i.e., the top three positions of the local searches. This will immensely increase the chances of customers clicking on your business listing and eventually visiting a physical store of your business.
It should be noted that Google tracks reviews of businesses and will position them accordingly on the search results along with many additional factors. This doesn’t mean you should start posting/getting fake positive reviews as Google also tracks the abnormal patterns and any suspicious activity may adversely affect your ranking in the search results.
How to streamline internal process for Reviews Management
Reviews management may seem like a big task but by streamlining your internal processes, careful planning, and setting up well documented procedures will make sure that you run this process smoothly. Here is a list of important tasks to prepare for this process:
Building a Team
It is important to put a dedicated team in place for this process. Identify the members who will be part of this team and assign them clearly defined roles to handle different aspects of this process.
Identify the territory
Analyze the reviews sites where customers are most likely to leave a review for your business and products and start monitoring them closely.
Discover your tone
A guide should be put in place describing how your brand should sound when it communicates with the customers and share this guide with the team members responsible for communication with the customers. Team members should be well versed with this guide and follow it completely.
Clearly defined processes should be created so that Analysis, writing, editing, and publishing tasks happen in a sequence which every team member is totally aware of. This will help in building an effective review response.
Time and activity tracking should be in place
It is important to put human or technology resources in place to ensure a timely response to customers’ reviews. This timeline should be clearly defined (8 Hours – 24 hours). Putting such measures in place will ensure that conversations don’t fall through the cracks.
Define your mission
A well-documented, clear mission statement will help your team understand the importance of clear and precise communication as well as focus on your brand’s identity and converse with its characteristic tone.
Go by the Rules
At what point of time in a conversation, team member should escalate the matter to the senior members? What solution can be offered? Can a discount or a freebie be offered? Setting up clear rules for such scenarios will truly help your team to win a situation.
Documentation is important
You should have an easy way to document the issues raised in the reviews. An analytical model should also be placed for spotting certain patterns. This model will help in finding root causes of customers’ grievances and will also help in raising customer satisfaction level.
Focus on future advancements
While setting up a reviews management system, stakeholders should agree on the regular opportunities they will have to discuss the possible improvements in the reviews management process and strategies.
Most importantly – Reporting
Clearly define the key performance indicators (KPIs) like reply rate, average rating, number of reviews, etc. which should present the success/failure of the process. This is important for the business to measure the ROI (tangible/intangible) of the reviews management system.
By following this guide, you will not just win over your customers and increase customer satisfaction level, you will also be able to increase your business revenue through customer retention. Setting up reviews management process can be very simple as well as very complicated depending upon the size of your organization. So, if you find it difficult to handle it on your own, seek experts’ guidance.
Most importantly, enjoy the process and learnings you will get from this customer engagement and reviews management process, these learnings will help your business tremendously.
In case you need a company to handle this reviews management process for your organization, feel free to contact us and our experts will guide you throughout this process.