Online review management is a vital part of any marketing strategy. It’s one thing to get plenty of online reviews, but you need an effective way to manage them. Managing online reviews means actively monitoring the reviews you receive. Then you have to act upon them accordingly by responding—whether that’s on social media sites, Google reviews, or other business review pages.
When you read through the vast majority of the great reviews you get, you probably feel proud of most of them. When you come across the occasional negative one, you may think “Opps” or “I must change that.” Unfortunately, this is not an effective way to manage your reviews.
This article helps you see why online review management isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Why is Online Review Management Critical?
Online reviews are vital for customers. They allow the reader to see an honest opinion about the services or products you provide. In a world where so much is now online, we tend to trust the opinions of online reviews more than we do our friends and family.
In fact, according to research in the Journal of Customer Behaviour, online reviews have a “significant impact on consumer purchase decision making.” Other studies show that after reading just three reviews, 40 percent of consumers had formed an opinion.
Online reviews are also essential for search engines. The purpose of a search engine is to connect consumers with what they want. The more reviews a company has, the more information a search engine has. This allows the search engine to place the company higher on the search results—essential for your business to get on the first page of Google.
By responding to all reviews, a company increases the customer experience and, therefore, loyalty. This encourages more people to leave reviews and adds to the credibility of your company.
Happy customers and more reviews lead to more visibility, all three of which can lead to increased revenues.
How to Begin Online Review Management
If you haven’t already done so, the first step is to claim your company on Google My Business. But don’t forget other sites such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and sites like Zocdoc and Avvo. Although they have a smaller audience, they are more industry-specific. Once you have set up business profiles, here are some steps to help increase and manage your online reviews.
1. Ask for reviews
Most people are more than happy to take a minute or two to leave a review—if you ask them. Handing out a card with the goods or services is just one way to ask for reviews. Another way to get more reviews is to send out texts or emails.
Whichever method you use, it must be easy for the customer. Anything more than a few clicks, and they might stop halfway through. Make sure to include a link to the review site and avoid third-party sites or pop ups that can lead to frustration. The timing is also crucial. Most marketers agree that the best time to ask for a review is 24-48 hours after a customer has received the product or service.
2. Use your website and social media sites to generate more reviews
Including a “review us” banner on your website is a simple yet effective way for customers to leave their reviews. Just make sure that the link takes them straight to the review site. The latest statistics show that an estimated 3.6 billion people use social media. There is probably no larger audience to ask for a review than platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Twitter.
3. Track your reviews
To effectively use these tools, you need to know which sites are bringing in which reviews. While you may get more reviews from sites like Google and Facebook, you still need to monitor your industry-specific reviews. One of the best ways to track reviews is to set up alerts. That way, you are notified when you get a new review and can act immediately.
4. Respond to every review
Customers have taken time to leave their glowing review, and they are helping your business—so, it’s only fair to thank them. There’s no need to be overly worried about negative reviews. You can leverage negative reviews to your benefit if you respond to them appropriately. When replying to a negative review, you should address the customer’s concern. This can result in them having a higher opinion of your company. In many cases, you can turn them into a happy customer. And, they may be glad to update their review to a positive one which, of course, other readers will see.
When responding to a negative review, be polite and respectful, and apologize. Ensure the customer knows that you have listened to them and that you are taking the necessary steps to fix the issue.
5. Share your reviews
It’s vital that you don’t only share your positive reviews. Sharing some negative reviews allow readers to see the full scope of your customer interaction, and it shows that you are transparent regarding your business. Posting reviews that are only positive can make customers feel suspicious.
To share reviews from Google, choose the reviewer’s name, check the information, click share, and choose where you want to share it.
If your website is a WordPress site, you can install a Google Reviews Widget.
Don’t forget to share your website reviews on other pages. But remember—when sharing reviews, it’s advisable to ask for permission before sharing reviews, particularly if they include photos.
6. Learn from your reviews
Now that you’re getting a ton of reviews using review management software, you need to listen to what people are telling you. For example, could the customer service be improved? Well, provide staff training. If there is a problem with your transport company—address it or consider changing companies. If people continue to see the same negative reviews, it shows that you aren’t taking steps to enhance your service, and people will look elsewhere.
Are You Worried That There Isn’t Enough Time for Online Review Management?
While online review management has enormous benefits, it can be a time-consuming process. That is why Starloop has come up with the perfect solution to manage reviews. Our review management app automates many of the processes connected with online review management—saving you precious time. It sends automated invitations for customers to leave reviews. This process allows you to see the statistics from your reviews and manage your responses–making life far simpler and freeing up your valuable time.
But there’s a bonus—we plant one tree for every review you receive, which your customers will love!