6 Tips to Build a Strong Online Reputation
1. Collect Reviews from Past Customers Intelligently
This is an easy first step if you don’t have many reviews. Start by sending an email blast to past customers to ask for their feedback. Don’t be afraid of bad reviews. One way to separate good feedback from bad is with different links in your email: If customers had a positive experience with your business give them a link to a review site; if they had a bad experience, offer a link to your own feedback form so you can capture and address their concern before it’s posted on a public review site.
2. Automate the Capture of Future Reviews
Going forward you want to continue to solicit reviews from as many customers as possible. The best way to automate this process is to include a request for feedback and a link to a reviews site with every customer touch point: invoices, newsletters, email signatures, thank-you notes or any contacts you have with customers.
3. Capture Face-To-Face Reviews through testimonials
If you regularly visit clients’ homes (such as a home services provider), if they often visit your office, or even if you connect with them on the phone, don’t miss an opportunity to ask for reviews. Customers are much more likely to say yes, and provide positive feedback, when you ask them face-to-face. Be ready to capture their review on the spot; for instance, you could have an iPad or kiosk set up with a feedback form for them to use. We could also schedule filmed testimonials for your business to show credibility for feedback on your social media.
4. Read, Reply & Learn from All Reviews
Make sure to read and reply to all reviews—good and bad. For good reviews, a simple “thanks” is often enough. Bad reviews deserve a more thoughtful and thorough response; just don’t get combative or defensive. Your replies are important because prospects will not only see your customers’ reviews, they will see your side of the story as well, showing that you’re professional and attentive even when you get negative feedback. Your responses to reviews will also build more content around your business, helping to boost your online reputation.
5. Satisfy the Customer & Ask for a New Review
I know you’re busy—every small business owner is trying to keep 1 million balls in the air—but you need to find time for this. Make it priority to quickly respond to negative reviews, address the customer’s concern, and then, when you’ve won them over, ask them to revise their review (or post a new one). If you don’t have time to manage your online reputation, assign a team member to take charge; if you don’t staff support, it’s worth hiring an outside service to handle reviews for you. If you are busy Next Level 24/7 has an excellent reputation management service.
6. Challenge Fake & Competitor Reviews
Your competitors are going to see the work you’re putting into buil
ding your online reputation. Less scrupulous operators may try to derail your efforts with negative reviews. You want to do everything you can to report and remove fake and anonymous reviews. Many review sites have a process where you can dispute a review and ask for it to be removed. But if you can’t have it removed, don’t worry—you can always bury the fake review under lots of real reviews. It’s another reason to make it an ongoing priority to solicit reviews from your satisfied customers.
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