How to scale reputation management
Reputation Management has been a hot topic in the last year or so, from the lens of local search, it is both tracking and responding to the different online reviews that are left for each location of a brand. When it comes to the response, 75% of businesses don’t respond at all yet people spend 49% more money with business that respond to reviews. This means that reputation management—the process of actively shaping the public’s perception of your client’s brand and managing your online reputation—is a crucial aspect of any brand’s marketing strategy.
In today’s digital age, where consumers have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips, reputation management has become increasingly important for brands to have success in the marketplace. Reputation needs to be managed right down to the location level, presenting a major operational hurdle for most large brands.
Scaling reputation management
Scaling reputation management down to the location level can be a major challenge for brands. Here are a few of the main issues that companies often face when trying to manage their reputation on a larger scale:
1. Managing Multiple Online Platforms
As we become more and more digitized, the number of places online a brand exists only gets larger. These include social media, review websites, different mapping sites, and industry-specific directories. Keeping track of and actively managing all of these different platforms can be a daunting task and can often require brands to hire an entire new team or department (depending on number of locations). It is important for brands to have a clear strategy in place for each platform, as well as the resources necessary to implement that strategy. This should include using software to track, provide analytics, and allow for action to be taken (such as responding to reviews) within the software.
2. Responding to customer reviews
It is inevitable that business will receive numerous customer reviews, both negative and positive, and the volume will increase depending on vertical (some QSRs already receive hundreds of reviews each day across their location footprint). In today’s world responses to these reviews are expected with 50% of customers expecting a response and 13% of customers felt that restaurants (QSRs included) don’t even read the reviews. Appropriately responding to each of these within the expected 48 hours can be a major challenge, especially if a company is not adequately staffed to handle the volume. The solution to this problem should include using software and automation to streamline the response process, allowing for the available human resources to focus on major reputation threats.
3. Dealing with negative reviews
No brand is immune to negative reviews or criticism, but as a company grows, the number of negative reviews online is likely to increase. It is important for brands and their agencies to have a plan in place for dealing with negative feedback. This plan should include both responding to the criticism and finding ways to address the underlying issue, assuming there is one.
Some negative reviews are people complaining simply because they can, yet these reviews still need responses: 89% of reviewers said a thoughtful response improved their impression of the brand. The response shows the public, and the reviewer, that this brand is concerned about “customer issues” and this both available and willing to address these issues.
It is important that the response is timely (within 48 hours of the review being posted) and that the brand does not get “into the weeds” of the issue in the response. This response should address the issue and provide a separate channel for the individual to follow up with. From here you will be able to get into the details of what happened and solve the problem. This can often lead to the reviewer going back and changing the start rating to a positive one.
4. Maintaining consistency
As a brand grows and expands in the digital landscape, it is important to maintain consistency in messaging and branding across all online platforms. This can be difficult to achieve, especially if the brand is decentralized, meaning each location has some autonomy over how they market themselves (for example, insurance agents) or if different departments are responsible for managing different platforms. It is important for brands to have clear guidelines in place for messaging and branding, and to ensure that all employees and partners are adhering to these guidelines. The easiest way to do this is to use software that allows you to bring data from all the different platforms into one place, where you can manage and control the content that goes out as well as track the reviews that come in.
In conclusion, reputation management is essential for any brand looking to succeed in today’s digital landscape. However, scaling reputation management can be a major challenge, as it requires managing multiple online platforms, responding to customer reviews at the location level, dealing with negative reviews, and maintaining consistency in messaging and branding. By looking at these challenges and understanding the best practices, brands can work with their agency partners and deploy software to truly scale their reputation management efforts in a way that reaps the most benefits to the brand.