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“Online Reviews? Researchers Give Them a Low Rating”

“Soothing Ruffled Guests: Hotels Meet Threat of Bad Reviews”

These are just two of the many headlines generated over negative connotations surrounding online reviews during the last two years.

However, no matter the way in which you think of online consumer reviews, they are an essential part of customer feedback. And the consistent and strategic management of online reviews is an important part of reputation management.

The Role of Online Reviews in Reputation Management

Online reviews provide insight into the customer experience and how a customer feels about your business locations. Every reviewer tells a story, and it’s up to you to read their story (their review) to provide answers to questions such as:

  • Who is this customer?
  • Do they like the service?
  • Do they feel there is something missing with the product or service?
  • Are they unhappy with their customer experience?

And it doesn’t stop with just reading and comprehending the review. You have to resolve issues, find brand advocates, and build customer relationships.

This is why companies should have a process in place for managing reviews: online customer feedback is here to stay.

The Internet has become a medium for consumers to express their opinions about a business in communities, such as social media and online review sites. The way in which a business manages and engages with customers on review sites is crucial to the maintenance, or the building, of a positive reputation.

The first step to managing your reviews is to claim your business locations across all review sites. To get started, here’s how to claim your locations on some of the major review sites:

Claim your business on TripAdvisor

One of the key websites to use for reputation management is TripAdvisor. This online review website is the world’s largest travel site. It’s a review website that provides reviews of hotels, restaurants, resorts, and other travel-related businesses.

To claim your business location on TripAdvisor (if you haven’t), follow these steps:

  1. Go to TripAdvisor for Business Page.
  2. Enter your business name and city in the search box. Then select your business from the results that appear.
  3. Once your official business page appears, click “register now.”
  4. Choose from the “Management Center” to select which task you would like to perform. Among others, there’s an option there for monitoring travel reviews.

Claim your business on Google

Another important website to claim for reputation management is Google. The review site that is also a search engine is a great tool for online reputation management.

Here’s how to claim your business on Google:

  1. Visit www.google.com/business and sign in or create a Google account for your business.
  2. Once you have logged in, search by business name and address by typing into the search box. Search results will appear in a list as well as a map, and from the two choices you can choose the business you’d like to claim.
  3. If you can’t find your business, click “Add Your Business” and you can then choose your business type.
  4. Next, you should verify your business. Google will verify the business by sending you a verification code, which will be mailed to you in one to two weeks. Just add that code into your account.

Here are more resources to help you manage your business on Google:

Claim your business on Facebook

Facebook has 1.79 billion monthly users, according to their Q3 quarterly report. Facebook is a great tool to reach your consumers if you use it right.

The first step to effectively using Facebook as part of your company’s reputation management strategy is to set up an account.

Here’s how to set up a Facebook page:

  1. Create a business page from your account.
  2. Choose a category for your business.
  3. Choose a category that is industry-specific.
  4. Add information to your page.

Here are more resources to help you manage your business on Facebook:

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Why Your Industry Should Care About Reputation Management

Finance

In finance, particularly in retail banking, there’s a gap between bank expectations and bank performance.

“U.S. consumers still believe the foundational attributes of banking – safety, security, fairness, reliability and transparency – are the most important,” according to financial technology solutions provider FIS. “Scores of these attributes improved, if only slightly, indicating that banking providers have made modest progress aligning their performance with consumers’ expectations.”

Trust is a major factor in finance. And reputation management is a major part of generating trust with customers, especially when it comes to loans, investments, and bank accounts.

Hospitality

More than 50 percent of travelers made a purchase decision based on online reviews and recommendations in 2016.

A positive online reputation matters. According to a study by researchers at the University of Chicago, demand for hotel services increases by 25 percent when a hotel is rated one star higher on online review websites, which leads to a 9 percent increase in charges.  

Automotive

Automotive is a customer-first industry.

7 out of 10 consumers said online dealer reviews are very or extremely important for online research, according to Cars.com. And 91 percent of consumers rely on reviews when selecting a dealership.

Because of consumers’ reliance on reviews when choosing where to take their business, it’s important to manage reviews and understand customer data to look for ways to improve operations at your automotive dealership or service business.

When a potential customer looks for an automotive dealership online, they will look at your reviews and see what customers have to say. They might ask themselves if the sales representatives explain how to use the technology in the car in-depth, or if the pricing is fair. Or, depending on the dealership, maybe the customer wants to know what the wait for service is like – if there are comfortable chairs, TVs, and refreshments.  

By managing your reputation, you will be able to gather insights into how the customer feels about their experience at your automotive business. With these insights, you’ll be able to improve and maintain the customer experience, which could lead to more reviews that will be seen by potential customers.

Healthcare

Patients look for healthcare providers online. According to Vitals, 85 percent of patients are at least “moderately likely” to choose one doctor instead of another based on high ratings and positive reviews.

When patients start their search for a healthcare provider, you want to make sure they can find one of your hospital locations online. If you manage your reviews across all the sites your healthcare organization is listed, this gives your business a chance to rank higher in SEO.

Reputation management provides potential patients with insights into your healthcare practice. And those insights can help improve operations and the patient experience – both digital and in-person.

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In all industries with location-based businesses, online review management is an essential component to reputation management. While you should monitor all customer feedback, including surveys and social media, reviews are an important part of the customer feedback loop and should be used to their full advantage.

Megan Wenzl

Megan is the Associate Editor for ReviewTrackers. She's a writer who is committed to finding useful information to help your business succeed. Megan holds an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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