Recently, as we ran some data analysis across many popular businesses, we noticed that there were peaks and valleys associated with the scores and tone of customer-generated online reviews.
In a perfect world, we would love to see your reputation in a constant rise. Once a five-star score is achieved, we would love it if it remained steady, with gains in overall review volume, but that does not seem to be the case.
Grab a notepad and join us as we explore why businesses with stellar online reputation are at risk of sliding down in rank, star rating and, consequently, revenue directly attributed to review site leads.
Past Performance Does Not Guarantee Future Results
Novices and experienced business owners alike seem to make this mistake quite often. When it comes to delivering excellence in service and quality where products are concerned, you can’t rely on past performance.
In order to maintain a highly regarded online and offline reputation, there must be organizational commitment to ensure that each day starts afresh, with a renewed focused on delivery. Be clear in setting operational and customer-satisfaction goals, and work with your team in ensuring everyone is on board. Use examples from prior reviews to illustrate the types of experiences that garner five-star ratings, and hold everyone in your team accountable to it.
Just because you had great reviews last week, there is no guarantee that this week the same will happen unless you reinforce standards and motivate everyone involved in delivering the customer experience. Consider hosting shift scrums, and rewarding your employees for superior performance as measured by third-party online reviews.
Great Reputation Managers Read Between the Lines
So the great reviews are rolling in, and you are super thrilled about it: so thrilled you are not reading the whole review as long as it has a five-star score. This mistake can be fatal to the development of your business, and it may also impact how the reviewer perceives the value of his or her engagement with your business.
Plenty of five-star reviews contain ideas, constructive criticism, and tips aimed at improving what you are presently doing. A reviewer who has given you a five-star review is your best ally when it comes to product development. He or she is highly likely to do repeat business with you, especially if you show appreciation and proactively use the feedback as a tool for optimizing the way you do business.
Don’t Be Blinded by the Glow of Great Reviews
Complacency can and will kill your business. Even if you have a ton of advocates raving about your business and products, believe us: there is always room for improvement.
As a leader, it is your job to see beyond the great reviews and identify areas of opportunity that may provide your current and future customers an even better experience. You know your business best, and you are close enough to see and fix the snags before someone discovers them and provides online feedback.
Don’t Let Pride Get the Best of You: Engage with Those Who Rave About You
So you rock and you know it. Entitlement and pride are never part of a long-term, loyalty-building reputation management strategy. Great reviews should be automatic triggers for great responses that reflect gratitude and attention to detail.
When you respond to a great rave, you are reaffirming your direct relationship with the reviewer, while speaking to a wider audience of potential customers. Managing your reputation is not just about coming to the defense of your business and providing remedy when things go wrong. Great reputation managers take the time to engage and possibly befriend reviewers. Knowing that they are a brand advocate is one of the most valuable assets for any business, regardless of size.
Set time aside to learn and implement best practices related to crafting winning review responses for positive reviews. Making positive reviews an integral part of your response strategy can give your organization a great competitive edge in the areas of customer satisfaction as well as search engine optimization.
Innovate: Tried and True Get Old, Too
This, my friends, is possibly the best piece of advice we can give you as it relates to maintaining a flawless online reputation. Don’t rest on old laurels. Just because a certain dish, a certain style of room décor, or a particular carpet-cleaning process is hitting the spot and resulting in superb consumer reviews, it does not mean you must always go for tried and true.
Imagine, for a moment, a hotel with rave reviews about offering great and free Internet. Those staying at the property have nothing but good things to say about this perk, and the good reviews keep rolling in. Not so suddenly, the snowball of great reviews comes to a halt, and now negative reviews are rolling in about the free Internet. Trusting that they had their act together, the hotel allowed for years to go by without upgrading their connectivity, and now what once was the trigger for great reviews is the very reason for customer dissatisfaction.
Manage business like a visionary: always on your toes and looking for the next best thing. Learn from your competitors’ best reviews, and find ways to do what you are doing in a better, more updated way.
Managing online reviews should not be a reflex reaction to negative activity. Instead, great managers are those that can grab the ball and run with it, using every single review as a brick toward building an ever-improving business.