There is a significant gap between managing your online reputation and having a well-managed online reputation. Many businesses have a vague understanding of the importance of online engagement, and to that end, they make poorly coordinated attempts to engage without taking a disciplined, intentional, and comprehensive approach to their online reputation management.
Then there are the few reputation management experts that have, through careful research and consistent implementation, achieved superstar status. These organizations have tackled key aspects of their reputation management with a hands-on customer orientation, and you can do it, too. Let’s take a look at the top ten key indicators of a well-managed online reputation.
1. Upward Trend in Star Ratings
A well-managed reputation will, without question, influence corporate culture by creating a feedback loop aimed at understanding what causes customer dissatisfaction, as well as taking steps toward refining products and processes to best meet customer expectations.
Within a few months of having a hands-on, comprehensive reputation management program in place, businesses will likely see an upward trend in the overall numeric score achieved in each review and through averages of their accrued reviews. Businesses that, in the past, had struggled with a star rating of three stars or less will likely move to the top 30 percentile for their category. Keep in mind that increased star ratings average has a direct correlation to conversion and sales according to Harvard Professor Michael Lucca.
2. Increased Review Quantity and Quality
In addition to increased numeric scores, receiving more reviews quicker is indeed an indicator of effective and customer-centric online reputation management. Great reputation managers will use online and offline means to encourage customer reviews and will take steps to have the buy-in of all corporate team members in a collective effort for brand excellence.
3. Diversification Across Many Review Sites
If your engagement is heading in the right direction, then you will begin to see social and review signals crop up across a variety of review sites. No longer will your reviewers be limited to the top two or three websites, but instead, your business will begin having presence across a multitude of specialized review websites, such as local pages and social engagement pages like Facebook, Google, and Foursquare.
4. More Narrative Experiential Reviews
One sure sign that you and your team are guiding your business reputation in the right direction is an increase in narrative reviews that go beyond a couple of sentences. When reviewers provide text-rich reviews that highlight what makes your products and services unique, and provide the readers with a means of visualizing their experience, you can give yourself a pat on the back.
Longer, highly scored reviews are a definite indicator of a well-guided online reputation. As a side note, if you do receive long and detailed reviews, then make sure your responses are equally thoughtful.
5. Timely Management of Review-Based Escalations
A healthy and well-managed online reputation is evident by the dynamic nature of its online engagement. Superstar reputation managers are known for their ability to monitor their reviews in real time, and respond to issues with a sense of urgency and heart for empathic customer-focused responses and remedies.
6. Reputation as a Corporate Asset
Businesses with a great online reputation do not take the management of their reviews as an afterthought. Instead, everyone within the organization understands the value of good associations when it comes to your brand. Organizations that are able to see the value of their online reputation are willing to make investments of both time and money to improve the way people perceive and speak about their brand, with the confidence that a strong online reputation will result in incremental business and sustained growth.
7. Resolution-Driven and Personalized Responses
Personalized, resolution-driven responses are a great barometer by which to measure the commitment of a business organization toward having a superior online reputation. Their responses are not one-size-fits-all, copy-and-paste solutions. Each customer receives attention that is adequate to the nature of his or her compliment or complaint.
Essentially, a great reputation manager does not see reviewers and review sites as a collective but is able to focus on each individual customer and see the potential long-term value in each customer engagement. In addition to customer focus, a great reputation manager is careful about protecting his or her brand by practicing good writing habits that take into account cultural nuances, branded terms, and grammatical accuracy.
8. Increased Lead Generation
The ultimate goal of reputation management as part of the overall marketing strategy is to create an environment that is conducive to business growth and increased revenue. A good online reputation is always evidenced by an increased number of leads originating from key review sites. This can be tracked through using Google analytics or directly on some of the review sites by using their business interface. Yelp is a great example when it comes to lead attribution. Take a moment to learn how to use their internal tools to measure leads generated through their website.
9. Understanding of Key Pain Points
This cannot be overemphasized. A well-managed online reputation rests on the ability of a business to learn from its mistakes and make improvements with the end goal of delivering seamless and memorable services. A great indicator of a smartly managed online reputation is the absence of repeat issues after a customer has raised specific concerns. Seek to tailor your experiences in such a way that pain points are removed and future customers never have to face experiences already reported to your organization via an online review. A great reputation manager is one that learns from the past and moves toward the future with a vision for change.
10. Smart Tools to Track, Analyze, and Manage Online Reviews and Trends
Online reputation management is just a part of the overall marketing strategy. As such, it is important to be efficient and intentional in the way you manage incoming feedback. Having the right tools in place can significantly reduce the margin of error and provide a more comprehensive view of the overall trends impacting the reputation of a business. If your business has not yet implemented monitoring tools for your online reviews, then make it a point to start tracking and monitoring today. The right tools will not only save you time, they will also equip you with the right metrics to understand what it takes to move to the next level.