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Brand Reputation: Customer Success at Scale

February 08, 2017

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Enterprise-sized organizations have unique challenges when managing their brand reputation.

It’s a challenge for every business, really.

While the strategies may be centralized, and KPIs (as well as budgets associated with marketing) are shared across all locations of the business, the diversity of each, with their own service offerings and segmentations, create unique demands for those tasked with managing the online and offline brand reputation at scale.

We recently had our intern try her hand at managing the online reputation of 51 CarMax locations. It didn’t go so well.

Additionally, goals may not align due to lack of visibility and sheer size of the organization, often resulting in disjointed efforts that impact the way customers perceive the brand.

This results in negative customer feedback conveyed via user-generated reviews on online review sites, and other online mediums of social media. At the same time, enterprise organizations are held to a higher standard, with customers expecting consistency across the board, as well as fast and seamless resolutions to their concerns and escalations.

Key Practices: Brand Reputation Management 

If you are tasked with the management of the online (and offline) brand reputation of an enterprise-size business organization, you may feel like the task ahead is colossal and some of the barriers before you insurmountable.

Fortunately, due to advances in technology and a better grasp of the needs and wants of customers resulting from the effective use of data-driven business intelligence, the reality is quite different.

Reputation managers simply have to adhere to key business principles and pair them with the best review management tools in order to gain control of the brand reputation of the organization they represent, and begin generating incremental business as a result of increased online visibility and enhanced brand perception.

Let’s review some of the key business practices that can catapult each individual business unit, and the enterprise as a whole, to a position of brand-reputation-domination.

Select Scalable Reputation Management Tools

Creating a functional reputation management strategy at enterprise level is all about having the ability to see the big picture and take laser-focused action when needed.

Select tools that allow for unit-specific management, while providing you access to brand-wide data that can be combined to better understand trends.

Make certain all your reputation and review management tools can be consolidated and quickly expanded to address growth, should the business be faced with the need to make operational cuts.

Enterprise-Level Brand Reputation and Review Management: Getting Started

Centralize Data and Analytics

User-generated content and social media signals provides your business organization with a variety of insights that can potentially equip you to make smarter business decisions by remaining customer-centric, and making data-driven decisions instead of gambling with the direction of your organization.

Centralization of data and analytics will help you identify issues in areas such as personnel, pricing, product development, promo effectiveness, and regional variances.

The data collected is useful in making brand-wide strategic moves as well as isolating exceptions by locale. Enterprise organizations cannot afford to have isolated reputation management efforts, with practices that are obscure to those at headquarters. Holistic access to data is essential for the sustainability of your reputation-management strategy.

Empower Individual Units to Resolve Unit-Specific Escalations

While visibility and centralization are essential to the success of an enterprise reputation management strategy, empowerment at unit level is a must.

Your business unit needs to be equipped and empowered to quickly identify and resolve customer escalations communicated via reviews and social sites.

Quick resolution at unit level can reduce the impact of a negative experience, and minimize the potential of a negative narrative going viral. You need to invest in creating a culture of empowerment that is focused on taking care of customers, with a sense of ownership and immediacy.

Getting Negative Reviews from Ex-Employees and Competitors? Lessons in Brand Reputation and Review Management

Create and Maintain Communication and Brand Standards for Cohesiveness

Unit-specific empowerment to tackle customer concerns quickly is essential, but not at the expense of inconsistencies that may diminish the brand strength.

Enterprise reputation management must be subject to brand standards related to communication style, response time, remedies, compensation, and other aspects of the customer-facing experience. Brand standards can empower local leaders to make quick and accurate decisions that adhere to the values and mission of the corporation.

Enterprise-Level Brand Reputation and Review Management: Getting Started

Practice Agile Downstream and Upstream Communications

Expedient communication, both downstream and upstream, is an essential element of enterprise reputation management strategy.

For example, if a local branch has a customer service challenge that has resulted in a highly negative review, then informing all other branches will equip them to avoid repeat instances and to better manage issue-specific customer concerns.

Effective downstream and upstream communication is useful to convey concerns, but it is also very powerful when communicating positive trends. Communicating positive trends as conveyed in customer opinion is healthy for brand-wide morale and can equip everyone to duplicate the behavior, helping shape a culture of excellence across all business units.

Track Regional Competitors and Revise Reputation Strategy Based on Local Needs

There is no question that enterprise organizations must have brand-wide standards when dealing with reputation-related issues; however, when it comes to strategy, there must be some space for localization.

Tracking individual unit performance and conducting geographically-based, competitive analysis will equip your enterprise to make unit or region-specific revisions to strategy that will help optimize performance at a local level, without having to change processes or strategies at locales that may not necessarily benefit from the change.

Success is all about balancing brand-wide needs at a national or global level, while allowing space for individual units to make autonomous business decisions in response to local needs. When company-wide discipline and flexibility work side-by-side to deliver a seamless customer-centric experience, organizations will have achieved a sustainable brand reputation management strategy.

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