Here’s How a Smart Reputation Management Strategy Can Build a Winning and Trustworthy Brand Image

February 27, 2015

45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviews

Online Reviews Survey

Here’s How a Smart Reputation Management Strategy Can Build a Winning and Trustworthy Brand Image

When it comes to building a brand, the most essential element is trust.

In fact, brand loyalty, for most consumer goods, is principally rooted in a customer’s conviction of reliability. The very nature of a brand is based on its ability to build affinity paired with credibility in the heart, mind, and wallet of a customer. Until just a few years ago, this was achieved through slowly building a brand persona and reputation via word of mouth.

Believe it or not, negative reviews can help bolster your brand credibility. Here’s how.

Expanding as a brand was generally a slow process at which very few businesses succeeded. Nowadays, even small brands have the potential of quickly growing as a brand through leveraging online customer opinions voiced in popular review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook, among others. These types of interactions have democratized access to global audiences, giving a fighting chance to small businesses with big ideas when it comes to building their brand through trust.

If you are hoping to build your brand and reach more customers in your community and beyond, then let us show you how reputation management can play a big role in brand cohesiveness, messaging and, most importantly, trust.

Build Trust by Constructing Consistent Profiles Across All Review Sites

A good starting point for building a trustworthy brand is to work on having clear and consistent messaging across all your review site profiles. Depending on your niche, this may include operational details such as hours of operation, most updated menus, carefully drafted descriptions of your guest rooms, or expanded descriptions of the services you offer.

Additionally, ensuring addresses, phone numbers, and emails are accurate may mean the difference between a seamless customer experience and a frustrated first-time customer. To get started with your review site profiles, follow these steps:

  • Identify which customer review sites are most relevant for your industry.
  • Take ownership of your review profiles.
  • Create standard descriptions to syndicate across all review sites.
  • Validate existing information such as address, phone number, and business hours.

Check out: Top 9 Reasons to Claim Your Business Listings and Review Site Pages 

Build Trust by Engaging with Reviewers

The next step after claiming your profiles and ensuring your message is consistent is to put a plan together designed to monitor the frequency, content, and nature of your reviews, and engage with your reviewers as needed.

Responding to online reviews is not only a good move in terms of customer retention, but it is also a fantastic way to communicate customer commitment to shoppers browsing your profile and considering doing business with you for the first time. Responses to both positive and negative reviews can boost your credibility and serve as a means to connect with your customers. Many studies point to responses to negative reviews as the trigger for second chances, and the foundation for increased customer loyalty.

Be ready to back up your responses with action by delivering as promised and providing remedy and/or compensation to the reviewer, when applicable. Also, make changes to your business to ensure the customer experience is continually improving based on review feedback. In addition to all of this don’t forget the importance of professionalism and take time to make sure your review responses are grammatically correct, brand-aligned and customer-focused.

Build Trust by Being a Problem-Solver

The bulk of negative reviews are the result of customer complaints that were met with indifference. Differentiate your brand by being a problem-solver at every stage of the transaction cycle.

First, build trust by handling situations on the spot, to avoid the possibility of triggering a negative review that could tarnish your online profiles. Proactive management, customer satisfaction guarantees, and implementation of programs that include managers on duty or brand ombudsmen are just some of the possibilities when it comes to nipping customer escalations in the bud.

Even with the best processes in place, some issues will go unresolved, and you won’t find out until you read the negative review voicing the concern of your customer. When you encounter a negative review, spring into action immediately. Consider implementing a rapid response strategy and provide a management response that seeks to provide remedy for the issues at hand. A simple “we are sorry” without an invitation to try you again or appropriate compensation will simply not suffice. Your goal should always be to add to the credibility of your brand and restore trust.

Build Trust by Aligning Products and Services with Expectations

Your customer reviews are not only a great resource for mining business intelligence. They are also the best reality check when it comes to defining who you are as a business, as perceived by your customers.

Spend time studying what your customers love the best about your business, and identifying pain points. Use the data to shape your marketing material in a way that emphasizes your strengths, as perceived by your most loyal customers, while simultaneously using customers’ feedback to find ways to correct problem areas. A trustworthy business is one where customers are voicing their delight by having engaged with an organization that delivers far more than what they promise. 

Build Trust by Executing Promos That Prioritize Customer Experience

A promo gone wrong can significantly impact the reputation and credibility of a business. If you plan to roll a promo or special, whether your goal is to increase brand awareness or increase profits, then never forget that customer experience is first and foremost.

If you are strategic in how you draft your promo, then you will be rewarded with customers whose increased perception of value triggered by the promo makes them far more likely to submit a great online review.

Managing your online reputation by using the right tools and combining them with best industry practices is the most reliable way to boost your trustworthiness and build a winning brand image. Grab the bull by the horns and start doing what it takes to help your business thrive – online and offline.

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