Companies of every size and across every industry or business category can benefit from online reputation management services.
This couldn’t be more true in today’s age, when consumers make purchase decisions based on your online reputation, more so than on your advertising, direct sales messages, pricing, or branded promotional content.
If your business performance hasn’t quite matched your own expectations, it may be useful to check up on your online reputation and understand what consumers are saying about — as well as how they perceive — your brand, product, or service.
Here are four telltale signs your business critically needs online reputation management services:
Sign 1: You’re getting negative online reviews and low ratings.
Online reviews and ratings on websites like Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, and Facebook are the new “social proof,” influencing people’s decisions on what to buy, where to go, how to behave, and what to say.
- According to the 2017 Local Search and Online Reviews Survey, over 50 percent of consumers often or always check out online reviews, while only 34 percent seek out information on discounts and pricing.
- The survey also found that 69.9 percent of consumers read reviews in the beginning of and during the research phase, when they start to gather information (discovery) and when they make a list of options (comparison).
Make no mistake: online reviews and ratings can make or break your company’s online reputation. This in turn will have a direct impact on your revenue. (There is even a research study that found a way to predict, based on poor reviews and ratings, when a restaurant might shut down.)
So if your customers are rating your business poorly and leaving negative customer feedback on online review sites, take it as a sign that you probably need to focus your investment priorities on review management tactics and online reputation management services.
Sign 2: Your performance based on conversion metrics is lousy.
Measuring and analyzing your online reputation based on key metrics can be a challenge, but it’s worth paying closer attention to how your company is converting potential customers into actual ones.
Digital marketing tactics, search engine optimization, and social media marketing can help improve your online visibility and generate buzz around your business, but your online reputation will determine whether or not this buzz translates into sales.
If few are converting, it’s likely that consumers’ perception of your company is driving people away instead of attracting them.
Traffic sources, site and page visits, interactions per visit, goal conversions, bounce rate, and cost per conversion are some of the metrics that can help you achieve a better understanding of your reputation. By going deeper into these types of data, you can find out if you urgently need online reputation management services.
Sign 3: Customer sentiment about your business is trending negatively.
What are people saying about your company? What do they really mean when they write their thoughts in their own words? When they post reviews of your business or talk about you on social media, are they using words with positive or negative sentiment scores (“delicious,” “wonderful,” “amazing,” vs. “poor service,” “dirty,” “slow”)?
Analyzing free-form customer feedback in order to extract sentiment data is another way to tell whether your online reputation is flourishing or floundering.
But how do you analyze customer feedback and determine customer sentiment about your business? This is where text analytics and sentiment analysis — features offered by the next generation of online reputation management services — can help.
- Text analytics describes a set of linguistic, statistical, and machine learning techniques that model and structure textual information — in this case, text coming directly from your customers — for business intelligence, research, or investigation.
- Sentiment analysis is usually part of a larger text analytics effort, and involves analyzing subjective material and extracting various forms of attitudinal information, such as sentiment, opinion, mood, and emotion.
Understanding sentiment not only helps your company identify topics and issues that customers mention organically, without prompting; it also provides the information you need to make timely and correct adjustments to the customer experience, in ways that protect and strengthen your online reputation.
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Sign 4: You have more Detractors than Promoters.
One of the most important considerations your business should make is how you will identify which customers are happy and satisfied with their experience — and therefore likely to help build up your online reputation — versus which ones aren’t.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a widely used management tool for companies looking to gauge customer loyalty. Using NPS in a survey means asking the question, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this business?”
The results let you categorize respondents into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. To calculate your Net Promoter Score, simply subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.
- Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will help fuel your growth by buying and referring other customers to your business.
- Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied customers, but their lack of enthusiasm may render them vulnerable to offerings from your competition.
- Detractors (score 0-6) are dissatisfied, unhappy customers who may impede your growth and spread negative word of mouth.
In the context of your online reputation management strategy, the NPS methodology enables you to leverage an important business metric as part of your reputation checkup. NPS can also support your goals by delivering actionable customer insights that can be shared with executives across all levels of your organization, as well as with your online reputation management services provider.
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