Online Reputation Management Tips: Beyond Customer Service…and onto Facilities and Products

May 08, 2015

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

Online Reviews Survey

Reputation Management

One of the key aspects of reputation management that we here at ReviewTrackers continue to stress to all of our clients and partners, regardless of size, is the importance of having a holistic reputation strategy.

Holistic reputation management seeks to cover all bases, ensuring that enterprises are going beyond visibility and analysis and are taking the necessary steps to make corrections to any aspect of the customer experience that might be hindering the perception of the business organization.

Most organizations place emphasis on customer service as the key to making corrections to reputation-related issues, such as poor online reviews. There is no denying that customer service does indeed hold an important place in terms of the development of a strong online reputation, but to truly deliver superior experiences, companies need to go beyond service.

In assessing a large sample of reviews and customer feedback across a variety of industries, we have identified two elements of the overall customer experience that have nothing to do with human resources or training and everything to do with results: facilities and products.

Join us as we explore how facilities and products can impact your online and offline reputation, and how you can use business intelligence, available through online review analysis to make things right.

Identify and Corroborate Product Issues Against Sales Reports

Even when you have tenured staff and seamless processes, on occasion customer dissatisfaction is related to product misalignment.

Having access to a large sample of reviews allows you to track and document trends associated with product concerns. Depending on your industry, you should be able to corroborate escalations related to products against your sales reports.

For example, if you are running a chain of restaurants, then you could notice a high frequency of negative reviews associated with the temperature, flavor, or portion size of a particular dish.

Eventually, a product that is not well-accepted will have a decline in transactions, as well as increased instances where the customer or customers request a refund or price adjustment in association with the product or products in question.

Reviews allow your business organization to identify weak performers and explore alternatives such as removal, replacement, or formulaic revision. On the positive side, when your business identifies a product that is popular per online reviews and is able to prove a high number of transactions as reported by your point of sale, you may explore upward price elasticity aimed at improved profits. 

Manage Seasonal Supply-and-Demand Cycles to Match Feedback Needs

Once you have sufficient historical data to take a look at a couple of cycles that capture every season of your business, you will be able to come up with a more accurate picture of the type of product that best addresses seasonal needs. Seek to align your minimum par and inventories to match increased or decreased demand in order to ensure there is product availability when the customer needs it, and improve the efficiencies associated with keeping goods as part of your rolling inventory.

A great example can be seen in the management of hotels with various outdoor-dining venues. You will begin to see patterns related to the types of beverages consumed in patios during the summer, versus the preferred beverages for winter months. Ensuring that you have enough can save your venue from the embarrassment of a negative review rooted in not having available products listed as part of your core menu. 

Track Metrics-Based Satisfaction Associated with Facilities

Facilities matter. Even when you have a great product that is sold and serviced by great people, when your facilities are lacking, customers suffer.

In many industries, facilities are intrinsic to the product. TripAdvisor, for example, tracks and reports a metric associated with cleanliness, while Yelp features health inspection scores of restaurants.

When a facility falls short, businesses are forced to lower prices in order to attract customers, and their reputation is impacted negatively. Oftentimes, taking corrective measures associated with facilities can be costly, requiring your business to plan ahead and allocate budget for the projects that address the pain points conveyed by reviewers. 

Look at Your Competitors Instead of Focusing Exclusively on Your Facilities and Performance

The worst mistake that you can make when using data mining from third-party review sites to shape your products and facilities is to have a silo mentality. The fact is you don’t have a monopoly, and your customers have choices.

Invest time in learning what is working and what is not, for those within your competitive set. Tailor your offering to match or surpass theirs so that you may get a bigger wallet share for your industry. 

Don’t Neglect Your Customer Service in an Effort to Be Product-Centric

While products and facilities matter, the bulk of negative reviews are associated with customer experience gone wrong. Shifting your efforts into facility and product improvement at the expense of neglecting areas such as training and development is not a smart move. Balance it out by having initiatives aimed at improving the skills of your staff, while working on long- and medium-term plans designed to tackle product and facility concerns. 

Craft Your Long-Term Strategy and Budget for Capital Improvements Using Customer Feedback

Facility improvements are pricey and can’t be done overnight. Your business organization can tackle concerns related to its facility, such as cleanliness, in an agile fashion, but not everything is that simple.

If you have natural wear and tear on outdated furnishings and/or equipment, then it will require some planning and budgetary allocations to fix the problem. Use the feedback available through reviews to identify what matters the most to your customers, and prioritize your budget accordingly. 

Push Enhanced Promos Around Top Performers to Amplify Your Reach

Work on designing promos that push the products that your customers love best. By promoting what is tried and true, your business stands to deliver pretty high-quality experiences to incoming and new customers, which holds a high probability of converting into positive online reviews and having the customer become a regular.

Customer service, facilities, and products are the three pillars that will propel your business reputation to the next level.

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