45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviewsOnline Reviews Survey
One of the direct benefits of a great customer experience and brand reputation strategy relates to increased profit and maximized capacity that triggers the need for expansion. If you are facing growing pains associated with the immediate need for expansion, and you have decided to tackle the challenge at hand by opening a second location, then we want to give you the best possible start. We know it matters, and you know it, too. After all, you would not be in the position to expand if it was not directly attributed to the brand strength and direct leads you have acquired through the shaping of a superior online reputation. (Check out our guide on how to take control of your business location data and use the Google My Business Bulk Locations feature.)
There are significant and important differences between implementing a reputation management program from inception versus stepping in and managing your online reputation when there is already a foundation to work from in terms of brand recognition, customer base, and online presence. Let’s review the most important steps toward improving customer experience and jumpstarting your brand reputation for a second location.
Learn from Your Prior Mistakes and Successes
As an established reputation manager with proven success, you are entering your second location with a great deal of experience. No longer will you need to take a trial-and-error approach. Instead, you can now look back at your historical performance and prior approaches and adopt best practices based on your analysis.
Your second location should capture the very heart of excellence in reputation management, loyalty-driven programs, and promotional approaches. Your review and reputation dashboard can provide you with significant insights that capture historical trends, facilitating your new location’s reputation strategy to the point that you should be able to create a play-by-play plan that works.
Starting from opening day will also allow you to work on refining the new location through the creation of a functional feedback loop. With the proper review and survey strategy in place, you should be able to implement agile changes that respond to the true perceptions of your new customers.
Manage Your Reputation from Day 1
One of the biggest frustrations is finding the huge backlog of reviews, handling the creation of marketable profiles, and dealing with taking corrective action. But when you’ve done it the first time around, setting the foundations for a strong online presence through third-party review sites is simply a piece of cake. As a veteran in the field of reputation management, you will have familiarity with the sites that matter most for your segment, allowing you to prioritize and get the most value from each engagement.
Additionally, you will be familiar with processes associated with review responses, customer escalations, and remedies, equipping you to better handle the customer-service cycle. Finally, you will have the advantage of cumulative review capture that will push your business to the top of popularity by category quicker than ever before.
Leverage Your Networks
When you start a second location as a result of having outgrown your capacity due to popularity in your segment, you are way ahead of the game. Take advantage of your offline and online networks to help you reach new customers, or redistribute your current customers based on geography in order to relieve some of the pressure from your current location.
If in the past you have been successful through the use of certain marketing tools and distribution channels, then pick the best of the best to help you promote your new location and improve customer experience. Now that you are expanding, negotiate discounted rates for services such as offline marketing, and other promotional needs such as collateral. As your business grows, maximize wholesale and bulk opportunities related to marketing, and allow yourself to focus more of your budget on things that increase customer loyalty and satisfaction, thus triggering better brand reputation.
Bank on Your Loyal Customers to Help with Your Initial Reviews
Reach out to your most loyal customers and let them be the first ones to experience your new location. Empower your loyal customers to provide you feedback through early-capture tools such as a Net Promoter Score and System (NPS) survey, and coordinate additional feedback requests using free tools to secure reviews from those who experienced your second location first.
Your most loyal customers, as defined by your Net Promoter Score, not only stand a higher chance of leaving a review, but they also are more likely to help create awareness of your venue through word-of-mouth efforts and social media initiatives. Invest in them, because they will invest in you.
Host a Grand Opening
Well-marketed grand opening events are fantastic opportunities to expand the reach of your brand and connect with new potential customers. When handled well, using the principles and learnings acquired through running your first location, you will be able to launch with an excellent product and service that will naturally snowball into superior customer feedback, online and offline.
Don’t be shy about highlighting the importance of customer feedback as a means of optimizing the way you do things, and a way to validate your products and services through review sites. Be lavish and enthusiastic during grand opening, and consider every guest a potential loyal customer.
Bank on Your Email List to Create Awareness
As someone who already ran a location, you have a rich asset in the form of an email list. Use it to create awareness about your second location and to request feedback once your email list members have had an opportunity to sample your offering. Consider incorporating low-cost, high-value promos such as coupons to trigger engagement and increase the perception of value.
Leverage Your Brand Reputation to Market Your New Location
Don’t hesitate to include the reputation achievements of your first location as part of your marketing strategy for your second location. By integrating hints about your reputation, you will have a better chance of securing new customers and having them review your new location. You can include mentions such as “From the creators of [insert business name], a five-star business rated by Yelpers.” By banking on the reputation of your first location, you won’t feel as if you are starting from scratch, nor will your new customers perceive you as an inexperienced newbie.