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If you’re looking for a tool or software product to help you protect, manage, and build your company’s reputation, you’ll quickly realize that there are so many providers to choose from. You’re in a big, rapidly growing market, and it can be challenging to try to narrow down your choices.

Do you start with a Google search and make a random pick based on what your gut tells you? Or do you hop on a call with providers for product demos and free trials? Should you create a shortlist based on pricing? Or are you going to evaluate your options based on reputation management software reviews you find online, on websites like Capterra, TrustRadius, and G2Crowd?

No matter what your process is for selecting the reputation management software for your business, you must have a fundamental understanding of what features and benefits to look for. This helps you distinguish between all the providers you’re considering, and ultimately choose the one that will help you yield the best ROI and achieve a 5-star business reputation.

Look for: reliable data accuracy and delivery

“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” Warren Buffett once said. “If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

In the age of online reviews, social media, and real-time customer feedback, “differently” may as well mean “quickly.” Protecting your reputation is a more delicate — and critical — business challenge than ever.

This means that when you search for reputation management software, look for those that will collect and deliver your data in the most accurate, timely, and reliable way possible.

Your software should be able to track social media comments, online reviews, customer feedback, media coverage, and other types of data that serve as today’s most important reputation signals. It should also have comprehensive scope, covering all the websites, platforms, and channels where your business is listed (and where your brand reputation is on the line).

In short: choose a reputation management software product that hand-delivers all the important information you need, so that you don’t waste one more second collecting the data yourself.

Look for: reporting and response features

The best reputation management software products don’t just deliver information; they also have built-in features to help you organize your data, measure your reputation, and respond when necessary.

What people are saying about your business — as well as how quickly and effectively you respond — can spell all the difference between a winning moment for your brand and a reputation crisis.

So look for a well-designed, user-friendly software that your entire organization, from the C-suite to the frontline, can learn easily and interact with. Reporting features should help you sort and search for data using multiple filters, as well as organize key information that you can share with key decision-makers.

Also keep an eye out for the software’s response features. Any reputation management tool you decide to implement should help you stay responsive to customer feedback and brand trends — without the software becoming just a source of frustration for you and other users on your team.

Look for: actionable insights

Any data consolidated by your reputation management software is only as good as the insights you are able to extract from it.

What are your customers and stakeholders talking about? How do online review sites, social media, blogs, the influencer community, and the press perceive your brand? And what are the issues and trends affecting your online and offline business reputation?

Choose your reputation management software based on analytical capabilities. Tools that help you understand unstructured data — like free-form comments and textual information found in reviews — allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of your reputation.

Look for: excellent customer support

As you evaluate various providers, try to distinguish between those that merely work as software developers versus those that commit to being a technology partner.

From the time you express interest and ask about the software, through trials and demos and user onboarding, all the way to implementation, upgrades, renewals, and renegotiations, your reputation management software provider should be able to respond quickly and accurately to your questions, needs, and cases. If and when things go wrong, they communicate — and clearly — what the plan is for arriving at a solution.

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.