Your most valuable business asset is your reputation.
Your company’s online reputation, when enhanced with positive customer reviews, can boost SEO, strengthen credibility, lend authenticity, and of course entice new clients and customers to seek out your products or services.
Indeed. As Martin Holsinger outlines in his book, Contractor Marketing Simplified, if someone were to ask you to identify your company’s most valuable asset, you might think money, raw assets, property, your experience, or your team members. But the truth of the matter is that your most valuable asset is your reputation.
Reviews Are Critical to Your Rep
Imagine 30 years ago when neighbors would congregate around a fence, front porch, or kitchen table, talking back and forth. During conversations, Neighbor Bill might share his experience of hiring a plumber to fix his leaky kitchen faucet: “I had the best experience with Joe’s Plumbing and Heating when he came to fix my sink. He was extremely polite, finished the job quickly, and he even took 10 minutes to help troubleshoot what was going on with my water heater.” Neighbor Paul might say, “Wow, that’s great to know. Maybe I’ll give him a call to see what he can do for my perpetually clogged drain.”
Consider, however, a different experience and conversation going down: Bill says, “I had Joe’s Plumbing come and fix my leaky kitchen faucet. He parked on my lawn, damaged the grass, acted as if the project was too small for him to bother with, and completely disrespected my kids and told them to get out of his way. I will never hire this company again.” Neighbor Paul might say, “Seriously? Wow, I was thinking of hiring him for my clogged drain, but I’ll look into hiring Manny’s Plumbing Services, instead.”
These scenarios depict how Joe’s reputation serves as word-of-mouth advertising. His company and services have been vetted via casual, neighbor-to-neighbor conversation; a relaxed, friendly and informal verbal engagement that has enormous capacity to drive his business up – or down.
Your brand name is only as good as your reputation.” -Richard Branson
Online Reviews Can Rock Your Bottom Line
Today, however, Joe’s Plumbing and Heating is not just vetted over the fence, on the front porch, or around a kitchen table. He, his business, and his reputation are primarily reviewed and vetted online.
Joe’s customers (and your customers) can now go online and leave a review outlining their experience and level of satisfaction with your company, product or service. And potential customers, the public, and even search engines are paying attention.
Today’s consumer generally does three things before contacting a company to inquire about their products or services:
- Search the internet for the company’s website
- Search the internet for its social media presence
- Search the internet for company reviews (ie “Joe’s Plumbing reviews” or “reviews Joe’s Plumbing”)
Social media channels such as Facebook, Google My Business, Google+, Yelp, Houzz, LinkedIn, and a plethora of others provide customers with the ability to directly post feedback for all the online world to see and read.
And guess what? This is an enormous benefit to you and your business because online reviews can boost credibility, lend authenticity, enhance search engine optimization, and of course entice new clients and customers to seek out your products or services.
But… what if I get a bad review?
So we know that we need online customer reviews. But what about negative feedback? Time and again when I urge my own clients to solicit customer reviews, there’s resistance just for that reason – and understandably so. We fear the risk of putting ourselves out there and getting negative feedback. I always reassure these clients they need not be concerned. Because negative reviews can be a gift.
Negative reviews can be a gift.”
Negative reviews not only present an opportunity to engage with the customer and make things right, but also serve as an opportunity for you illustrate to your online community and potential customer base that you care, are listening, paying attention, and are responsive to customer critique and concerns.
So what do you do in the event of a negative review?
Don’t panic, and count to ten. Remember to never reply to negative feedback from a defensive or angry place, and remind yourself that this is your opportunity to show the world your sincere efforts to make things right.
- Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention.
- Invite the customer to contact you directly via email, private message, or easily-accessible phone call.
- Extend an offer to correct the situation, once you and the customer connect.
Once your issue has been resolved, kindly request the customer revise the review as he or she deems appropriate.
At the end of most days, consumers are generally willing to grant businesses a second shot when they observe efforts to rectify a wrong.
Online reviews can boost credibility, lend authenticity, enhance online search results, and entice new clients and customers.
Rules for Positive Engagement
When you inevitably get those glowing and positive reviews, take a moment to engage with your reviewer by responding to each one individually. Be sure to “like” the customer review, respond, and comment. A thank you and a sincere expression of appreciation specific written to and for each reviewer goes a long way, and your public will appreciate being acknowledged and knowing that you value their patronage and feedback.
Reaping the Benefits
Once you’ve established some solid online reviews, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of enhanced credibility, improved search engine results, and of course the ability to entice new clients and customers to seek out your products or services.
Let’s Get This Party Started!
Now you have the foundation to get up and running with your company’s online reputation management. Want help getting things rolling? Contact me and I’ll be happy to give you a hand!