This reputation management hack sparked my interest in review generation and eventually led to me writing the Definitive Guide to Review Generation – an 8,000+ word guide to generating reviews – check it out here.
The internet has produced many benefits for businesses, but one hard-to-control feature of the online world leaves many business owners stumped – online reviews. Whether these reviews are placed on third party websites or through social media, the ratio of positive to negative reviews posted (as compared to actual experiences) favours the negative. When someone is aggrieved by a situation they feel the need to vent, and this can have a substantial effect on your business’ brand and reputation.
There are a number of ways to manage your business reputation online, whether in a positive way through social media interaction, in a negative way using SEO to move unwanted reviews lower in the search results, or through more questionable techniques such as fake reviews. One of the most effective and inexpensive ways is to filter out any bad reviews while maintaining and increasing the number of good reviews your business receives.
The first step in this method is to create a new page on your website which asks people to leave you a review and rate their experience. You can do this through text (good/bad), ticks and crosses, or imagery such as a happy and a sad face:
You then need to display different content based on how the reviewer rated their experience. If they are unhappy they will click the sad face or equivalent, and in the next step you should give them an opportunity to vent and tell you about their experience via a form. The form should be set-up to directly email the review to someone in your organisation so that appropriate actions can be taken (such as contacting the customer and correcting the situation). People who are unhappy with an experience like to know that their feedback matters, and often once they have been listened to they will not spend any more time writing bad reviews. This should succeed in keeping the initial review offline and off third party websites.
If a customer is happy with their experience they will click the happy face which is your opportunity to shape your online reputation into a positive one. You already know the customer is happy so after clicking the happy face you can channel them into leaving a positive review on whatever network you suggest, such as Google Places or Trip Advisor.
The last, and arguably most important part of this strategy, is to drive as many customers as you can to the new webpage so that their review, whether good or bad, can be filtered to the appropriate place. One of the hardest parts of a reputation management strategy is encouraging positive reviews. Most happy customers do not leave positive reviews online as they expected a happy experience, so do generally not consider sharing it.
If running a physical business, for example a hotel, the best way I have found to drive reviews is to simply create a small business card which asks your customers for the review. This prompt lets the customer know how much you value what they have to say about their experience and leads to a much higher number of positive reviews being placed. If you have an entirely online business you should split test email marketing campaigns requesting the reviews. The emails should be straight to the point and should drive people directly to the new webpage, with every element of the email being tested to improve the number of reviews.
This is just one approach to the world of online reputation management but it is one of the best I have used. With a large number of people worldwide relying on reviews it is essential you create a strategy and stick to it so that the ROI of all your marketing efforts increases as your trust and brand reputation builds.