How to Manage Online Reputation: Insights for Local Business Owners

Online Reputation Management | 6.5 Min Read
by Joanne Wayne
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Now, we can assess any company's reputation by reading its reviews. This certainly helps clients understand if a company is worth dealing with, but for SMBs (small and medium businesses), customers interacting with the reviews can be quite a challenge. Who knows what they might find in your review history.

Warren Buffett once famously said: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it". It's sad but true; though with current online development, it might take even less time than this. But, if you care about your online reputation and make an effort to improve it, this will not happen to you.

What ORM is

ORM (Online Reputation Management) includes tracking references on the Internet, interaction with sites, other tactics aimed at maintaining the positive reputation of the brand or person and getting better results in the search engine optimization.

ORM may seem like PR, but PR is just a part of ORM.

Who Needs ORM

  • Businesses – Review management is important for the marketing and sales departments, and reviews from former employees are necessary for the HR department. No matter what your business type is – small, medium or large, it's important to check all of the reviews and to connect with clients.

  • Other entities such as public personalities, brands, and government agencies.

Why Small Businesses Need ORM

ORM is something to think about, not only for large enterprises but for small businesses too.

Gathering and monitoring reviews from different platforms, responding quickly to clients and responding to both negative and positive reviews are the main aspects of the ORM process. So, focus on what other people say about your business online — tips, recommendations and customer reviews constantly appear on social networks — respond and improve your image and performance.

This will cost you time but it will be well worth it. However, one way to save time and effort is to use reputation management software

How to Make Reviews Work for Your Business

  • Find all websites mentioning your company.
  • Check your local presence.
  • Interact with each review.
  • Stimulate new reviews.
  • Always stay tuned.

By now you should understand the importance of reviews to your business, but you may wonder how to use them to improve your business. Follow these simple, but challenging, steps to succeed, and remember that this will only work as a system:

Find All Websites Mentioning Your Company

Usually, the ones monitoring reviews are the owners themselves or employees who don't think it's important. But checking review sites is necessary for understanding the wishes of your customers and for protecting your brand.

So, look through the Internet reviews and build yourself a good reputation.

Check Your Local Presence

Often, information about your company displayed on sites is inaccurate or irrelevant. For example, search results can show an old telephone number or a mistake in the address.

Carefully look through all pages containing information about your business and correct any mistakes where necessary.

Interact with Each Review

If you got a positive review, don't forget to thank the customer. This might not seem so important, but it is; show your customers that you care and that you wish to work with them again in the future.

If you get a negative review, apologize, try to understand the problem and solve it. Replying to your customers shows that you care, not only about your company, but about your clients too.

Stimulate New Reviews

Decide which platform you want to use (SMS/email/messengers, etc.) and collect all of your reviews. Designate someone to this task and plan how to get more comments: This might involve a text message with a request to evaluate your products and services, a follow-up call to check if the customer is satisfied with your product and so on.

Always Stay Tuned

Monitor online requests from potential clients and reviews from customers, and respond as quickly as possible on all platforms.

All of the steps above can be challenging; you need to throw yourself into ORM to make everything work. Also, services that could help with such tasks usually cost serious money. The average price of a basic plan is about $80 per month.
Close more deals with quick and easy customer interaction!

From Theory to Practice: Benefits from Reviews

Let's have a look at some examples. The first one is Peak Health Dentistry at Gentle Care, which has an impeccable reputation and a near 5-star rating, according to Google Reviews:
Positive reviews can weaken the influence of negative reviews
Positive reviews can weaken the influence of negative reviews
The business has 199 reviews; even though the top ones are positive, there are some hitches preventing "Peak Health Dentistry" from getting the maximum 5 stars. But here, the positive reviews can reduce the negative feedback, therefore some criticism of this place won't bother potential clients.

It's a different matter for Furniture Classics. The company has only three Google reviews and if you're searching for "Furniture in Alaska" it won't appear on the top pages:
One negative comment that ruins the whole statistics
One negative comment that ruins the whole statistics
Yes, 2 out of 3 reviews are 5-star ones but that doesn't help obtain a high ranking. The comment on top is giving a negative impression of the business, so customers will only notice it, and think "why do I need that company? There are others with a much better reputation". At this point, the company will probably lose its potential customers.

According to Ipsos' "Socialogue" poll, 78% of Americans aged 18-64 agree that online reviews influence their purchases. This means that 8 out of 10 customers who look at this review might just overlook the company because of one negative comment. Imagine what kind of loss this will amount to.

The Importance of Feedback When Choosing a Company

Our next example is located in Florida. Imagine you're going to buy or rent a property there; you definitely need some help. Where would you go and who would you ask? Of course, you look at real estate services. We have two examples, the first is credible, but the second one doesn't seem all that reliable:
Positive reviews make customers believe in the quality of your services
Positive reviews make customers believe in the quality of your services

John's Island Real Estate Company has an average of 4.4 stars out of 5. 36 reviews is not a huge amount to have, but it can be enough to spark a customer's interest. Although the company hasn't replied to its positive reviews, there is a reply to one 3-star review, showing the company's desire for future improvement.

Contrastingly, a company known as Elegant Realty, who is competing with the above business, pays little attention to reviews. With only 4 reviews, 2 of which are 1-star, the company has tarnished its own image; the loss of clients must be really significant:
A negative review that can scare your customer away
A negative review that can scare your customer away
Reviews Play a Significant Role in Choosing a Company
Just think about how you would behave if you were a customer. Which company would you choose? The one with positive reviews and polite staff, or the one that doesn't pay any attention to what's written about them online?

Buying or renting a property is a complicated, expensive and nerve-racking process. You must be 100% confident in your estate agency. Checking reviews is so important for customers, and keeping a positive image is vital for small businesses.

How to Get More Reviews and Save Money

Hiring a marketing manager is a good option but it is pretty expensive.

However, you can use review management software that will help you manage everything you are googling from time to time: negative reviews, positive and negative content, using social networks for business, etc.

Meet Chosen: The ORM Tool

You connect Chosen to your business and manage reviews with its help. After using your service, your customer will get a notification that suggests leaving a positive review, using Instagram, Facebook, Google, SMS or Yelp. If your customer wants to leave a negative review, it will be transferred to Chosen's internal system for further analysis.

Nowadays, most people prefer messaging to calling, so using Chosen will definitely increase the number of customers you have; with its help clients can even make appointments. They can text you for information and you will receive instant notifications about new messages.

In addition, Chosen will help you to see all of the reviews of your company so you will be able to reply immediately to all of your clients and expand your audience. Helping you do exactly everything that we've been talking about.
Originally published Aug 30, 2019 10:00:00 AM

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