It’s no secret that reviews play a huge role in the customers decision-making process.Platforms like Google Review and Yelp make creating and accessing a large volume of customer reviews easy. For consumers, this has become an essential part of their engagement decisions. For business owners like you, customer review management can quickly become a nightmare.
Every minute, 26,830 new reviews are posted to Yelp every minute. According to a study done by BrightLocal, 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. Furthermore,Studies show that consumers are 50% more likely to be motivated by an online review than a discount offer.
What does all of this mean for you?
If you’re serious about your business,this means that you’re spending a lot of time filtering through and responding to reviews. Many businesses might shy away from bad reviews, but the reality is that they offer valuable feedback and honest insight to the quality of service you’re providing.
Customer reviews are a critical factor in the growth and success of a business; So, you need to be on top of them. However, it’s not necessary to put every other task to the side to field those 2, 3, and 4 star reviews. That’s where a customer review management software can come in.
In this article we’ll cover the basics of customer review management and do a deep dive into what, why, and how customer review management can be tailored to the unique needs of your business.
What is review management
Review management is the practice of engaging with reviews left by customers. There are four core areas involved with review management:
- Generating reviews
- Monitoring reviews
- Responding to reviews
- Showcasing reviews
Whether your business is big or small, an efficient customer review management program can give you valuable insight about consumer sentiment and behavior. Additionally, review management shows you where your businesses strengths and weaknesses lie.
Review generation is an important aspect of review management that often gets overlooked. As we saw above, consumers place a huge value on reviews. Businesses with over 200 reviews have nearly twice as much revenue compared to other businesses of the same size with fewer reviews.
The first step to any review management system is making sure that you have reviews to manage. This can be done through incentivization, content optimizations, or simply creating a variety of spaces that make it easy for your customers to leave a review.
An effective review management plan often requires being aware of multiple different channels that can span from traditional review platforms like Yelp to less traditional platforms like Instagram. It’s important to consider all platforms but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to monitor everything that gets said about your brand online.
In general, consumers are more likely to tell people about poor services than good experiences. So, an effective review management strategy should have a plan to help you tackle negative reviews as well as promote positive ones.
Responding to reviews
Negative reviews are inevitable. As your company grows, you will have to address certain growing pains and those will often come in the form of an angry online customer.
When a negative review is posted, a brand with an effective review management strategy will respond to the customer promptly. Ideally, the brand will craft a response to the angry reviewer that acknowledges and apologizes for the mistake. Hopefully, the response will turn a negative interaction into a positive one.
Finally, review management means that you’re showing off those good reviews. A good review left on Yelp or Google Review is essentially free marketing. Showcasing a review offers a window into the experience of a satisfied customer and, in turn, motivates others to trust your brand.
Review management vs. reputation management
Review and reputation management are two of the hottest topics across marketing platforms right now. At a quick glance, they don’t seem that different but, in actuality, review management is just one piece of your online image, A.K.A. your reputation.
As we discussed above, review management is all about customer reviews. An effective customer review management strategy requires tracking reviews across channels and is actually an essential part of a comprehensive reputation management strategy. However, a reputation management strategy has a significantly wider breath.
So, what’s included in reputation management?
Well, when we talk about reputation, we’re strictly speaking about the publicity of your company’s online presence. This publicity can come from you or from others and can include, but is not limited to:
- Likes on social media
- Presence in social and industry forums
- Blog article mentions and follower counts
- Local listings
Reputation management, in a business context, is a strategy of consistently monitoring, optimizing, and responding to all things related to your company. This will occur across all channels to build a positive online reputation.
The benefits of review management
With 82% of consumers reading online reviews, it should be no shock that there are benefits to customer review management. Review management is a crucial part of understanding how your business is engaging with the community and growing your business.
Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business and over half of those consumers require that the business have at least a four-star rating before using.So, it’s easy to see that the benefits of review management are directly linked to your business’s growth.
However, let’s consider some other statistics that demonstrate the weight that a customer’s review holds:
- 71% of consumers who have a positive experience with a business are likely to recommend it to their family and friends.
- 3 out of 4 consumers trust a company more if the reviews are positive.
- Every additional star on a Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%.
- Reviews that only gave 1 or 2 stars failed to convert 86% of prospective customers.
- Responding to positive online reviews increases the likelihood of an additional purchase.
As you can see, there are quite a few benefits to review management. In addition to these hard statistics, review management makes you aware of growth points for your business. It can also help you to avoid damaging scenarios such as fake and negative reviews.
Moreover, by engaging with customers who are upset you have the opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive interaction. No one is going to be more honest with you than an angry customer. And, the odds are, they probably have some worthwhile feedback.
Customer review management allows you to acknowledge all the pain points in a customer’s journey, apologize, and essentially demonstrate to the online community that you are actively engaged and invested in the consumer experience. This will lead to higher trust among consumers and give you valuable feedback.
79% of consumers say that user-generated content highly impacts their decision to engage with a business. Further proof that review management should be a part of your marketing strategy.
10 Tips for successful review management
Customer review management can be a daunting task to embark on. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Determine key review platforms to focus on
From traditional Yelp reviews to one-off comments on Facebook, it can be a time consuming task to try to catch and respond to every review. By prioritizing a few high traffic platforms to focus your review management efforts on, you’ll be able to deliver faster, higher quality responses.
2. Claim your business
Claiming your business on Yelp or Google will give you authority over your business information. For many consumers, review pages are the gateway touch point to your businesses home page. By claiming your business you will gain control of photos, hours, address, and other business information. Some websites will also give you access to valuable metrics.
3. Ask customers to leave feedback
Proactively asking for customer feedback is a great way to establish a relationship with customers and create a conversation. Additionally, customers leave reviews they are amplifying your search presence and giving you an opportunity to show them that you’re invested in their experience.
4. Monitor regularly and respond quickly
Another important factor in review management is response time. Taking two months to respond to a negative review seems careless and, ultimately, is a waste of time because the opportunity has passed. Quick responses, whether they’re to positive or negative reviews, show your customers that you’re actively looking for ways to make their experience better.
5. Keep track of reviews and identify trends
Reviews can offer you a wealth of information about consumer trends and sentiments. By staying organized with reviews you will be able to identify if there is a surge in negative reviews, the success of a review generation campaign, and even gain greater insight into growth points for your business.
6. Learn to identify fake reviews and request removal
While negative reviews are important to acknowledge; however, not all negative reviews are real. Fake reviews can be damaging to your reputation and ratings on review platforms. Consistently monitoring and learning to identify fake reviews is an important part of protecting your online reputation from damaging and false information. If you think you’ve found a fake review, be sure to request removal immediately.
7. Acknowledge all legitimate criticism
Although it may be hard to hear, a customer who has had a bad experience needs to be listened to. Whether you’re apologizing for a moody employee or becoming aware of a bug in your software, acknowledging the customer’s claims and apologizing is essential for reputation management.
8. Showcase and encourage positive reviews
Customer review management isn’t just about doing recon on a negative experience. Positive reviews are just as impactful as negative ones. Being sure to thank those who leave positive reviews helps solidify their positive experience. On top of that, showcasing positive reviews is a transparent marketing strategy that can have a huge impact.
9. Provide an excellent customer experience
Of course, the best review management strategy starts at the beginning of the customer experience. Provide excellent customer service from the get-go and your customers will likely be more willing to leave a positive review.
10. Consider a review management software.
Customer review management is a full time job. By leveraging a review management software you’ll have a greater bandwidth to organize, analyze, and respond to customer reviews. A good review management software should be tailorable to the needs of your business and customers. Ultimately, using a review management software can allow you to focus on the things that matter, like providing an excellent customer experience.
Review management software
Having a comprehensive and easy-to-use customer review management software can be the difference between giving your customers a good experience and a great one. Gleantap is a leading customer review management software that can help you do just that.
Gleantap’s software uses an intelligent interface to help you communicate with customers across their preferred channels. Respond to reviews and field customer questions in an email or two-way text format. The software also has an insights and activities dashboard that is perfect for identifying trends across consumer review platforms.
Beyond this, their review management software is highly integrated, which means that you don’t have to completely change your operating systems and allows you to monitor multiple channels of review platforms. Gleantap’s flexible interface is perfect for meeting you and your customers where you’re at. Their team of experts makes the installation and set up process easy and they are always available to help you troubleshoot any issues that arise.
Reading through this article, it becomes clear that customer review management is an essential part of the business process. Over 70% of consumers trust online recommendations just as much as a recommendation from a friend or family. Word of mouth and review marketing strategies are some of the most effective forms of generating business.
With that being said, it’s critical for business owners to be constantly on top of the rhetoric surrounding their online image. A large part of that image involves customer reviews. Reviews allow you to actively engage with your online audience, develop relationships with customers, and create an image of trust and transparency. In terms of benefits, reviews can act as passive, trustworthy advertising that gets customers through the door. That is, if you’re able to stay on top of it.
Your customers deserve to know how hard you work to make their experience excellent. Show them how much you care by engaging with them on review platforms. In the early stages of business, this can be crucial to success. But, as your business continues to grow, it’s important to remember and maintain the foundational elements that got you to where you are.
Large or small, businesses that dole out “thank you’s” to positive reviewers and don’t shy away from a negative review are more likely to maintain a loyal customer base and be seen as more trustworthy in the eyes of consumers. However, these companies aren’t doing the review management all on their own.
Using a review software makes managing customer reviews a simple and efficient way to market your brand across multiple platforms. If you’re ready to change the way you interact with customers online, contact us today or click here to receive a demo of our software.
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera