Have you ever considered how much a good reputation is actually worth to a business?
As has always been the case, your reputation will precede you, but it is now more important than ever before to cultivate a reputation you can be proud of. The internet has made reviewing a business – any business – a simple matter of picking which of the many reviews website/platform you prefer to trust.
No matter the size of the business, what industry they serve or where they are located, if they have any footprint on the internet, it is extremely likely a consumer can leave a review for others to be influenced by. With this knowledge in-hand, no business should take their reputation lightly.
Understanding the Value of Good Reputation
“Nearly every consumer (97%) used the internet to search for a local business in the last 12 months – a slight increase from 2016 when 5% had not.” – Brightlocal.com, 2017
Until the advent of the internet, your reputation was only as good as the conversation which you were involved in.
A customer of your business would be in discussion with another person and the topic of you and your business is raised. At this moment, your customer makes the choice to either endorse your business or not. If your business is recommended, it is coming from someone’s mouth in real-time and, most likely, there is a conversation to support the endorsement.
All the same, if your business is not recommended, there is also a conversation about why. These were simpler times, where the effects of this conversation, positive or negative, are slower and less powerful.
Today’s trends and innovations have shown the consumer there is a new way to do business. Any individual with access to the internet can now write meaningful words about a business and leave them in a public place for the world to see.
Unfortunately for businesses, this means they are now at the mercy of their customers. Businesses today are held accountable for their interactions and services to their customers due to this incredible accessibility.
Accessibility like this, however, also opens the door for fake reviews as well. Fake reviews can help or hurt both parties, but a business will likely lean toward what brings more paying customers through the door.
Understanding the Truth in the Presentation
“If truth is absolute, reputation can only be relative (Anderson et al., 2012). We cannot live in a world where everyone is above average (the median, to be precise).” – Psychologytoday.com, 2013
It would be difficult to find a review platform which deviates from the standardized 5-star review scale. A 1-star rating is the lowest potential rating and a 5-star rating notes the best possible service was achieved.
The image of your business is best-served by showcasing the highest possible rating, but the notion of maintaining a 5.0 rating as time passes and more reviews appear is fool’s gold. Staying above a 4.0 rating puts your business in a solid position to secure more customers through your good reputation.
When the competition heats up and all options now have a similar overall rating, you’ll need to separate yours from the crowd.
- Stress quality of reviews over quantity
- Campaign your customers to leave genuine reviews after positive experiences
- Share your best reviews on your website and social media platforms
- Respond to every review, positive or negative, with a message of appreciation
- Target negative reviews for potential resolution/improvement
There is nothing easy about showcasing or maintaining a good reputation. The initial experience, a number of follow-ups, conflict resolutions, and overall monitoring of all platforms is tedious and cumbersome, to say the very least.
These are the sacrifices businesses must be willing to make in order for the public to see the truth behind their business and their customer service.
Measuring the Effects of Reputation Management
When buying a product or service, customers want to know they made the right choice and are going to enjoy a positive customer experience. If you’ve cultivated a good reputation, accessible for potential customers to be influenced by, then you’ve given your business the opportunity to earn new customers.
Responding to every review left by a customer will show the public that you care about what they have to say and the experience you gave them. If they’ve had a poor experience and you’ve resolved it, you prove to the public your good reputation is founded on more than just talk.
Continually asking your customers for new testimonials will keep your reviews relevant to those who read them. No one will relate good customer service from 3 years ago to the experience they would have while working with you today, so don’t be shy about staying up to date.
These testimonials can be displayed on your website, just the like the folks at All 3 IT decided to do. You can see there are multiple testimonials being displayed, helping to showcase what it’s like to work with their experts.
Reviews that discuss the experience in detail, even going so far as to name the employee(s) they interacted with, will make the experience relatable. Giving your audience the opportunity to connect with the reviewer’s perspective and potentially follow in their footsteps is a huge advantage.
Sharing your success with customers is not going to hurt anyone in this equation. Social media platforms provide every business with a voice, so use yours to show what other people had to say about the privilege of working with you.
Using Your Good Reputation Today
Whether your business has been around for 6 months, 6 years, or 60 years, your customers are most certainly leaving reviews about their experience with you online. Those reviews are going to be read by others who are interested in working with you, and you have the chance to have a say in what they are reading.
Take the chance to see for yourself what’s been said already. We’re willing to perform the audit at no charge so you can make an informed decision, same as you want for your potential customers.
Use today’s good work and commitment to customer service to better influence tomorrow’s potential customers. They’ll do as they’re told by those you’ve already helped!