Navigating the Online World to Become a Successful Business

Word of Mouth is Everywhere in An Online World

In the current business world, reputation can make or break your brand. What consumers talk about your business – about your products and services – either strengthens your position, or you lose ground to your competitors. Therefore a strong online presence is essential to any brand.

Studies show that one in three UK businesses now think negative content is causing them considerable damage.

One in twenty of those surveyed in 2018 stated that this type of feedback can already be estimated in costs of more than £500,000. Bad press with subsequent negative reviews and social media posts were the most damaging cases.

So how do you build a robust online reputation that will strengthen your business to grow and move ahead of competitors?

Give 110%

Traditional customer service never fades away and this enhances customer experience. Retail giants like Amazon and John Lewis have built worldwide brands by relying on excellent consumer service. As they have correctly identified, if you treat your customers well they will return for more – and potentially strengthen your company’s reputation by leaving positive reviews.

Transparency is Appreciated

Issues always arise, but it’s important to not ignore them and deal with them accordingly. If the customer feels in any way neglected, there are now plenty of social media channels to voice their concerns, which will potentially reach a wide audience.

Responses to customers have to be dealt with as quickly as possible and appropriately. In cases when your business is in the wrong, it’s better to acknowledge it, apologise and straighten out the issue.

When KFC ran out of chicken early in 2018, it came forth with an apology very quickly and explained what had happened. The company was aware the usual type of corporate press release wouldn’t go well with its clients. KFC went the extra mile, putting out full-page ads in major daily newspapers showing what company leaders, franchise owners and customers were feeling in a disengaging tone. Its cheeky response to the chicken issue leveraged the situation to avoid negative PR and turn it around, which led to a quick recovery of their reputation.

Deliver on Your Promises

Earning the trust of your customers is very hard, but very easy to shatter. Try to deliver on your promises and offer services and products as you advertise.

If you’re an online retailer like ASOS and you are sure you can uphold to that same day or 24-hour delivery promise, it is great. If you struggle to meet the deadline often times, then you need to re-think your positioning.

Failure to accomplish everything you state constantly will quickly lead to customer dissatisfaction, which more often than not will be shared with the whole online world.

Customer faith and trust are essential. According to a recent research, 64% of people trust online search engines when analyzing a business, therefore make sure that what you promise to your customers is achievable.

A recent consumer survey found that:

  • 97 per cent of consumers search online for local businesses, 12 per cent do it daily.
  • 90 per cent of people read online reviews before visiting a business.
  • 85 per cent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Make the online world your friend, not your enemy.

6 Tips to Improve Customer Feedback

Does your business have a hard time attracting positive attention on the internet? If so, you’re not alone. Studies show that as many as 90 percent of customers read online reviews before buying a product or service, yet the number of people who regularly leave this kind of feedback is much lower.

What previous customers write about your company online is important. People not only read comments, they trust this content more than what you post about yourself. At ReputationDefender we assist our clients with building a positive online profile through a variety of different avenues. Ranking brand-generated material and blog articles on the SERP is extremely important, but it’s not a match for genuine testimonials from real customers.

It’s Important to Encourage Reviews

The number of people who write reviews varies a lot depending on the type of business and the amount of effort leaders put into generating feedback. The 1/9/90 Rule is a general guideline for what you are likely to see without a strong campaign: about 1 percent will comment or review products, about 9 percent will respond or share the material, while about 90 percent will read comments but not take part in the discussion.

Many companies prefer not to attract attention online for fear of generating negative comments. This is understandable since, with only about 1 percent of customers writing reviews, most are likely to be written by people who were upset or unhappy with their service. However, every company will get negative feedback at some point; the best way to deal with the problem of negativity is to get more reviews. Assuming your business gives good service, most customers will be happy to leave positive feedback, but they won’t necessarily think to unless you go out of your way to ask them.

Honest Feedback Can Be an Asset

It’s not necessary for every review to be a glowing five star rating. It fact, customers tend not to trust reviews if all of them are uniformly positive. An honest critique can actually be more helpful than a generic “Good Job” or “No Problems” since it can show target areas that need improvement, as well as give you the opportunity to respond in a public setting.

As a business owner, it is important to generate reviews and to encourage people to write useful detailed comments that let others know what to expect when they use your product or service. This is the kind of feedback that will draw people in and make them think it’s worth giving your business a try.

6 Ways to Get Useful Reviews

Asking for reviews isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Different tactics will reach different customers and attract different types of reviews, so the best strategy is to combine a number of separate strategies.

  • Ask In Person – Depending on the type of business, traditional, personal contact can be the most effective way of generating positive feedback. If you have long-term customers who are known personally to you or some of your staff, ask them if they would be interested in sharing their experiences online. You won’t get many reviews this way, but you will likely get some of your most valuable testimonials.
  • Ask via Email – This isn’t as personal, but it can be easier, especially if most of your transactions take place online. An automatic email, such as a survey or a form that is easy to fill out will help to reach more customers and remind them that their feedback is important to you. You can also choose to select customers who you believe had a positive experience and send them a more personalised email from someone they worked with.
  • Use Software – Several different types of software, such as Grade.us and BrightLocal, will assist with reputation management by sending customers directly to the review sites that are most important to you. This helps to encourage responses from people who don’t typically write reviews, as well as giving a place for customers who are unhappy to contact you and have their grievances dealt with.
  • Offer Guidelines – Don’t assume customers know what you want in a review. Write an article on your blog, or include a brief paragraph in the review request that explains how important reviews are to your company. Offer guidelines or questions that will help customers describe their experience in a useful way.
  • Give Incentives – This can help generate higher numbers of reviews, but it should be used carefully. Most review sites will accept incentives as long as there’s no requirement that the review be positive. However, it’s a good idea to check the site rules first. A monthly prize draw for review writers can be a cost-effective way to provide an incentive without any hint of buying positive reviews.
  • Employee Tips – This strategy can work well in situations where the customer works with a specific agent. Include a line in the review request specifying that the employee will receive a small tip for positive reviews that mention their name. This helps to encourage customers to write a positive review and feel good about helping others at the same time.

Start to use one or more of these tactics regularly and you’ll soon see an improvement in the volume and quality of your reviews.