Review management has become increasingly essential for those who sell products and services online. Even local companies that get most of their business from walk-in traffic are subject to the uncertainties of their online reputation. That’s why taking a clear-headed approach to solve the problem of negative or indifferent publicity is so important.
Statistics show that three out of four consumers choose companies that have positive reviews, and 60 percent of prospective customers avoid doing business with companies that have lots of negative reviews.  About 85 percent of people trust online reviews from strangers just as much as personal recommendations.
A one-star increase in your Yelp rating can result in a 5 percent to 9 percent increase in sales. Consumers also respond better to reviews that are more comprehensive or prominent.  However, let’s put away the scare tactics for the moment. The good news is that our services at ReviewNhit can automate review management so that you don’t need to face the prospect of daily reputation-related emergencies,
You can manage your online reputation, dispute inaccurate reviews and increase the number of positive reviews with the right review management software. Much of the work is done automatically with the review management plans available from our company. We can encourage customers to write more great reviews, post them where they’ll do the most good for your business and help you manage the critical art of responding to negative – and positive – reviews in a calm, professional and helpful way.
Review management can often seem like a pie-in-the-sky dream to average business owners who don’t realize the importance, urgency and benefits of managing reviews. Agency clients often believe that they have little or no control over online reviews. Our services can help you demonstrate the concrete benefits of review management software and planning.
Review management consists of various tools and processes that can unleash powerful benefits for business. The benefits apply even to neighborhood businesses that don’t receive a lot of online business because consumers read the reviews of local businesses before shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. The benefits of review management services for your clients include:
The review management consists of four major areas:
(1) generating reviews
(2) monitoring reviews
(3) responding to reviews
(4) leveraging the most favorable reviews
When you’re dealing with clients, you should be careful to use the language that you feel he or she would appreciate. Many business owners might respond better to “getting better reviews” or “managing the fallout from bad reviews.”
Many people use the terms review management and reputation management interchangeably, and we won’t quibble. Just recognize that some people see reputation management as having negative connotations – such as flooding the internet with fake reviews to drown out negative reviews by sheer volume.
Long-term success comes from providing attentive customer service to encourage people to review your company. There are many potential review sites where your customers can post reviews. The first step for business owners is to register with local newspapers, industry journals, review sites and networks. These directories and networks are called local citations, and they can be critical for publicizing your clients’ companies and products.
Local citations aren’t necessarily limited to local companies. Industry networks, social media sites and review sites also qualify. In fact, any mention of a business on the web is considered a local citation if it includes the company name, address, phone number and other particulars.
Registering for local citations is an important strategy for increasing SEO ranking and establishing a company as a legitimate business in the eyes of people who browse the internet. It’s important to check whether a business is registered correctly and that all the information is updated and accurate. The best practices for registering for all local citations include:
After compiling the information, your clients should check all relevant networks and local media to see whether the company is listed and whether the information is correct. Providing updated copies of the logo and great photos helps convey a more professional image.
Statistics show that review count is even more important than star rating in attracting more customers. According to Searchengineland statistics, claiming local citations on multiple websites can increase revenue by an average of 58 percent.  Businesses that respond to customer reviews earn about 35 percent more revenue than those who don’t. Reviews matter, but how can your clients generate more favorable reviews?
There are an unlimited number of ways to increase favorable reviews, and they all begin by offering great customer service. Stats show that customer service matters more than price and quality. Your customers can exercise their creativity or follow the steps that others have found to be successful. Some of the best strategies your clients can use to generate more reviews include:
Claiming free listings and generating plenty of reviews can earn your clients an average of $72,000 more in annual revenue than those who don’t bother. 
Your clients can’t always choose where to post reviews because many review sites accept unbiased reviews directly. However, your clients can encourage customers by listing the most respected and effective sites for their respective industries. Making it easy to post a review on third-party websites almost guarantees that customers will choose one of them.
Some of the best review sites for general businesses include the following:
Google stands alone at the top of the pack for several reasons. Google uses proprietary algorithms to rank search engine queries, and a recent Moz study of Local Search Ranking Factors revealed that SEO ranked about 15 percent of scores based on local pack factors. That means that having lots of high-quality, positive reviews is one of the strongest ways to improve your clients’ SERP rankings.
Google also posts reviews and aggressively encourages customers to rank their visits to local stores, an initiative based on GPS tracking of most people in America with a phone or computing device. Google users can leave reviews with incredible ease.
According to Moz’s most recent Local Search Ranking Factors Study, review signals make up around 15% of local pack factors. Put simply, having a high quantity of recent, diverse, high-quality reviews means Google’s local search algorithm is more likely to favor your business and surface it for relevant search queries.
Google My Business can benefit any client’s business by generating lots of reviews that receive prominence in search engine return pages. Potential customers are likely to see these reviews first. Google also favors its own reviews over reviews from other sites, so generating good Google reviews will boost your clients’ organic search results.
Monitoring internet chatter and reviews that mention your clients’ businesses can be extraordinarily difficult with advanced software or other monitoring tools. That’s why it’s important for business owners to buy or lease monitoring software or subscribe to a review management plan.
The task of monitoring online reviews can be overwhelming without the right tools but simple and automatic with them. Monitoring can help your clients identify negative reviews, complaints about the company on social media and conversations where your company is mentioned. Your clients can improve their customer service, respond quickly to complaints and strengthen customer service practices to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Monitoring tools help business owners keep track of marketing trends and social topics of interest. Getting professional help can also manage multiple store locations and any number of review sites. The right tools can help your clients streamline information, receive invaluable customer feedback and respond to every review from one location.
How your client responds to negative and positive reviews makes a big difference in how people view the company. Strong but polite responses are the best way to handle negative comments and complaints. On first contact, your client should make sure to get the facts from the customer’s point of view. Politely request time to investigate the complaint, and do so even if the complaint seems unlikely or impossible. How your client responds depends on what the investigation reveals, but these are common and acceptable responses:
Positive reviews also deserve acknowledgement, thanks and reinforcement. Some of the actions clients should take after receiving positive reviews or positive comments include:
There are many ways that your clients can use reviews for the company’s benefit. Even negative reviews can reinforce company transparency and showcase how hard the company works to resolve complaints. Some of the ways that your clients can leverage reviews include:
According to Bazaarvoice.com, one positive review can increase revenue by 10 percent, and eight reviews can affect search engine results dramatically.  The stats show that 100 reviews can raise revenue by 37 percent. If your clients can generate 200 reviews, sales will increase as average of 44 percent.
Business processes have changed. The way people do business has become more transparent, and consumers research the companies with which they do business to find out about materials, ingredients, ethical sourcing, commitment to the environment and other issues. Online transparency also encourages reviews and review sites and customer criticism and feedback.
You can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but you can embrace new forums and forms of communication with your customers. Some of the transparency issues that business owners must consider include:
Transparency, though necessary in today’s business operations, can result in problems, misinterpretations and reputation management problems. Clear example is employee anger over firing or other issues. Employees can talk and post misleading or false information because of sour grapes after being fired or disciplined. Examples of transparency failures that you can explain to your agency clients include:
Most businesses understand that their customer service departments often uncover sales opportunities, but there are additional benefits to responsive, can-do customer service attitudes. Statistics show that customers are more impressed with a company that works hard to correct mistakes than companies that never post or acknowledge negative information. 
About 70 percent of customers admit to spending more money at companies that provide great customer service and willingly correct problems immediately. Keeping customers happy is critical because repeat customers increase company profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.
Agencies need to educate their customers about the risks of negative press and the benefits of empathetic customer service and proactive review management. The first step is to ensure that customers have multiple ways to reach you by phone, email and text message. Respond to all inquiries quickly, and train your staff to listen actively to what customers are saying. Other steps for effective review management include the following:
It’s important to generate more favorable reviews, and our services at ReviewNhit can help your clients get more and better reviews and post them on the right third-party sites – such as Google, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Foursquare and specialized review sites.
We understand local SEO needs as well as any outside consultant, and we can improve your customers’ on-page and off-page SEO, organic search rankings, online reputation and visibility to their targeted customers. Our understanding of Google algorithms and ranking criteria is second to none, and we can turn your clients’ websites into successful and respected juggernauts when compared to local competitors who don’t recognize the value of review management.
It’s easy for your busy clients to overlook the opportunities and risks of online reviews. That’s why it’s important to educate them about review management. We hope that the information we’ve compiled will prove useful for that purpose.
Agencies and customers can contact us at ReviewNhit for further information about our review management services. Online reviews and digital technology have changed the way people do business. Statistics show that 97 percent of online shoppers check reviews of brick-and-mortar businesses and websites before buying, and 70 percent respond after reading positive reviews.  Pointing out the opportunities of managing customer reviews to your clients can increase their respect for your business savvy and digital expertise.
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