Reputation Management: What Are Customers Saying About You? - Engine Builder Magazine

Reputation Management: What Are Customers Saying About You?

A few years ago, social media took the world by storm. Search engines saw the opportunity to integrate ratings and reviews into local business directories. A wise move, seeing that statistics show that 78% of social networkers rate online reviews as important when making buying decisions.

In today’s online environment, we are faced with an extremelyfragmented local search industry that has been flourishing, seeminglybehind our backs.

The fact of the matter is you need to manage your online reputation.This means keeping local business information current on the most trafficked local search sites.

A good place to start is with Google Places and Yahoo Local. You will find the process is as simple as “claiming” your business by verifying ownership, and then entering your information including products and services, and hours of operation.

Be sure to take the time to make your local page as complete as possible since this data will help your local search engine rankings. Take advantage of the free, built-in features such as multiple photo upload, event listings and even coupon creation.

Monitor Ratings & Reviews

Since consumers can review or rate your shop at any time, the easiest way to keep a handle on this user-generated content is by setting up real-time alerts. Try Google Alerts – it’s an easy tool that will e-mail you every time your company name is mentioned on the Internet.

92264Onlinechar_00000046385Here are some statistics to reinforce the importance of monitoring customer ratings and reviews, according to OutspokenMedia.com:

  • 80% of adults are more likely to buy a product based on recommendation
  • 90% of consumers trust recommendations and reviews

Commit

Think about how many years it has taken you to build up your reputation in your community. Now think about how quickly that reputation could be tarnished by a few unhappy customers who are social media influencers and know how to get their word out, and get it out fast.

Online reputation management is one task that you need to commit to, otherwise don’t even bother getting started. If you don’t have the resources to manage this internally, hire a marketing company with experience in online reputation management to take care of this for you. Your shop will be better for it – and you’ll be able to sleep at night.

Stay Scared But Optimistic

I figure this article scared a few of you, which is good in a sense because I don’t want ORM taken lightly. On the other side of the coin, remember that positive online reviews will no doubt drive traffic into your store.

Ask your valued customers to review your shop on Google Places and start building up your arsenal of great ratings to overshadow any negative ones that pop up. And if a negative comment appears, face it head on. Contact the poster of the review ASAP and talk to them about their experience. Try to make it up to them in whatever way you feel is appropriate. This approach can work magic; I’ve seen many negative reviewers actually return to follow up with a glowing positive review after hearing from the company directly.

Stay informed – knowledge is power.

Excerpted from an article that originally ran in Motorcycle Product News, a sister publication of Engine Builder.

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