First off, excuse us for harping on this subject a bit (Unexpected Benefit of Online Reviews, Negative Review Case Study, Customer reviews what should you do, Online Reviews Your Business Needs and Why Reviews Matter). But we really can’t say it enough: positive online reviews are ESSENTIAL for a healthy online marketing strategy and YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO THEM.
Managing your reputation online is actually a fairly complicated process and doing it yourself without the help of a reputation management platform can be a recipe for disaster.
Keeping your reputation healthy online comes down to two steps:
- Foster Positive Reviews. As we’re sure you know, this is easier said than done. It can be a big challenge to motivate even your happiest customers to jump online and write a review. Tactics like asking for a review in person, following up with an email reminder, and even calling customers can help, but there’s no one foolproof solution for building more reviews online (though we do have a recommended approach – more on that below).
- Address Negative Reviews. You’re not going to please everyone, every time. But with the right systems in place, you can be alerted about what customers are saying about you online. From there, you can take steps to handle the negative reviews and maybe even turn them into positive ones.
Our Preferred Solution: EmpathIQ
We’ve talked with all of our clients several times about how great opens in a new windowEmpathIQ is for monitoring customer reviews and helping you respond to both the good and bad reviews that pop up on the web. We’ve tried out over half a dozen other review management platforms and by far this is the one that provides the most robust set of tools and the best service at a very affordable price.
Here’s how they can help with the 2 steps above:
- Foster Positive Reviews – EmpathIQ provides customizable review templates that your staff can send out 24 to 48 hours after a service is completed. These templates have been tested to maximize customer response rate. An even cooler feature is that customers are taken to portal that decides where to send them based on several factors including where a customer has online accounts (such as Google, RealSelf, etc.) and where you still need more reviews. You can even implement a prescreening process where customers who rate their overall experience a 1, 2 or 3 are sent to write private feedback only rather than post their review online.
- Address Negative Reviews – Before you can address negative reviews, you have to know they’re out there. EmpathIQ gives you a Review Report Card to track of your reviews on over 75 websites in a single glance, along with alerts when new reviews are posted. From there, if a bad review comes in, we can work with you and EmpathIQ to dispute the review, get in touch with the customer, or offer a public response if warranted. They have the experience of doing this work for thousands of customers and can provide guidance on the best approach.
We have yet to find any client who can manage their reviews as effectively as they need to without a review management service. We believe in EmpathIQ but if there’s another one you like that you feel is getting the job done, by all means get going with it. In our experience, this is just too important to try to do it on your own.