What is online reputation management (ORM)

28 Jan, 2021

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What exactly is ORM and why should you start working on yours today?

Due to growing digitalization, people are increasingly moving away from print media to get their desired information. This is particularly true when it comes to purchasing a product or using a service.

Have you ever searched for a product or service and seen the reviews of customers who have already purchased it? Surely those reviews had an influence on your buying decision. If you have a business and you are present online, this topic will also affect you, regardless of the size or type of business. Customers will always rate you, but how to deal with those reviews and how to get reviews in the first place are questions that can be answered in the field of online reputation management (ORM).

The majority of all business owners are aware of this topic and share the opinion that reputation management is important. They also know that their company and their product/ service are constantly discussed by their active customer base. So having a website with a good online reputation is essential, now more than ever! 

Why are reviews so important?

Customers who want to buy a product or use a service online always want to make sure that they are purchasing from a legitimate business.  Since it is very likely that your brand is not well known yet, it’s important that they perceive your company as reputable. A good way to achieve this is by drawing particular attention to reviews from other customers. These good reviews can be the deciding factor in buying a product or using a service from you.

But please don’t get this wrong: only having perfect reviews is as contra-productive as exclusively bad ones! This is because it can cause some doubts about the authenticity of the reviews and therefore might scare those potential customers away. So, if you ask your customer for a rating make sure to ask for an honest one! As a reference, you should aim for an average of 4.5/5 as a review score with a solid mix of very positive and also some three and four-star reviews.  Remember, some productive critique can always help you improve your product or service.

How and where do you get reviews from?

Positive reviews can lead to traffic and engagement from potential users, especially if they are not sure or still hesitating, a good review can turn them around to complete the action after all. 

Since customers trust online reviews the way they trust personal recommendations, they are super important. But how do you get a customer to leave a review, or hopefully even a good one? You can, for example,  approach a customer after a sale and ask them to review your product or service. If they shopped online you can contact them easily via their email address. You can also ask all customers who purchased a product some weeks ago, how they are enjoying it and benefiting from it. To further incentivize your customer base to review purchased products, you could even make a small personal offer or another small low-cost perk. 

You should try to get up to 10 ratings on different platforms, for example, on local directories.  Just make sure to communicate that the customer writes a unique new review, and does not copy-paste it to avoid your reviews looking like spammy comments. 

Please note that it is perfectly fine and even necessary to ask your customers to rate you! However, do not fake reviews, since this practice can be penalized by Google. To ask for feedback is the best way to get a (positive) review. 76% of people who are asked to leave a review will do so. They can rate you on social media, on GMB, on local directory entries, or directly on your website.

Try to make sure that you always stay up to date and manage to receive reviews in a regular interval, since users trust reviews that are less than two weeks old the most!  Also, the more recent the review is, the higher its rank in search engine feeds, customers see them, and believe they are more relevant.

How do you deal with bad reviews? 

First of all, you should always reply to all reviews you get, not only the good but also the bad ones!

Of course, it is never pleasant to read something bad about yourself or your business, but dealing with bad reviews the moment they happen is key. Be careful how you engage and respond with your customer base online as this has a direct impact on your reputation. Even though you have only some control over how exactly you are being rated, the important thing is how you react to ratings. Especially, considering, that one bad review can have a snowball effect and lead to many more bad reviews. t, not only the good but also the bad ones! 

Timing obviously plays a significant role here. To answer quickly and as personally as possible can do wonders. Addressing this unsatisfied customer immediately can even prevent you from getting further bad reviews. Swift response to customers will help you restore mutual trust and they will feel heard and valued and will see that you do care for their concerns.

Being transparent and making it easy for customers to speak directly to the company is the best way to respond to negative reviews and customer feedback. It is also important to address people by name whenever possible so that the customer does not get the impression that you are just using templates! If you want to show your level of care, you should try to come up with a solution that shows you listen to criticism and adapt to the needs and wishes of the customers. You should document those recurring criticisms and discuss them with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page on how to deal with them. 

Here is an example of how to deal with a bad review: Let’s say a customer just bought your product/service and you believe they are happy with it. But then you receive a negative review from that person, stating that they are dissatisfied. This is a real opportunity not only to make a dissatisfied customer happy but also to show how you deal with the customer in this difficult situation. If you reply to this customer directly in the rating platform and ask them to contact you, so you can help fix the problem, this customer will most likely correct the review, and thank you for your quick reaction. Other users will see this interaction and know that they can trust you and that their happiness is your top priority. 

Even if you don’t opt for this plan you should always at least try to comfort your customer to the point that they might become a returning customer.

When you get more and more reviews, some of them might be fake. How should you deal with those? You might think it makes sense to ignore them, but no, this is not the case here! Answer anyway, if needed apologize and explain that you can’t track this customer.

How do you deal with good reviews?

Of course, it is much more pleasant to deal with good reviews, but just like a bad review, it can be a chance to learn and show how you interact with customers. Furthermore, positive reviews can drive traffic and engagement from the customers. Also, recent positive reviews are ranked higher by search engines and therefore have a big influence on your online success. 

If you do get a positive review make sure to feature parts of that review on other platforms. But make sure to leave a link to the original post! Don't hesitate to use keywords and include a call to action (CTA) in your wording. If you answer and add important keywords in your answer, those good reviews can be found more easily in search engines. However, keywords should be avoided in response to negative reviews. 

Overall, it is most important to have a plan and to follow it in order to deal with all types of reviews efficiently and effectively.

Monitoring: So since it should be clear by now, that a fast reaction to reviews is crucial for good ORM, the next step is how can you keep track of them? There are many platforms customers can rate you on and it is merely impossible to be logged in all the time and check for reviews manually. If you use rankingCoach, you have all the important review platforms in an overview and with notification emails, so you are best prepared to react fast! 

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