The Truth About Reputation Management That Small Businesses Don’t Want to Hear
FACT – Most people, at least 93% according to some of the recent statistics, read reviews before deciding to purchase anything. It’s a pivotal step in your customers journey, and without a positive online reputation, you will be sending your potential customers to your competition and they won’t even thank you.
We have been working with small businesses for over 8 years now and over the years whenever we try to discuss the benefits of online reputation (review management), it seemed to scare them to death.
Most of the time they would rather wait and just let their customers write reviews whenever and wherever they felt like it. This may be a good way to avoid having a solution in place for getting feedback from your customer, but it is also the quickest path to failure a small business can choose.
Maintaining a positive online reputation is more essential and challenging than ever. Due to the ever-increasing volume of activity on a wide variety of review sites like Yelp, Citysearch, Yellow Pages, Trip Advisor, Trustpilot, Houzz, Foursquare and more not to forget everybody’s favorites like Google My Business, Google Places and Facebook, reputation management has become a necessary part of the digital marketing strategy for all SMB’s. According to Forbes Magazine, “online reviews are the best thing that ever happened to small businesses”. In fact, the article goes on to say that “if you run a small business today the single most important thing you can do to attract new customers is to take control of your online reviews…” adding to that, “online review sites are a tractor beam for customers”. Another great article that really drives home the point is from Inc. Magazine. Why Customer Reviews are Crucial to Your Small Business, that says, “Word-of-mouth is not dead — it has simply adapted to the change in how businesses and shoppers operate.”
Getting positive reviews is a big part of growing a strong online presence and should be the main goal for every small business. While it can take a while to build a solid online reputation, it may only minutes to undo all that work. That is why taking a proactive approach to reputation management is essential.
Businesses that dismiss the idea of monitoring customer reviews miss both positive feedback (a perfect marketing opportunity) and negative feedback (a chance for damage control of your reputation).
For many small businesses, the excuses for not taking the plunge into the world of reputation management seems to be fear, time and cost. Asking clients for reviews for many, seems like begging for compliments and the fear of not getting a good review makes some business owners just want to forget about them all together. We also hear about how business owners don’t have the time to be going from review site to review site to see if someone did leave some feedback (after all they do have a business to run). Finally, the cost of automating the process or having someone else to take care of reputation management for them can cost more than their annual marketing budget.
The reality is, in today’s digital world none of these excuses have any merit. If a business truly believes that they are providing a quality product or service and they are the best at what they do, they should jump at the chance to let the whole world know.
An effective reputation management solution should be a no brainer. It should:
- Take the fear out of asking for feedback
- Make responding to reviews (both good and bad) easy and profitable
- Allow you to monitor your reviews from one location
- Monitor your competitors reviews
- Make sure all your review profiles are up to date and accurate
- Notify you immediately when a new review has been received
- Never put limits on the number of feedback requests
- Save you Time and Money
If only it existed… Well, it does check us out!