- May 7, 2018
- Posted by: Babatunde Oladele
- Category: Branding, Reputation Management
Having an online reputation strategy is essential for any business. Growing competition, as well as lack of trust, have a serious impact on the decision-making process consumers go through when looking to buy online. If a company lacks a positive reputation, it’s easy for potential shoppers to look for another company who has gained a positive reputation by earning their consumers’ trust.
Today, 84% of consumers have stopped trusting advertisements. Consumers can now research companies by cost, quality, customer experience, and more in just a couple of clicks, making marketing and advertising claims less trustworthy. Why believe an obviously biased banner ad when the real information is a quick search away?
This trust deficit encourages people to rely on recommendations from other consumers more than anything else. Vendasta found that word of mouth is still the most popular method of recommendation, with over 80% of people trusting reviews as much as personal recommendation, and 92% of consumers reading online reviews. All this shows that customer feedback is one of the most impactful ways to build any business’s online reputation.
Businesses need to make sure they have a business reputation management strategy in order to take advantage of the fact that consumers have shifted their decision-making process. Trust, reputation, reviews, and recommendations are all priorities that can result from the right reputation management. In this article, we’ll show you why business reputation management has become essential in 2017, and how managing your reputation properly can have a positive impact on your business in the long-run.
4 ways building a business reputation strategy will help you succeed
1) It will increase employee loyalty
Having a professional, talented and loyal staff is key to any business’s success.
Individuals looking for a job will most likely research a company and its reputation on websites like Glassdoor before applying. Your own company’s reputation will not only influence consumers’ decisions, but also your future or current employees’ ones.
Knowing how your customers and employees are talking about you is the first big step. Looking for ways to improve your reputation is the next one. By ensuring your business has a reputation management strategy, you’re not only making sure your customers love you, but also your current and future employees. And loyal employees are worth much more than their weight in gold.
Businesses must always prioritise acquiring the best talent possible. After all, a bad hire costs at least 30% of the employee’s first-year earning, a costly mistake. If your reputation is stopping the best talent from applying to your business, you might not even realise how your business is suffering.
2) It will help you promote your business through customer advocates
A customer advocacy strategy can be implemented as part of any company’s overall marketing strategy but it’s often ignored by most companies. Customer advocacy leverages loyal customers as brand ambassadors in order to manage your own business’s reputation via existing customers.
These advocates are your everyday customers, which is why they’re more credible and relatable (and thus, more effective) than big-name brand ambassadors, or social media influencers. Today’s lack of trust in advertisements and big brands is the reason why a customer advocacy strategy can be a game-changer for any company trying to stand out from its competitors, or trying to build a positive online reputation. According to the YouGov BrandIndex, Airbnb customers are the strongest advocates of any brand, with a score of 73.9/100.
To manage your business’s reputation through customers, it’s important to do the following:
- Give them the opportunity to share their experience
- Listen to their needs.
- Exceed their expectations as a brand.
These three steps are intertwined and feed off of each other. By continuously learning from your customers and exceeding expectations, your customer advocacy strategy should be a breeze to implement.
3) It will help you build trust, transparency, and credibility
Earning and keeping your customers’ trust is key to long-term success and is the core principle of having a reputation management strategy. After all, an honest reputation is the path to consumer trust.
In a world where word of mouth is still the most powerful method of recommendation, it is very likely that your customers will discuss their positive or negative experience with friends or family. Gossip, opinions, and recommendations travel fast, and with a tool as powerful as the Internet, consumers are easily influenced by readily available information, whether it’s accurate or not. In order to ensure you’re managing your reputation, you need to manage how consumers are able to discuss your company.
Note: We want to be clear and say that we don’t want companies to control what consumers are saying. Reputation management is about honesty and authenticity. Our point is towards ensuring you have visibility and control in how your consumers are talking about you, not in what they’re saying.
Building trust and credibility is far from easy, but with 88% of consumers incorporating reviews into their purchase journey, online reviews have become the best tool for companies to build their reputation, and influence new visitors positively by building and earning trust throughout the buying journey.
Companies should look towards incorporating a review management strategy as part of their reputation management strategy. It’s an easy way to get an understanding of how your consumers view your company and it will also allow you to highlight and market your reputation to potential consumers.
4) It will give you great customer insights dedicated to improving your business
Reputation management’s benefits extend beyond how your customers see you. If implemented the right way, the way you manage your reputation also allows you to learn from your customers to further improve your reputation. By focusing on your customers rather than the means of reputation, you’re able to inherently dedicate your business to your reputation through your own customers.
Listening to customers, getting to know them, understanding their expectations and needs, is what will help you build a strong business reputation. Collecting customers’ opinions and feedback gives businesses great insights into what is expected from them. Managing your online reputation through customer feedback can also help you improve your customer experience, improve your products and services, and ultimately, your business.
Interacting with customer feedback can also help you manage negative situations and is its own form of reputation management. By replying to unhappy or frustrated customers you’re proving that your brand cares and is willing to take the time and address customers’ issues and needs..
Did you know 76% of consumers say that they view customer service as the true test of how much a business values them? With a number this high, it’s become essential for companies to listen to their customers in order to improve their overall reputation.
Launching your reputation management strategy today
Gossips and rumours are powerful and can destroy any company. It’s time to start listening to what your customers have to say, in order to truly be in control of your business’s reputation.
Coming up with a clear and strong strategy to manage your business’s online reputation will help you build trust, and therefore increase customer confidence and sales, which will grow your business’s bottom line in the long-run.
To manage your online reputation, it’s vital to keep an eye on customer feedback, have a strong team of loyal and professional employees, have a great product and customer service, and a strong and loyal customer base.