Collecting customer feedback is always essential for improving your operations and enhancing the customer experience. However, few people will ever give their feedback directly to you. A vast majority of them will choose to talk about your company on social media or across forums and discussion groups.
These informal reviews can have quite an effect on your brand reputation. They can shape the opinions of your target market, entice others to do business with you, or get them to avoid you at all costs. As a vital part of word-of-mouth marketing, online reviews need to be handled with care. It’s critical that you keep a close eye on them and commit to monitoring reviews across channels and platforms.
So, let’s take a closer look at review monitoring, see what the risks of ignoring it are, and check out how it can make a difference for your brand.
Defining review monitoring and analyzing its business value
At first glance, review monitoring seems pretty straightforward – you simply monitor the reviews you’re getting. Maybe do a quick Google search of your brand or check out your business hashtag. However, this is barely scratching the surface.
Review monitoring is taking control of your brand’s name and reputation and leading online conversations about your business.
It’s a process of monitoring your brand mentions and customer reviews wherever they are and taking action to shape a positive brand image across online channels, review sites, and discussion groups. This will prove to be invaluable for strengthening your marketing efforts and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche. Moreover, it can help you improve your ranking on search engines, boost your organic marketing, attract leads, and convert them with ease.
By analyzing the reviews and managing them, you’ll gain more in-depth insight into consumer needs and preferences. You’ll be able to make data-driven decisions that’ll improve the customer experience and help you connect with your audiences on a more personal level. You’ll be able to respond to their requests and deliver products/services that’ll astound them.
However, you mustn’t transform review monitoring and managing into review gating. Primarily, Google penalizes businesses that partake in review gating and collecting artificially positive reviews. Secondly, even negative reviews can help you shape a positive image and inspire trust and loyalty among your audience.
What risks does ignoring review monitoring entail?
Over 82% of consumers would avoid using a business due to negative reviews. So, it’s evident that ignoring review monitoring brings many disadvantages. You’ll be leaving your brand image into the hands of others, allowing them to shape your reputation and mold your leads’ and customers’ opinions.
This could cause immense issues down the line. The disparity between your idea for your brand image and the overall public opinion about it could cause a rift between you and your customers. You’ll lose their trust and loyalty and harm your bottom line.
What’s essential to understand is that your current and potential customers are always watching. As mentioned, reviews are a form of word-of-mouth marketing, and they’ll impact how your entire audience pool views your brand. If your reviews indicate that you have poor customer service, low-quality products, and shipping issues, your audience will turn to the competitors and avoid your business indefinitely.
Online customer reviews have an immeasurable impact on your business, and ignoring them and neglecting to address them can only spell trouble for your brand.
The process of integrating review monitoring into your operations
Integrating review monitoring is easier than it may appear, even for those who’ve never dabbled in reputation management before.
First and foremost, it’s critical to invest in proxies. Proxies are used for a variety of different reasons, enhancing online security, ensuring anonymity, boosting privacy. But above all else, they’re used for bypassing censorship and geo-restrictions.
Using proxies will help you see reviews from your customers all over the world. If a review site or a forum is unavailable in your region, you can easily access it with a good proxy. You can go around IP bans, unlock restricted content, and more. You’ll ensure that all your brand mentions are visible and accessible to you.
Once the proxies are taken care of, you can start review monitoring and management. Analyze your reviews, and use them to enhance your performance and strengthen your marketing campaigns.
Be sure to answer reviews when possible. Communicating directly with your customers is the best way to engage them. Answer positive reviews, and always address the negative ones promptly. If you stay professional and address the issues, you can turn a negative review into a positive one and show your leads your devotion to customer satisfaction.
Finally, always ask for reviews. They’re a powerful tool for improving your online reputation and attracting new leads and prospects. More customers than you think would be willing to post a review if you ask them.
Results to expect
By engaging in review monitoring, you stand to gain a lot. Some of the benefits you can expect:
- Better customer satisfaction
- Higher engagement levels
- Improved marketing
- Improved customer loyalty
- Increased brand awareness
- Higher conversion rates
- Increased revenue
- Higher ranking on search engines
Proactively managing your reviews can bring an abundance of benefits, while ignoring the reviews poses great risks. If you don’t take control over your own reputation, someone else will, and chances are – it won’t be to your advantage.
Your customers value online reviews, and they pay very close attention to them. They’re an essential part of social proof, and they can make or break your brand image. So make sure you pay very close attention to them as well.