In the immortal words of Pete Townsend of The Who:
Who are you?
I really want to know
Who are you?
I bring this up, because it still seems that businesses are heading into 2013 without any idea of how important constructing and controlling their online reputation will be in regards to their success in 2013.
Simply put, if consumers cannot find who you are and how you take care of your customers very easily online, they will go do business with someone else. It is not about your product (unless you are the only one selling a boutique item) it is about how you conduct business.
Consumers have been trained by Amazon.com and other online retailers to look at star counts to edit choices. We are constantly using Yelp, Google+ Local, or Urban Spoon to make decisions on where to eat, shop, stay, and a myriad of other things we do daily.
Yet many businesses feel that this online presence of “goodwill” will just happen, versus looking at how your company has to have a focused approach to creating the atmosphere for great service and then installing a simple process to get these happy customers to help spread the word online.
Think of it this way. You spend money on traditional advertising to get people to know your brand. This drives them online, but where many businesses fail is that they do not inspect and/or cultivate what customers find about them. Customers are not just looking for your product or service, they are looking to see who you are and if you are people they want to do business with.
Read reviews and you will see less than 25 percent have anything to do with the product while most of them are speaking about the “process” of doing business with you.
Every shopping experience is a two-step process: research the product through reviews, blogs, articles, videos etc; locate and research who can provide this product. Here are some tips for your 2013 strategy.
- Research where you are currently showing in reviews.
- Look in Google + Local.
- Look at Yelp.
- Search for Your Business Name + Reviews on Google and other search engines.
- Create monthly list of what sites you will send customers to, in order to post comments.
- Respond to all negative posts. Post a short response to bring the conversation offline.
- Respond to 60 percent of positive reviews as well.
- Keep responses short. Do not try to defend your business online.
- Make sure you are using social media platforms for review postings.
- Create and post video testimonials from customers on your website and on YouTube.
- Do not give incentives to staff for reviews. It will lead them to create “one and done” accounts that Google and other platforms do not like.
- Do not offer gifts or services to customers in order to get reviews.
- Find creative ways to involve your team.
- Team breaks a certain goal they get lunch.
- Top reviewer gets on Wall of Fame.
- Monitor accounts daily in order to respond accordingly.
- Track the number of reviews on all platforms monthly.
- Read competitors reviews to see how you can capitalize on their failures.
Each week, reputation results should be reviewed in weekly staff meetings. If the top leadership does not make this important, it will not happen. Reviews have an impact on buyers of your products.
Happy customers love to share their experiences; make it easy for them to do so.
If you are not willing to listen to your customers and then use this feedback to improve and market your business, you will end 2013 wondering why you did not grow.
Glenn Pasch is the COO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a national speaker and trainer.0