When it comes to running a successful business, reputation is everything. But a good reputation doesn’t build itself. Every customer interaction, positive or negative, in person or online, can shift the needle, so it’s important to keep some best practices in mind for cultivating a reputation you can be proud of. Here are 10 things that can undermine your brand’s reputation—and how to fix them.
Negative customer reviews
Reading reviews is an essential part of the research stage of the purchase journey for many consumers. If they come across your brand only to read about all the things you’re doing wrong, they may move on to your competitor without a second thought. Negative reviews on Google, Yelp and other aggregator sites can also bring your average star rating down and turn potential customers off from giving your brand a chance.
The fix: A negative review can tell consumers a lot about a company—in fact, 96% of consumers seek out negative reviews to ensure they are making an informed decision. A few negative reviews here and there are inevitable, what matters is how you deal with them. The key is to make them work for you, not against you. One way to do that is to respond to negative reviews with a promise to make it right.
Not responding to reviews
Whether a review is good, bad or neutral, a customer took time out of their busy life to provide feedback—and you should take that seriously. If you never respond to reviews, not only will people who are more inclined to leave them stop bothering, but new potential customers will notice too. You’ll come across like you don’t care what your customers have to say, and that’s never a good look.
The fix: Take each review as an opportunity to start a conversation with your customers and develop a strategy for how to respond to online reviews. It will pay off in the long run.
You’re not using it as a driver for business outcomes or revenue
Reputation has a direct impact on the profitability of your business. That means, a strategy for managing it can help drive sales and change the trajectory of your brand. Taking your reputation for granted could mean you’re missing out on potential growth, and you won’t have a plan in place if anything goes awry.
The fix: Invest in the future of your business by making reputation management a priority. That could mean building a bank of positive reviews and user generated content that you can utilize for website, social media, and email marketing purposes. Don’t forget to track your efforts to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Your product page doesn’t have reviews
You know potential customers value reviews, so why force them to search the internet to find them? If they are on your product page, they are already interested in what you have to offer, so provide them with the little extra push they need to add to cart and hit purchase.
The fix: Add an average star rating and the option to leave reviews on each product page. Potential customers will appreciate being able to learn from someone else’s first-hand experience. You’ll also be able to get more specific feedback on your products and learn where and how you can improve.
You’re not turning your customers into brand advocates
From leaving positive reviews to posting on social media about your brand to recommending you to their friends, it’s not hard to see why loyal customers, AKA brand advocates, are so valuable. It starts with providing the best product or service you can, but if you aren’t actively encouraging your customers to talk about your brand, you may be missing out on even more revenue.
The fix: It’s simple—happy customers will tell their friends about you. Try providing a shareable discount code to promote word-of-mouth marketing and give potential customers an incentive to give your brand a shot.
Lack of review content is diminishing search engine visibility
Review content can be a major driver for organic click-through-rates, which in turn will improve your organic search visibility. Without reviews, or more specifically, positive reviews, you’re missing a key component of good SEO.
The fix: Don’t just ask customers to leave a review—make it easy for them to do so. Include the option to leave a review on product pages and send follow up emails thanking customers for their recent purchase along with that a direct link to leave a review.
You’re not curating user-generated content to move consumers through sales funnel
User-generated content, especially unsponsored and organic, comes from real people who have experience with your brand. Consumers see this kind of content as unfiltered and unbiased which is good for your company’s credibility. If you aren’t using this kind of free content to your advantage, you could be missing out on potential sales.
The fix: Did someone tag your brand in their Instagram story? Re-share it on the business account. You could also feature positive reviews on your various social media accounts and use snippets of reviews throughout your website to reinforce the positive sentiment surrounding your brand.
You’re not getting enough reviews
While it’s always true that quality wins over quantity, a few good reviews aren’t going to cut it, especially if you’ve been around for a while. Not to mention, if you aren’t getting any reviews, how do you know what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on?
The fix: When requesting reviews, think gentle and not pushy. Build a step into your email marketing strategy to ask customers to review a recent purchase and try including an incentive like a discount code for their next purchase.
You don’t have someone responsible for reputation management at your organization
From monitoring a slew of different review sites from Yelp, Google, Facebook and more, to providing thoughtful responses and performing sentiment analysis, reputation management is a full-time job. If it’s one of the many tasks on someone’s to-do list, it follows that they won’t be able to give it the time and thought it deserves.
The fix: Do your brand—and your employees—a favour and make reputation management a priority within your organization. That means hiring a dedicated employee or team to focus on creating and executing a strategy that builds on your reputation. You could also consider investing in a tool to help you keep track of your progress like DAC’s Reputation Management platform.
Those responsible are too siloed
Even if you do have dedicated reputation managers, it’s common for them to become isolated from the big picture and what you’re trying to achieve. While they can do their best to manage and respond to reviews, it’s possible to have a disconnect between the brand intentions and how you’re coming across.
The fix: Reputation management is a truly multi-disciplinary function, and for it to work well, it requires not only strategy and technology, but also collaboration across the entire organization. From our global survey, we found that reputation management is covered by IT departments, marketing, customer support, and more. Whoever is working on your reputation management will have plenty of insight into what your customers need and want—so don’t leave them out of important decisions. Make your reputation a team effort.
Explore our Reputation Management report
Want to learn how to jump-start your organization’s reputation management program? Our recent report explains how, plus features results from a study of nearly 900 marketing executives around the world. We uncovered some fascinating results—check it out for free.