In an industry literally crammed with TLA’s (Three-Letter Acronyms), I thought it’s about time to explore something only marginally related to digital marketing. I’m talking about the murky world of ORM.
What is ORM?
Online Reputation Management is a rapidly growing industry due to the spread of social media, product reviews sites and the like. It’s no longer a case of just having an ecommerce site and letting your products do the talking. Businesses are blogging, facebooking and tweeting as if their incomes depend on it – probably because they often do.
Managing your reputation online is a balance of diminishing negative reviews while actively seeking positive reviews from satisfied customers. Unfortunately, customers are more likely to speak out if they have a negative experience with your company. But establishing a good reputation online shouldn’t be difficult if your customers are genuinely pleased with their experience working with you. It just takes a little time each week and a slight shift in how you close the deal with customers.
Get Started: Improve Your Online Ratings and Reputation
- Re-evaluate Your Reviews
With an ever-posting digital community, it’s important to keep a pulse on what people are saying.
Most of the time, customers ask questions or review services without any response from the business. This makes you look inactive and unaware during the customer-service process. But we know that’s not true!
Take 10 minutes every week to review your social and business review sites to read customer posts and service ratings. When you receive a comment, question, or concern you should respond with helpful information:
- Answer customers’ questions
- Say thank you when there’s positive feedback
- Address negative concerns
- Responding to good, bad, and advice-seeking customers will help you build a reputation as a company that cares.
- Set Up Google Alerts
If you want to keep track of your business in the news, set up a Google Alert for your business name via Google.com/alert. With this tool, you’ll be notified whenever a news outlet, blogger, or partner mentions you on their website, and you can then handle the mention appropriately.
- Hold Negative Reviews
If you do get a negative review, always respond politely and with a resolution. The more you do to alleviate the individual’s concern and make the situation better, the better you’ll look.
Responding to negative reviews in a timely and professional manner is the best way to alleviate the effect on prospective customers. If a reader can understand the issue and recognize that your organization did its best to alleviate concerns, their opinion on working with you will be much higher than if they only read the bad review.
- Seek out Positive Reviews
Because more people are apt to review negative experiences, it’s a good practice to actively seek out positive reviewers. Your current customer base is the best resource to do so. And if your customers enjoy working with you as much as you do with them, odds are they’re willing to say so!
The best way to seek positive reviews is to send a personal message to your top customers. Typically, a general email blast is more easily ignored, and (if you’re sending to your entire list) could bring in 3- or 4-star ratings.
- Reward Good performance
Good deeds should be recognized and strong relationships strengthened.
If a customer does write a nice review, say thank you! If your customers consistently speak highly of you, recommend your products and services and are brand advocates, reward them: Give them a deal, take them to lunch, refer them to friends, and share a positive review on their profiles too.
The digital world of reviews and referrals doesn’t have to be the Wild West. Building a good reputation online follows the same principles of good business: putting the customer first, and being as helpful as possible – all of the time.