online review management

Online Review Management – What It Is and Why You Need it 

By: Frank DePino | April 5, 2024

Online review management is essential to the continued success of your business. In this day and age, customer reviews play a critical role in engendering sustained interest, and it is imperative that those reviews are carefully managed. Thankfully, the ability to do so is right at your fingertips. 

Deploying an effective and carefully engineered online review management strategy offers significant benefits to your business. Its implementation, however, needs to be thoughtfully executed and approached from a few equally salient angles. In addition, online customer reviews can be positive, negative, or even fake, and your response to each is equally crucial. Given the need for efficacious online review management, it is no surprise to see the development of potent software to aid in this crucial endeavor – utilities that you would do well to strongly consider. 

In order to fully understand online review management, let’s take a deep dive into its various components. We’ll cover the essence of online review management, its key components, and highlight several tools that can help you achieve your goals.

What is Online Review Management? 

What is Online Review Management? 

Online review management is the process of mindfully and expeditiously responding to online customer reviews of your business. Doing so in an appreciable and routine manner will positively support your brand. Customers place a heavy emphasis on a “personal touch” from business and, accordingly, ascribe value to a business that engages with its consumers. In turn, this means not only acknowledging positive reviews but also engaging with negative reviews and responding in a manner that serves to highlight the core ethics and values of your business. 

It is also necessary to note that online reviews can be posted on a multitude of platforms, like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media arenas. It is, therefore, essential that you monitor customer feedback wherever you have an online presence. 

Importance and Benefits of Review Management  

In order to fully appreciate the need for online review management, it is critical to understand how undeniably influential online reviews are in today’s marketplace. No matter the industry – whether hospitality, healthcare, luxury brands, and practically everything else – online reviews are present. 

It is an indisputable fact that online customer reviews play a tremendous role in an individual’s purchasing process. To emphasize this point, it must be noted that an overwhelming majority of people consider online reviews before making a purchase. In fact, 97% of consumers entertain online reviews before pressing the “buy” button. Therefore, it is without question that online reviews play a decisive role in the flourishment of your business.

Furthermore, online reviews serve to foster trust in your business. Consider that, according to Forbes, 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The notion that an individual is highly likely to consider an online review composed by a complete stranger as equally valid to that of a recommendation from an acquaintance serves to further underscore the fundamental importance of online reviews. 

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7 Strategies to Effectively Manage Online Reviews 

1. Solicit Reviews 

By now it should be abundantly clear how essential online reviews are to boosting your business. Reviews, however, do not magically appear out of thin air. As such, it is often necessary to engage in soliciting customer feedback to bolster your online review total. When soliciting reviews, however, it is imperative to do so at the right time, and in the right way.  

As for timing, you should take care to solicit a review when there is clear evidence of strong customer satisfaction. Consider the following key moments when asking for a review – 

  • After they experience or demonstrate success with your product or service
  • When they re-purchase or re-order
  • After they tag your brand in a post on social media
  • If they are spending time on your website browsing other products or services
  • If they refer another customer to you.

All of the above instances represent clear and obvious indications of customer satisfaction and should be capitalized on accordingly. 

Strategies to Effectively Manage Online Reviews 

2. Follow the appropriate methods

It is equally important to conduct solicitation in an appropriate manner. Doing so will ensure that you do not run afoul of any regulatory concerns or otherwise develop a “questionable” reputation. In accordance with standards set by the Federal Trade Commission, be sure to adhere to the following guidelines – 

  • Don’t ask for reviews from people who haven’t used or experienced the product or service.
  • Don’t ask your staff to write reviews of your business, at least not without ensuring that they disclose in their review that you employ them and asked them to write it.
  • Don’t ask for reviews only from customers you think will leave positive ones.
  • Don’t ask family and friends for reviews, at least not without ensuring that they disclose their personal connections in the reviews.
  • If you offer an incentive for a review, don’t condition it, explicitly or implicitly, on the review being positive. Even without that condition, the review should disclose the incentive, because its offer may introduce bias or change the weight and credibility that readers give the review.

Leveraging the right moments and methods for soliciting reviews will aid significantly in accomplishing your goals. 

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3. Respond Quickly

Responding to your customer reviews in a timely manner accomplishes several critical objectives. 

First, it shows your customers that you care and that you place an emphasis on their overall satisfaction. Keep in mind that your customers are taking time and effort to leave a (hopefully positive!) review about your business. As such, extending yourself in equal measure highlights your appreciation of your customers and cultivates further loyalty. 

Second, it represents the fact that you operate an organized, efficient business and that you invest resources into engaging with your customers. People desire to be seen and heard and this absolutely holds true for people at any stage of the purchasing process. Promptly responding to customer reviews is a strong indicator that your business values this reality. 

Finally, quickly responding to customer reviews helps to separate yourself from your competitors. Potential customers will no doubt be cross-shopping and contemplating where they intend to allocate their dollars. As such, exhibiting a level of customer interaction that your competitors may be lacking could very well sway an individual in your direction.

4. Establish an Approach for Responding 

A key component of online review management is how you go about conducting your response. It is paramount that you incorporate the highest degree of professionalism in your responses. For example, any response should adopt an appropriate tone of voice that embodies the core values of your business; it should be well-constructed, grammatically correct, and respectful. This holds true for both positive and negative reviews. Particularly with regard to the latter, it is critically important that your response addresses any concerns in a helpful, dutiful manner (more on this later). Remember, your responses to online reviews are an extension of you and your business and need to be executed with care. 

5. Give Priority to Google Reviews 

When it comes to online reviews, Google is the place to be. Indeed, 81% of consumers use Google to read online reviews, a figure which exceeds all other review sites. Knowing this, it is vitally important that you dedicate an appropriate degree of effort to encouraging customers to leave a Google review, as well as effectively overseeing and managing reviews already present on Google. Do yourself a favor and target Google reviews – it is well worth it. 

Give priority Google Reviews

6. Showcase Customer Reviews and Make Them an Asset 

Positive customer reviews can be leveraged in meaningful ways, resulting in more customers and increased business. Particularly enthusiastic reviews should be highlighted and shared as part of your promotional materials. As mentioned prior, customers place a great degree of trust in online reviews, and, therefore, you need to effectively promote your positive reviews. Online reviews should not be static entities; seize upon them and turn them into a malleable asset. In other words, make reviews work for you.  

7. Use Review Management Software (RMS)

Soliciting, monitoring, and responding to customer reviews requires a considerable amount of effort. Thankfully, software exists which helps to streamline this process and make it much more manageable. Deploying review management software will accomplish the following – 

  • Save you time. Review management software will automate much of the process, such as collecting reviews, sending review requests, and managing customer interactions.
  • Give authority to your brand. By curating your best reviews, RMS will help you highlight glowing customer feedback and boost your brand.
  • Boost rankings in Google. RMS can help boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results on Google, a highly valuable prospect.
  • Increase conversion rates and sales. Using an RMS to efficiently aid in your online review management will in turn aid in enticing even more customers.

Opting for review management software is a must in order to maximize the efficacy of your online reviews. 

How to Manage Negative Online Reviews 

How to Manage Negative Online Reviews 

When operating a business, negative feedback is, sadly, an inevitability. It is simply impossible to make everyone happy, and attempting to do so is futile. With that in mind, it is important to develop a strategy to respond to negative reviews. As the world’s largest review platform, Google has devised a helpful list of steps you can take to handle any negative reviews

  • Respond in a timely manner. Customers will appreciate a prompt response.
  • Stay professional and courteous. Never lash out and avoid taking the review personally.
  • Understand your customer’s experience with your business before responding. If someone mentions a problem with a product or service, investigate to see what may have gone wrong. Be honest about mistakes made and steps you’ve taken (or will take) to remedy the situation.
  • Apologize when appropriate but don’t take responsibility for things that weren’t your fault. Show compassion and empathy for the customer.
  • Offer to talk it over. If this is the first you’re hearing of the complaint, invite the customer to email or call so that you can try to sort out the matter with them.
  • Show that you’re authentic and genuine. Sign off with your name or initials to show you’re taking the matter seriously and that a real person is listening.

Also, handling a negative review in the right way presents an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. Perhaps the disgruntled customer will appreciate your efforts and give you another chance in the future. Or, maybe other customers see your genuine care regarding customer satisfaction and feel confident knowing that you will take the necessary steps to rectify any issues. 

What are the Best Review Management Tools? 

The Best Review Management Tools 

By now it should be abundantly clear how important online review management truly is. In that vein, let’s take a look at some of the best review management tools available to help you with your endeavors. According to the website Software Advice, the following are excellent options

True Review

TrueReview is a cloud-based reputation management platform that helps businesses generate real customer reviews, collect feedback with surveys, and avoid negative reviews. Users can create customized SMS review requests and Email drip campaigns with their own business logo and message. It allows users to monitor and respond to reviews, all in one place. 

Podium

Podium is an award-winning marketing and communication platform that uses text messaging to help local businesses improve their online reputation, convert more leads, and retain more customers. Podium’s all-in-one inbox consolidates reputation management, website chat, marketing campaigns, and mobile payments into a single inbox that has helped over 100k businesses.

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GetMoreReviews

GetMoreReviews is a cloud-based reputation management solution that helps businesses of all sizes manage and generate customer reviews across the web. It allows users to maintain brand value by receiving alerts on negative feedback and resolving it offline directly with customers. Key Features of GetMoreReviews include review reminders, bad review blocker, automated social posting, and website/email management. It enables enterprises to generate reviews by adding a capture tool in email signatures or tag solution codes on a website. Additionally, it comes with a reputation monitoring tool, which sends real-time alerts to manage all reviews from across the web on a unified platform.

Raanko

Rannko is a cloud-based digital reputation management solution for small businesses. The solution provides modules for review management, listing management, task management, and social media post-scheduling. The review management module syncs with Facebook, Yelp, Google, and other applications to monitor user reviews. Users can receive review notifications and respond to them automatically or manually in real-time through text messages. The solution sends review requests and reminders to customers and tracks the number of reviews received from them.

All of the above are excellent choices when considering which online review management tool is right for you and your business.

Online Review Management: A Must for Your Business 

Online reviews are fundamentally critical to the success of your business. Due to their influential nature and widespread availability, it is so important that you effectively engage in online review management. Take advantage of the software available to help you in the process and utilize emphatic customer reviews to help bolster your business. And, be sure to reach out to the experts at Mediaboom for further advice!

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals, building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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