Reputation Management

With more and more employment and purchasing decisions based on online reviews, a few negative comments can have a significant impact. This is why The Identity Defenders also provides Reputation Management Services.

When it comes to influence, online reviews are today’s word-of-mouth advertising. Consumer opinion now travels faster and further than ever before. Social media, search engines and countless online review sites together form the medium by which traditional “word of mouth” is broadcast globally, shared easily and never, ever forgotten.

Whether its sites like Yelp, Google+, or Angie’s List, online customer reviews are arguably the greatest influence in attracting and retaining customers for small and local businesses today. Reviews determine how people perceive a business, whether or not they would buy from it, even its visibility in search engines. In fact, according to a 2014 survey by BrightLocal, 88% of employers and consumers surveyed said they read online reviews in order to determine the quality of a potential hire or a local business.

Some think there’s nothing they can do about customer reviews. They’re convinced that reviews “just happen.” If the business is well run and the product is good, good reviews might follow. But rarely do people go out of their way to post compliments. You need to ask, and you need to make it easy for them.

There is no substitute for running a great business. Of course, sometimes things go wrong, and there are those customers who are never really satisfied. As a business owner, you can’t know everything that’s going on, so a solid review system that captures bad reviews before they get online gives you a chance to turn an unhappy customer into a raving fan. It also lets you know if your employees are representing your business the way you want them to — allowing you to address the problem before it’s too late.

Winning customer reviews is a numbers game, but you can improve your numbers. You can also make lemonade from any lemons tossed your way. That’s what this book is all about. With
the right commitment, a guiding strategy, and some of the tools and tactics presented here, you can turn customer reviews into your new favorite marketing channel and score big wins for your company or your clients.

Whether you struggle with negative or non-existent reviews or already have a solid online reputation to work with, there are tips here to help you approach, generate, manage and make the
most of online customer reviews over the long term.

This guide is written for marketers, but with an understanding that sometimes the marketer is a hired consultant, a firm or agency, or just the business owner herself wearing the marketer hat on a given
day. So I mostly address these groups interchangeably but do my best to highlight items of specific interest to individual groups.

Finally, this guide is pragmatic. If I advocate anything, it’s pragmatism. More often than not, customer reviews are a sore point for business owners. At Grade.us, we’ve worked with plenty
of business owners who feel powerless and victimized by reviews and review sites, who call site operators “extortionists,” who want nothing to do with all that “meaningless chatter.”

Believe me, I get it. Nothing feels worse than pouring your heart and soul into your work only to have your efforts go publicly bad-mouthed by a disgruntled customer—or worse, a dishonest
competitor—and then feeling like you can’t do anything about it.

Many, many of us just throw up our hands (or certain fingers) and retreat into our work. But marketers must be pragmatic. And from that standpoint, we need to pay attention to these channels and address them with less emotion. If customers, clients, patients or even competitors are using these channels to talk about a business, then you need to listen and respond to limit the damage and increase the reward. This guide covers lots of practical advice for doing so.

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