Do you know how customers view your brand? As you’re probably already aware, this is a very important question. If your brand is admired then your business will generate the sales it deserves. However, if your brand is not admired, then the effect will be quite the opposite.
A positive brand image has always been important for businesses to develop and nurture, but it is even more crucial now more than ever before. Customers are becoming increasingly connected with each other online. They are talking about the brands they buy from and they are more prone to research online before making a purchase. We already know that referral marketing is one of the best forms of marketing when it comes to sales and conversions. Of course, not all of this online communication is positive. Customers complain when they’ve had a business dealing that didn’t go their way. No matter what industry your business is in, no matter how great your products or services may be, and no matter how much you may go out of your way to please your customers, receiving some negative reviews is inevitable. There are a handful of people out there who are determined to complain. The art of managing your brand’s online image consist of responding appropriately to negative reviews and encouraging positive reviews. This art can be broken down into five simple steps.
1) Monitor What’s Being Said About Your Brand
It is hard to improve your brand if you do not know what people think about it. This is exactly why it is important to monitor what is being said about your brand online and there are a couple of great tools to help you do that for free. The most common brand monitoring tool is Google Alerts. Simply enter the keywords for your brand or product name(s) and Google will send you alerts any time a new review or online mention pops up. Make sure to keep your search query specific and select the appropriate channels under the options menu to avoid receiving too many alerts. For instance, Tipping Point would monitor this list of terms for our Google Alerts:
- “Tipping Point”
- “Tipping Point US”
Social Mention is yet another excellent monitoring tool that provides more information than Google Alerts in an easy-to-digest visual format. Social Mention provides you with your brand’s strength (how often your brand is discussed), the passion level of the postings (how likely a brand mention will be repeated), the sentiment (a ratio of positive to negative posts), and the reach (a measure of the brands range of influence).
There are a couple of other great monitoring tools that are specific to a certain social media platform. Tweet Alarm is an automatic monitoring system that scours Twitter to find the tweets that are about your brand. Pinterest is becoming an increasingly influential social platform and it is probably a good idea to closely monitor Pinterest activity as well. Pin Alerts will notify you via email any time someone pins something from your website. Knowing what is being said about you is only the first step to managing your online image.
2) Solve Problems Before They Become Negative Reviews
The easiest way to prevent negative reviews and comments is to make sure that customers aren’t unsatisfied enough to post them in the first place. Make sure that your company has a great customer service policy in place and work hard to maintain the policies and procedures that encourage strong ties with your customers. If you need help creating or enhancing your customer service policy check out the article from WikiHow on how to develop a customer service policy. Additionally, you should use your brand monitoring efforts to your advantage. If there’s an aspect of your business that your customers seem displeased about, then you should immediately work to correct it.
3) Address Negative Reviews Appropriately
Negative reviews or comments can be frustrating, especially when customers seem to be blowing issues out of proportion. When responding to negative feedback it’s important to keep a cool head and try to view issue from the customer’s perspective.
The first step to mitigating a negative review is to publicly acknowledge that you’ve made a mistake. Even if you don’t feel that you’ve made a mistake you still need to do so and apologize. The worst thing a business can do is publicly pick an argument or try to explain that things didn’t really happen the way the reviewer says they did. Anyone who reads the review will automatically side with the customer. The business will never win.
The next step is to mend the situation in whatever way possible. It’s important to ask yourself, “What can I do to make this better?” Offering disgruntled customers discounts, refunds, or replacement products are all great mending activities. You should let your customers set the standard for what they expect to receive, but don’t be afraid to push back if the request seems too unreasonable. When a resolution has been reached between you and the customer make sure to ask if they would be willing to remove or modify their negative review. A lot of times a customer will agree to do so if they have been satisfied by your work to resolve their issues.
It’s also worth noting that negative reviews have their benefits. A handful of negative reviews makes a company seem more credible. Having nothing but glowing reviews may make readers wonder if your reviews are legitimate or paid. A few negative reviews gives your good reviews a ring of truth.
4) Learn From Your Negative Feedback
Don’t ever disregard your negative reviews, because they are just as important as the positive ones. Your customers function a lot like business consultants. They’re telling you what they think you’re doing wrong and what they’d like you to change. Obviously it’s not feasible for you to make every little change your customer’s desire, but you should look over all of your reviews and comments to try to identify common trends or themes. After outlining the major issues that your customers are expressing you can then go about fixing them. It’s also beneficial to share reviews throughout every department in your business so that everyone is on the same page. This helps to prevent future problems from occurring. In doing all of this you can turn your company’s weaknesses into strengths and create an even stronger brand.
5) Encourage Positive Reviews
It has been reported that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer products and services, but only 29% actually do. Don’t be afraid to ask your satisfied customers to write you a positive review. You can do so verbally, but you could also ask for reviews on the bottom of receipts or on your webpage.
You could even create a physical sign to place in your establishment. Don’t forget to encourage your social media followers to write you reviews. Occasionally post links to your Google Business Page or Yelp account to remind your fans that they can review your business if they are satisfied with your work.
5) Promote Positive Reviews
When you do receive positive reviews, don’t forget to show them some love. We’re often so focused on taking care of the negative reviews that we fail to respond to the good reviews. Take some time to thank your reviewers and show your appreciation. If you receive a stellar review celebrate it by posting it to your social media platforms for all of your followers to see.
Your online brand image is one of the most key aspects of your business. Your going to want to spend a significant amount of time developing a positive image and maintaining it. Luckily, if you follow these five simple steps you should easily be able to craft a positive image for your company’s brand. If you don’t have the time or resources to take on this task that’s okay, because we can do it for you. With over 10 years of experience in brand development and growth, Tipping Point can help your brand realize its full potential. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on what we can do for you. For more brand related information and tips be sure to take a look through the rest of our blog.