Reputation Management – Take your Online Reviews Seriously!
A few years back I read an article in Entrepreneur Magazine about a guy who had a bakery and tried every marketing trick in the book with no luck. That is until he focused on reputation management. His business changed overnight and he has dominated his area since then. I always say there is no magic wand in marketing but this is about as close as it gets as long as there are a few factors taken into consideration.
Think like a customer
The more of a tourist economy your business is in, the more reputation management matters. I always use the phrase “Think like a customer”. It’s more important than ever when in a tourist heavy market.
How do YOU find a restaurant while on vacation? If you’re like most you either go to the correct part of town and start walking until you see something you like? Or you use an app like Yelp, Tripadvisor or Google to search for a restaurant or bar near you. My girlfriend uses the Yelp app annoyingly often while we’re on vacation. But it’s usually pretty accurate as far as what the reviews say and the star rating goes. We will avoid low-star-rated places every time regardless of it they deserve the rating.
A jump in each full star rating gained in Google or Yelp equates to an average of a 6-12% increase to your bottom line!
That’s the power of having a solid online reputation and using great reputation management tactics. This of course starts with customer service and your staff’s attitudes. This is paramount in being successful. Even though a great staff isn’t necessarily “marketing”, it’s the number one most important thing in retaining customers and growing your audience.
Aside form customer service (being preventative) there are other things you can do to help your star rating along. Keep potential customers informed and attracted to your place.
- Respond to your online reviews!
- Respond correctly and don’t piss people off even worse. Of course, people on online review sites will lie. They will lie their asses off just because they think they can get away with it and no one’s paying attention.
- Use a reputation management company to do this for you as long as it’s a reputable one. One who will legitimately work with your best interests in mind. I personally love the results I’ve seen from Restaurant Reputations. They offer so many services it’ll make your head spin but this is one of the most valuable ones in my opinion.
- Use a review aggregator service like Review Tracker. This service gives you a dashboard of all of your reviews and emails you when news comes in. You will be on top of all of these and they are never a surprise.