Are you worried that negative reviews are hurting your bottom line?
Are you using your positive reviews to improve conversion rates?
In this webinar recording, you'll learn:
- Why your online reputation matters
- How to monitor your online reputation
- How to build your reputation from scratch
- How to change a negative online reputation from zero to hero
- How to capitalise on a positive online reputation.
Why reviews and ratings matter
Today's consumer journey still has the same 3 phases: awareness, consideration and purchase, but there are also so many other touch points that now happen along that journey. As a marketer for multi-location businesses, especially, you need to be present at every point along the journey. And also, it's extremely important to know that that journey is now digital, absolutely 100% digital, but it's also local.
When you're looking at information to make a purchase decision, a lot of times consumer are looking at something that is local, whether it's a local restaurant, a local hardware store, and those things can be seen both during times of crisis and beyond. I know during this particular COVID pandemic, we've seen the consumer journey turn even more digital. They no longer are able to visit a brick and mortar store to see if they're open. They're going online and looking for that information through these digital channels in order to make their purchase decision.
So it's also important to note that at any point in the journey, a consumer can start or end at any of these points. They can come in and search. They can come through messaging. They can come through a variety of different ways. And there are so many different paths, but it's also constantly evolving. These are some of the key considerations that marketers need to keep in mind. So today we'll be focusing on arguably one of, if not, the most important tactics in a digital marketing strategy: reviews and your online reputation.
Reviews have become a top-ranking factor for local SEO. They're a great source for user-generated content, the power of which is undeniable, and also, as localized content, a top-influencing factor for consumers to make a purchase decision, which ultimately is a tool to increase sales. Who doesn't want to learn more about that?
Today, 91% of consumers start a local search first when looking for businesses. A search for pizza near me, or restaurant near me, and you can include the geomodifier near me or not. Searches will automatically produce localized results.
Those local results lead a consumer to your business's local profile page, not your website, as you can see here. That local business profile, we'll call it GNB profile page, whatever it is, you'll find local business information and ratings and reviews from both the native search platform of Google, but also as well from third-party review sites, like Trustpilot.
Platforms have made this change due to the rise in search activity happening on local devices, and they also understand that these local results are likely the most relevant to mobile searchers. So, they're serving them with the information that consumer needs, like ratings and reviews, ultimately convert and make that purchase decision.
Why does your reputation matter?
Specifically when we're talking about your online reputation, it truly does affect all aspects of your business. I thought this was a really interesting stat that we pulled from Google Research of even your in-store customers that have got in their car and driven to you in earlier times and are in-store, 42% of those customers still conduct research online while inside of stores. So, even if you aren't necessarily considering yourself an e-comm company or really focusing on online sales, what people are saying about you online definitely still matters.
Additionally, your reputation affects your bottom line. 83% of customers would choose a product with good reviews over a product with no reviews, even if the price was slightly more expensive. Truly you can mitigate competitors or people that are trying to undercut you by being a trusted and transparent company. People are savvy consumers these days, and they want to work with someone that they feel like they know about and can trust versus just looking for a deal. We said that.
Customers are doing their research reviews are important. What exactly are they doing and taking a look at when they're researching for a purchase? I think the obvious one here, 93% of these customers are looking for reviews. That is by far the largest segment. It's just they've become so ubiquitous now. If you don't have reviews... It's almost second nature. People are going there and looking for them, and it's expected at this point.
So, not only are people doing their research, but if they're finding negative reviews in this research, we are seeing that 42 and 43% of people are not at all likely, or only slightly likely to buy from that business. It's really important to know as a business what people are finding when they're doing those key searches, key branded searches being your company name and reviews, et cetera. Something interesting too, we were able to break this down by region, so maybe US consumers are a little more forgiving where 37% are at the 37% range for the not-at-all likely. However, it's still across the board something people are really looking for.
Ratings and reviews have become the number one factor customers use to determine which company to do business with. In addition, reviews are now the single biggest influence on all consumer purchase decisions. For multi-location businesses to effectively compete, reputation is key.
Platforms and other third-party review sites like Trustpilot that allow consumers to rate their experience or write reviews need to also be monitored extremely frequently. Let's take a look at the ratings and reviews trends. We'll jump into that to find out which tools are becoming increasingly important when it comes to your business's digital reputation and which are on the decline.
Ratings and reviews trends
So, first we keep saying reviews are impacting your local search ranking factor, but what does that actually mean? So, in all of 2019, through SOCi's state of the market report, which utilizes proprietary data from our platform to really identify key trends within localized marketing, it found that local ratings and reviews have become, obviously, the single most impactful element in determining a business's local search and social ranking, or visibility on those key search terms.
So, what that means, when you're looking at the top local search ranking factors here, you can see the ones that are highlighted, so six out of 10, numbers three through eight, that 75% are actually based on your business's reviews. Business reviews and their online reputation, the reach of that far supersedes any other tactic that you really have through localized marketing. And the management of your business's local reputation is more than just a tool for customer care. It's not a critical component of any business's overall localized marketing presence basically.
So here some key trends that we found through our latest report and really just help build a framework around different industry benchmarks that you should be achieving. As I mentioned, this data comes from SOCi's annual state of the market report. And this particular graph focuses on the volume of reviews that we're seeing through our platform. This data specifically is based on our key vertical through multi-location businesses, so everything that we're going to be presenting is through that lens.
There has been one standout platform specifically through SOCi that consumers have chosen to leave reviews. GMB, Google My Business. It's perceived 14 times more reviews when compared to any other social or reputation platform, but as we mentioned earlier, GMB local profile pages pull through not only native reviews, so native reviews that people are leaving on Google, but also ratings and reviews from other third-party review sites. So, based off, again, a second GMB alone however takes up about 65% of the total volume of reviews, which is huge.
So the average star rating. These are, again, some key industry benchmarks that multi-location businesses should attain to be competitive, but then also clarify some areas of improvement throughout 2020. This data was all analyzed and obtained before COVID-19. So we can't stress enough that while these are key industry benchmarks pre-crisis, I think that consumer expectations are only skyrocketing. As we can see, that's where consumers literally are going to find information reviews are impacting that decision.
The first industry benchmark that we'll look at is the average star rating. It's really an easy way consumers can rate their experiences with a star rating, obviously on a five-star scale. This is one of the top questions that we receive at SOCi from our customers and from prospects is, "What should my star rating be in order to remain competitive?" Well, it does vary by industry. I want to point that out first. But over the past year we found that through our platform, ratings on certain platforms like Facebook have consistently been the highest when people actually on Yelp tend to be the most critical.
It's imperative for multi-location businesses to keep an eye on their average star rating because only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than four stars, so that immediately affects revenue, and Allie will touch on how reviews really impact sales later on, but that's over half of your customers that are really making purchases elsewhere. If your reviews are the single biggest thing happening with your online presence and digital reputation, you must understand what your industry's benchmark is for star rating and ensure that your business is meeting or exceeding that.
For most, as we mentioned, the benchmark is four stars or above, but if you're falling below that trend, you're not effectively competing. You really cannot deny the connection between ratings and revenue, because a Harvard University study found that a one-star increase in a restaurant's Yelp rating led to a 9% increase in revenue. It's just one of the single most impactful strategies that you can have is increasing your volume of reviews, but also increasing your rating.
The quarterly average that we saw, because obviously if you're increasing your star rating, you also need to increase your volume of reviews as well. So we found that the average was 3.7 new reviews per channel per quarter. So this number is consistent with what we've really seen over the past year, and that really makes it the benchmark for the number of reviews that you need to ensure your locations are receiving per quarter per channel.
Responding to reviews
In terms of review response, so you're getting more reviews and its reviews are highly rated, that's all great. The data shows that the percentage of reviews that responded to on each platform over the past year, Google My Business was the only platform that increased the percentage of review responses. So, Yelp... I don't know what it is about Yelp, but when it comes to businesses as well as consumers, they continue to have the lowest percentage of response rates.
We're seeing at about, on average, half the reviews are being responded to, but consider for yourself, are you falling short of that average? All of last year, the response rate increased from 46 to 50%, but this rate should continue to increase. Again, I can't stress this enough, especially during the crisis and the pandemic, consumers are expecting responses to both critical, but also positive reviews. And 50% response rate is really an industry benchmark that you must attain this year, but when you respond to positive and negative reviews, it shows that you value your consumers' feedback. It's important to develop a strong relationship with consumers in order to build trust around the brand.
While these best practices suggest that you should respond to all reviews, it's imperative that you must prioritize the most critical reviews. So those negative reviews need to receive the most attention, the quickest turn-around time, everything. So a good way to measure, obviously if a consumer had an unfavorable experience is if they left a review of three stars or less.
So, the businesses need to respond, as we mentioned, to reviews in a timely manner, so consumers feel heard. This is the average review response by ratings and reviews networks, so it really depends on the platform as well. We definitely, throughout the last year, saw improvement, but in order to enact a proactive reputation management strategy in 2020, your multi-location business must decrease the response time in order to meet consumer expectations.
Some key takeaways...you need at least 3.7 new reviews per quarter per channel and they need to be above four stars. You should be responding to at least 50% of the reviews on those key platforms that we studied throughout the report, but also third party, like Trustpilot, insanely important as well. And then the average response time is around four days, but consumers expect a response within 24 hours.
Tips and tricks to build your review strategy
Reviews help build your local search presence. That's through increasing different variances that are really taken into account through Google. It increases your expertise and trust, which are actually two of the top search ranking factors, and through third-party links or references, like through Trustpilot, you can build expertise through reviews. Additionally, those key words in your reviews that show your expertise, it's great when consumers leave really key word-heavy reviews, because it will even show up in your listings and local search based on those key words.
Additionally, as we mentioned, reviews build trust. So, there are some different steps that we recommend in terms of ensuring that your business is managing its reviews effectively, and we'll delve into each of these a little bit more closely. But the first step is to monitor the reviews your business is receiving, increase your base of reviews, determine the protocol for responding to reviews, and then finally to manage all of your reviews from a single platform really just helps ensure that you're not missing any opportunity for engagement.
So the first, reviews affect consumer purchase decisions. We've covered that a bunch. But, 66% of consumers consider positive reviews to be an important factor in their purchase decision, and you compare that to the fact that just 33% of consumers really consider advertisements to be an important factor. So, most businesses devote entire teams or agencies to paid media while truly limiting the resources on reputation management. It's not really adding up. Businesses can raise their star rating by encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews, responding to reviews, and using reviews to identify the root cause behind those sentiments.
Here you can see 70% of consumers use social media to air and resolve grievances. This is where people are going to share their experiences. The second step to increase your base of reviews, there are a couple tips here. Again, in this we'll share these key takeaways as well, but you can ensure that you're raising your star rating, but you must encourage dissatisfied customers to leave reviews, and responding to reviews helps as well, but then you should also... This is how you should be increasing the base. 1) make it easy for consumers to leave reviews. You can't expect consumers to go digging for it, and expecting any sort of responses.
To link to your reviews site through your website or through social media, you can add a review option on surveys or other digital interactions. You can also, if you have any sort of local events, you can use those as an opportunity for consumers to leave reviews. You can have a tablet or a phone or whatever it is available for consumers to leave reviews. Whenever we get out of this quarantine, that would be a great tactic.
Then, also ask for reviews. I think that's the biggest missed opportunity is that you expect consumers to leave reviews without actually asking for them, but it's important to not incentivize them. You can do this through adding a call to action on receipts or other printouts for consumers to leave a review. Then, also an important part of this reputation management is ensuring that the reviews are responded to. You should ensure responses to any sort of engagement, whether it's comment, review, et cetera. They're all handled in a timely manner with on-brand language that's key.
It really shows your consumers you acknowledge their opinion, appreciate their time, and it also reiterates that you care. Here are some additional tips in terms of really crafting that review-response strategy. You should be responding in a timely manner, as we mentioned, critical reviews should be within 24 hours. I think that's key. You should be personalizing your response. It's important to not look at someone's review page and see a ton of just templated "Thanks for the review" responses. That really doesn't show your consumers that you care about their opinion. You should be personalizing your response.
You should also consider your tone of voice depending on the sentiment. If the review is negative, address the issue. I think there is some key points from multi-location businesses. You should never really accept blame, but you should acknowledge that there's a concern. If it's an extremely negative review, you can offer ways to take that conversation offline, but you can pop back online and just ensure that everyone knows in the public sphere that that review has been handled offline.
One important note, you can also set up workflows for this sort of thing for review responses. You can ensure at the corporate level that conversations and reviews go through some sort of approval hierarchy to ensure that the review responses meet all of these expectation. When you respond to reviews, when you combine that with a proactive approach to customer care, it can lead ultimately to higher ratings and increase revenue.
Identifying areas of development
So, we keep talking about the importance of responding to negative reviews. There's this opportunity to turn the negatives into positives. You should identify areas for improvement, take advantage of the free insights that your consumers are providing you, and then you also have this opportunity to turn a reviewer into a happy customer. So this really helps you surface the conversations that matter most, and really receive the constructive feedback, because after all what we have found is 89% of consumers would be willing to change a negative review based on a business's response. So it's a huge opportunity.
Something that can help really streamline this process is to manage your reviews from a centralized platform. By utilizing a single platform for review responses, you can ensure you never miss an opportunity to turn that unhappy customer into a loyal advocate. Some key takeaways for this section, determine a protocol for monitoring and responding to reviews that your business receives. Ensure that your franchisees are responding to negative reviews in a timely manner. And then also, you can increase your search visibility by focusing on ratings and reviews.
Building a trusted brand through reviews
Next we're going to focus on how to build a trusted brand through reputation and reviews. What is brand authenticity, and how does that play into brand trust? These are some key considerations. Is your brand perceived as genuine? An authentic brand is reliable, respectful and real. What we found is that 72% of consumers still deliberately buy from authentic brands over others. I think brand trust really ties directly into how a brand is perceived, and whether or not that perception is authentic is really where online reviews come in.
When we talk about brand authenticity, I think a huge part of that is trust. If people perceive, even if you have reviews, that you're not being transparent with them, then that can almost hurt you more than just having negative reviews. So, to echo a lot of the points that we've made, you should really aim to respond to all of your reviews. This is one way that you can show that you are a real brand, and that there are people behind the replies.
Additionally, another way to really leverage that reputation once you've done the groundwork of responding to your reviews and are building that up, is to make sure you are doing this on third-party review sites. A savvy consumer is going to research and look at third sources. It's one thing for you to have nameless testimonials on your site versus that person's going to go to Google and actually see what are people really saying about this.
So if you have diversifying your review sources and you are making sure that those platforms that people are speaking out, like Trustpilot, Yelp, et cetera, that you have a presence there and are managing that. That's going to satisfy the savvy consumers to know that you're not trying to hide anything, and that you are really showing your reputation across the board.
All right, so all of that is not to say that you shouldn't get to benefit from the great and positive reviews that you are able to collect from your happy customers. It's wonderful to have, and important to have reviews on third-party review sites, but you should definitely capitalize that and take your reviews onto your own brand and in social channel. This really lets consumers do the talking for you. Don't take my word for it, here's what people are saying about us. Not only that, but if you are a marketer, it's also free content that you can use as Facebook posts, Instagram posts, et cetera. And it's something that people can connect with. They are able to read what other people are saying about you, and you're also pushing that out to your own audiences.
Businesses that really prioritize earning and leveraging the positive reviews will be able to outperform competitors when utilizing this user-generated content. The power of that is truly undeniable. 92% of consumers trust user-generated content, or UGC, more than they trust other forms of marketing.
Leveraging your brand's online visibility
So let's dive a little bit more into how to leverage your brand reputation. We know the importance, but what are some of the factors that are actually contributing to it. We did a survey last yeah as we wanted to find out, what, as a reviewer, makes you trust a company. I think there are some obvious takeaways from that, that we probably all could have guessed, almost 96% of people are just trying to make sure that they have a good reputation and positive reviews.
The compelling parts of this are that people are truly looking at review volume. 80% say that if a company has a lot of reviews, they're definitely more likely to trust them. Then additionally, right there at the 80% mark as well, that a customer responds to negative reviews. So it's not just that it's out there, but that companies are engaging in the review committee.
All right, on the flip side, what factors are out there that impact your trust on a company that would decrease the trust? What makes you weary of someone? Again, the biggies out there are that you have negative reviews, but really some interesting factors here are that a company deletes negative reviews, or customer comments. I can't stress this enough, but it really goes to that authenticity point of people are going to expect to see some negative reviews, and it's truly about your response in how you handle it. If there's any indication that you are trying to hide something, that's really where consumers get very turned off by that type of behavior. Additionally, 81% would not trust a company that has no customer reviews. So really making sure that you are soliciting your customers for that feedback, and that there's content out there for people to find.
So, how customer reviews shape trust in companies. So this is diving a little bit more into that volume piece. These are the exact same 3.4 star rating, the only thing buried here is the number of reviews. You can see that, for me, what was interesting is that really the biggest impact comes between zero and one review, and then one review and 10 reviews. Olivia and I are both talking about the importance of volume, and you should capitalize on all your customers and try to get as many reviews as possible, but it is relative. You can see that there's a huge impact just from collecting one review, or even from one review to 10 reviews. Don't get discouraged if you have a smaller customer volume or you're not in the thousands of reviews. It's that consistent collection of feedback that's going to matter more than anything else.
People will pay more essentially to work or buy with a company that they trust. A typical item that $14 and $12, 83% of people were more likely to buy the $14 item from a company with good reviews than a cheaper company with no reviews.
So, just to recap, you can leverage your brand reputation to impact customer satisfaction, which in the next section, we'll dive a little bit more into what people's expectations are when they leave a review, but then also increase sales. So, if people trust you, they want to give you their business, and are less price-sensitive. Great. So, let's move on to talk more about the customer satisfaction piece. Truly if people are leaving you a review, what are they expecting in return, and why are they having that behavior?
Why do people leave reviews?
Overall there is the impression that if someone has a bad experience, leaving a bad reviews is almost like revenge. Like they want to go out there and let people know, and it's kind of a negative thing. Really what we found is that while there are still individuals that are focused on the individual experience, reviews have much more of a community aspect, really, than just one individual transaction.
55% of people in North America when leaving a negative review, do it to warn others, and they want to help others make better buying decisions. Additionally, there's a piece in there of helping the company improve their policies. So, yes, of course there's an aspect of wanting to fix an issue, but truly there is a deeper level of connecting with the community and helping other people make better decisions.
The same goes for leaving a positive review. I especially like talking about positive reviews, and people wanting me to share an exemplary experience that they had with you. I think there is some wisdom out there that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Angry people leave reviews, but truly there are people that if that they love your business and love working with you, they do want to tell others to help others, again, make good buying decisions. But then also kind of shout you out and reward people that go above and beyond.
I think that's a great point that it's like basically there's this popular belief that consumers only write reviews to complain about negative experiences, right, but what you guys have found, and what we're seeing as well, is that consumers are really motivated to write reviews about both positive and negative experiences. A customer who has a positive experience, that's great that they're motivated to write a review, but I think, and you'll cover this, it's really up to businesses to not only provide that customer with a positive experience, but also engage the customer from purchase to review to ensure that you're increasing your base.
It's really easy to ask for reviews. You can do that through your website, social media, but also when you're emailing your customers. There's a lot of things that you can do to collect more reviews.
If you're keeping reviews top of mind, then your customers will be more prepared and in a great place to leave you that feedback when the time comes.
What do reviewers expect from businesses?
Let's talk a little bit about expectations that the average consumer has when leaving a review. So what do they think should happen after they've voiced their opinion? Here we're talking specifically about a negative review, and what really stands out to me here, is the biggest response, almost half of those surveyed said that they don't expect anything, a response from the company when they leave a review. I don't know what that says about the state of what level of customer service people expect, but really for me, this stands out as an incredible opportunity for businesses, even if you do get the occasional negative review to exceed that person's expectations.
Even just by responding, that's more than what a lot of people think companies are going to do, and you're putting yourself in a great position, honestly, to turn that experience around and use that to attract more customers. So we also asked people, "What would satisfy you when or if you do get a response to a review?" I think there's some level of things that are kind of obvious here where if it's a problem that's easily fixed, and it's something that you can identify, fix, and then contact that person, that's going to be the ideal scenario. But I think realistically, we know there's going to be issues and things that you just might need to reach out for more information.
What we've found is a reply of some sort is the most important. Even just receiving a comment on the review, 61% of people said that that was a satisfactory response to their one-star review. I think overall, it's just important to let them know that you're addressing it. If it's something that can be easily fixed, go ahead and do it. People like to see that initiative and being proactive in that sense, but of course, if you need further information or you want to move it offline, it's just key to not delay in responding to the review, even if the resolution isn't right there.
What are the most satisfactory responses to bad reviews?
What are people looking for when they get a negative review essentially? Here, we really say... I think some of these are in the right scenario, it's easy to come up with these responses, but some of a little bit more nuanced. Overall, people want to have a replacement, a gift card, some sort of monetary compensation they feel to make it right. But the two that really stood out to me here that I thought were interesting were that 65% of people were most satisfied when there was a change in policy.
I think that goes back to when we were talking about why do people leave reviews, what's their motivation, and this just backs that up of showing that, "We listened to your feedback. We took it in, and we changed our policy, or we changed our process" can really validate those people that honestly maybe it's a negative review, but it's a way that you can improve your business, and then also keep that person as a customer.
Similarly, going back to the importance of responses, 60% of people said an apology was a satisfactory response. Again, tying that into prompt response to negative reviews, people just want to be acknowledged that you've heard them, even if the resolution isn't apparent right away. All right, so how to increase sales with reviews. We've got a few ideas here of ways that you can leverage the feedback that you currently have to start making an impact.
So, ultimately, I think just on its face, having positive reviews and earned trust from your customers is going to radiate... we're kind of talking about word of mouth here, right? So 55% of people, if they trust your company, said that they would shop there again. Oh, I'm sorry, I think this is specifically about a negative review that was addressed. So, if you're able to rectify a situation, 55% of though people that were saying they're never going to come back to you will reconsider that, and 43% are willing to change their review to a positive one to reflect that whole situation.
So, on the flip side, if someone is unsatisfied with the response that they got from the feedback that they left you, almost 70% are going to be gone forever. They won't even consider shopping with you again. Then, 50% also warn the community. We're going back to that community aspect of reviews and helping people make good decisions. If someone does not feel satisfied or listened to, that almost amplifies that voice more of it was a negative experience, and because it's not addressed, it can have reverberations beyond that.
Those were two points of how just by maintaining and taking an active approach to your brand reputation can increase your sales just from a loyalty standpoint, additionally, building trust onsite can help you with your conversion rates. So, this specifically is an example we saw from our client Furniture Choice. They saw a 22% increase in conversion by adding reviews to their checkout page. So, specifically what we mean here is when there is a call to action on your site, whether that be a pay now button, like in this example. Whether it be a register now, something like that, we typically see an increase in conversion rates when you are putting that social proof or those verified third-party reviews right next to that. So, the button is something, someone is making a commitment, they're making a choice.
Before they do that is really where in your mind you're going through, "Okay, I'm committing to the decision." So by having the voices of others, and showing the good work that you do for your customers, can help make getting to that click and getting that completed, can increase that and cut down on the number of people that take a step back and say they need to do a little bit more research.
As consumers are really only able to make these digital purchases, I think that that's a key strategy that should be implemented asap absolutely.
How leveraging your reputation can grow sales
An example from TaxSlayer... They've highlighted their Trustpilot reviews directly on their homepage. So, really this says that you are a transparent company and you have nothing to hide. You're putting your customer feedback right on the very front page of the website. People have just found you, and you are showing what your feedback is. I think this can cut back on the number of people that then leave your site and go and try to find what others are saying about you. If you're upfront with that, it really just establishes right away your philosophy on feedback, and those are the types of companies that people want to work with.
Even SOCi display their Trustpilot reviews. They don't necessarily have a buy now button, but it's still incredibly important to showcase what other consumers are saying, because as a brand or as a business, you can tout how great you are all the time, but until someone hears it from someone else, they really don't count it as true.
The power of product reviews
If you are an eCommerce company, product reviews have a similar, if not greater, impact, and are really important in seeing conversions. Some of the great things about product reviews is that they are different than just a brand-level review, where it's specific feedback about this specific product someone's going to buy. That really can help in a buying decision, especially if it's the type of product that they can buy from multiple sources.
We did a study with Ann Summers, just by implementing product reviews on their site. They saw a 230% increase in conversions for product pages with five stars. That's great, but also to be expected in some sort. I would think that showing great reviews means more people are going to buy your product. What is really interesting is they saw a 76% increase in conversions with pages with a one-star rating. So, rating is always going to be important, but having the content there and showing it to customers is actually beneficial regardless of what the rating is.
So that is all to say, especially for product reviews, don't be nervous about asking for feedback, even if there is an issue or it is one to two star, that has benefits that come along with it as well.
It's all about the context, because someone could have a really negative experience, but if they explain it in their review, and you're like, "Oh, this is either a one-off situation or not something that I find issue with," I think it's more authentic to have positive than negative, for sure. We've been saying this whole time consumers are smart, they're savvy, they're doing their research. That also applies to when they read the reviews. If you were putting your side out there and your response out there, they're able to make an educated decision on what would have been fair in that situation and what is a reasonable response.
Key strategies to implement today
We've thrown a ton of really awesome data, but also hopefully some key takeaways. We want to just summarize it, but I know we've covered these throughout. I think there are just some key strategies that you can implement today to make a true impact in your online reputation. Really, some important notes you should be reviewing the metrics, whether it's review response time, your review rating, your volume of reviews, whatever it is, and you should really be sharing those and stressing the importance of this with your team, because we have all this data to really back up with facts that your online reputation management is a key tactic in order to increase revenue, to increase sales, whatever it is. That's the ultimate goal, right?
So, ensuring that your team is on the same page is really key. You should also ensure that your business, again, is responding to reviews. I think both SOCi and Trustpilot cannot stress this more, but you should be responding to them in a timely manner, but then also really attempting to stay ahead of those benchmarks. Whatever your industry expectation is for review response time, ensure that you're meeting or exceeding that expectation.
You can take a look at your competitors, see how quickly they're responding to reviews, see what percentage of review response rate that they're receiving. Just really ensure that you're staying above the curve on that. Also, you should determine if your business is currently, obviously, first whether or not you're using third-party review site, like a Trustpilot, but if not, it's something that you should be considering because as they mentioned throughout all of their research, people are looking to these major platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, whatever it is through digital channels. But also, they're looking to those third-party review site because our consumers now in this digital age, they're smart, they're super savvy. They're not going to a site looking at one and done and determining their purchase decision. They're truly doing their research.
It's important for every multi-location business to consider the different review platforms that you're prioritizing. Then also, a key takeaway is to leverage your positive online reputation to help build an overall strong brand reputation through user-generated content.
There are many ways that you can leverage the positive content that you receive through online reviews, and really help fuel that user-generated content strategy for social.
If you'd like to learn more about Trustpilot and how reviews can help you out, check out our complete guide to reviews below!