3 Common Objections to Reputation Management

Hannah Brown | March 14, 2018
Reputation Management

Your potential customers are finding reviews about you online. Here’s what you can do to shape that conversation.

reputation management agency in lancaster pa

Importance of Online Reviews

Word of mouth has always been the most effective marketing. Online reviews are simply word-of-mouth marketing. Online reviews are becoming an increasingly important form of digital marketing. And reputation management – when you ask for reviews, engage with reviewers, and cultivate accurate, authentic reviews across the internet – is a crucial part of local SEO.

Reasons to Engage in Reputation Management

  1. Improve rankings and clicks in local search. To stand out from the crowd and increase non-paid traffic to your site, you’ll need to ask for more reviews.
  2. Minimize impact of negative/neutral reviews. More positive reviews will push down the negative reviews and increase your star ratings.
  3. Engage with your customers. Responding to reviews can help you learn more about how customers view your business, staff, and product/service.

Reputation Management Stats:

  • 97% of consumers (ages 18-34) read online reviews to judge a local business (source)
  • 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (source)
  • Brands with Google reviews result in 360% increase in site visits from local search results (source)

3 Common Objections to Online Reviews

While plenty of stats show the benefits of asking for online reviews, it can still be hard for a local business owner to engage with reputation management. Most of those concerns revolve around 3 areas: dealing with negative reviews, losing control of what people say, and asking for reviews.

1. What can I do about negative reviews?

negative reviewMost business owners are nervous about being overwhelmed with negative reviews. Even one negative review online can cause owners and marketing managers to lose sleep at night. And while there may not be much you can do about a negative review, it is not the end of the world.

Consider putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. They are looking at online reviews to help them decide where to spend their hard-earned money. They don’t want to be scammed; they want to make a wise choice. If they stumble upon your listing and see you have a 100% review score, without any critical or neutral reviews, they may become suspicious.

Consumers know that businesses can’t be perfect; your online reviews should reflect that truth. According to one study, consumers have higher trust and are more likely to make a purchase when your rating is between 4.2 and 4.5 stars (source). Neutral ratings (3 stars) are often the most honest: they point out a healthy mixture of good and bad from the reviewer’s experience with your company. And negative reviews (1 and 2-star reviews) provide you with an opportunity to engage with the reviewer and fix the mistake.

2. Is there a way to control what people say?

online review managementAnother objection companies have with online reviews is that it gives anyone and everyone a chance to comment on your location, products/services, and staff. You have no control over what your audience says about you online. While this give your passionate fans a platform to share their love of your company, online review sites can also be a target for inaccurate or untrue reviews from your competitors or disgruntled former employees.

Depending on the website and your industry, there are some ways to stop and remove spam reviews from your listing. But if someone has a bad experience with your business, and they write a review about it, there is usually nothing you can do to stop it or remove it.

What you can do is respond to it. Responding to negative or neutral reviews can show your potential customers that the customer experience matters to you and that you work hard to find a resolution to problems. Plus, negative reviews can point out weaknesses in your company, to which you can address and correct the issue.

We recommend business owners and marketing staff respond to your online reviews – both positive and negative. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, overall ratings increase by 0.12 stars, and there’s a 12% increase in the number of reviews, when businesses respond to their reviews. Of course, you’ll need access to your account so you can respond as the business or business owner, which most review sites offer.

3. How do I ask for reviews naturally?

The final objection we hear is around how to ask for reviews. Business owners and managers are not always open to asking for reviews from their customers, thinking it will come across as awkward or self-serving.

People are getting used to receiving requests for leaving online reviews. According to one study, 68% of consumers leave a review for a local business when they are asked (source). The key is figuring out the best way to ask for a review naturally, without turning people off or running afoul of a website’s term of service.

For most of our clients, we use GetFiveStars. This feature-rich service helps business owners receive feedback on their service, while directing those with the best experience towards leaving an online review.
getfivestars logo

We also use a variety of offline tactics for asking for online reviews. Brick and mortar stores can use in-store signage and review cards at checkout to ask for reviews. Service based companies, especially those that provide the customer with paperwork, can also use handout cards or follow-up emails to ask for a review during the closing process.

Start Building Your Online Reputation Today

Regardless of your views on online reviews, your customers will use them to comment on your business – and future customers will use these same reviews to evaluate you even before they visit your site. By effectively maintaining and cultivating your online review portfolio, you can stay ahead of your competition, increase your local search rankings, and attract new customers. For help with developing a robust reputation management strategy for your business, contact us today.