Mastering the 4 Aspects of Multi-Location Reputation Management
August 20, 2015 | Contributed by: Manish Patel
The saying “consistency is key” is important when running a business, and it can be quite difficult to cling to that consistency when your business is being run on different coasts—or even different continents. You have worked very hard to get the image and tone of your business just right for your customers, but when reviews come in there is a clear indication of where the company is succeeding… and where it needs a little extra refinement.
The reality is, most of your customers are using search engines to shop locally. From there, 50% of local searchers call or stop by a location within 24 hours. During their exploration, your location’s reputation is bound to come up through Google’s star rating or website reviews. In order to manage multi-location and improve your business’ reputation, I want you to think about it in four levels.
Level 1: Monitoring and listening
There is a firehouse of people talking about your business, and their comments matter—whether they are recent and consistent or not. Even if a bad review is out of date, current and potential customers can still view it, and 70 percent of people share reviews with friends and family. What if that one time a customer was dissatisfied turned into hundreds of missed opportunities?
This is why I recommend really listening to the valuable feedback your customers are giving you because, really, it’s only going to help you. Every time a customer has given me feedback, it has allowed me to sit back and think, “How can I use this to improve?” and that’s where I want your mindset to be as you’re scaling past this first level.
Level 2: Knowing the channels
So you’re getting the messages and now you want to understand where they’re coming from. Customers can go to Google, Yelp, social media (whether it’s yours or theirs) and even contact corporate offices in order to give feedback on a product or service. That’s a lot to pay attention to, but if you implement the right brand management tools that can combine your online presence in one place, you’ll be taking a lot of stress off your shoulders.
With these tools, you’ll be able to see everything on one screen in order to understand how your business is impacting your customers. You can then analyze the data as you would a report card and figure out which regions are making positive (and negative) impressions in order to enhance experiences. You need to get in on the action and know what is really happening with your business, so this brand management software can be exactly the piece you’re looking for.
Level 3: Responding to reviews
Now that you have everything in front of you, what are you going to do with it? In terms of bad reviews, we all pretty much know the drill; you need to respond to them. Chances are you already have a social media strategy, so you should apply the same frame of mind when setting up a system for reputation management. Ask who should be responding to these comments? One person? Many? Should it be handled locally or through corporate?
My advice would be to try and take the discussion offline with a local employee who thoroughly understands corporate messaging and response processes. This shows a customer that you’re concerned with answering their needs on a personal level, and it avoids multiplying the responses to the review. When it comes to good reviews, you should be responding to those, too. Thank a customer for their response and encourage them to continue their praise on other platforms.
Level 4: Building better reviews
Good reviews. Bad reviews. You’ll have a bit of everything sprinkled in. What you want to know is how to build better reviews. This level isn’t about faking reviews, it’s about figuring out ways to cultivate genuine customer satisfaction. Customers are going to have issues with things like pricing, wait time, products or services, so the best way to build better reviews is by training your employees and following the steps from the previous levels. 71 percent of your customer’s perceptions are improved when they see a positive response to a review on social media, so make sure you’re making connections whenever possible.
Taking the time to create a positive and consistent presence at each one of your locations should be a top priority. Understanding these levels of reputation and how to manage them will allow for deeper insight into your business and—more importantly—your customers.