How to Automate your Online Reputation Management
This blog was written by the founder and CEO of Localyser, Tarik Qahawish
As a manager of your brand’s online reputation, it can be overwhelming to track and reply to online reviews, report on your stores' star rating and volume of reviews to upper management and analyze them to provide actionable insight to the operations team. Therefore, you need to automate as many of the time-consuming and repetitive tasks as possible.
Let me draw a picture for you: let’s say you work at an independent restaurant group that operates 3 different food concepts across 7 locations across the country. Each brand is completely different from the others in terms of cuisine, clientele, and pricing range. This means that the feedback you get from customers from online reviews is different as each brand, and sometimes location, suffers from its unique set of challenges.
To makes things even worse, each review site has its own audience as some like Yelp and Zomato focus on deal seekers while TripAdvisor is tailoring their reviews to tourists. Then you have Google Maps, your most used platform that targets everyone. Moreover, delivery apps, also known as food aggregators, generate reviews that are mostly related to the food delivery experience rather than the food taste or quality.
What are the areas of online reputation management that you should focus on and try to remove as much of the manual work as possible?
First, we need to identify the main areas of online reputation that will produce the highest ROI (Return on Investment) for your business. I wrote a detailed blog on this very topic called How to use online reviews to increase store sales (link). I summarize the main points here:
· Learning from online reviews to improve operations
· Responding to all reviews in a consistent manner.
· Generating positive reviews organically but with a little help
Learning from Online Reviews
1. Start with a weekly email report to front-of-the-line staff with a summary of new reviews.
2. Monthly star rating increases or decreases across all locations broken down by source (Google, TripAdvisor, Zomato, etc.).
3. Categorize reviews by topic or issue:
Responding to Reviews
1. Make sure your team has access to all your listing accounts on Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
2. Prepare well-written response templates.
3. Identify who will be responding, this can be centralized at the head office or decentralized at the store level.
4. Make this task part of their job role and establish performance objectives (e.g., minimum response rate and time).
Generating more Reviews
1. Asking customers organically and consistently and not as a campaign blitz.
2. Request for their feedback and not “hey, can you leave us a review please?”
3. Equip them with a feedback tool instead that suggests to the customer to share their comments online.
4. Incentives don’t have a significant incremental value.
Why is it Important
Nowadays, your guests trust reviews written by strangers more than anything you say. They also shop around more than ever. That means you must be laser-focused on understanding what drives customers’ decisions. If you are a growing multi-unit independent operator, managing several customer touch points has become inefficient.
In the age of customer reviews and digital word-of-mouth, how can a business participate in shaping its online reputation?
You can reach out to your customers and ask for feedback. It needs to be done in a certain way. Luckily, this blog gives you seven strategies to help to solicit feedback from your customers. Review generation is vital in this online world.