For decades companies have spent billions of dollars each year to tell their story and influence public perception of their brand. The U.S. alone was forecast to spend $191 billion in 2016*. Although advertising still engages and motivates potential customers, 90% of them also read online reviews before visiting a business, which is why an online review has become just as important as a personal recommendation**.
With 535 million reviews of over 7 million accommodations, airlines, attractions, and restaurants, TripAdvisor is a key player in the online review space. They have made it easy for their 96M members to share their experiences and you have the opportunity to engage every one of them individually^. Promoting TripAdvisor gives you another touch point to engage your customers and encourage them to help you make it better. Rally your team around a common goal: Achieve TripAdvisor Excellence status.
Dissatisfied customers are the most vocal. However, they are also the smallest percentage. Don’t let this minority brand your company. In sales, they say “ask for the sale.” Engage your customers and ask for the review. Motivate them by making it as easy as possible and making them feel like they are improving the service. Alan Weiss wisely said, “Ask your customers to be part of the solution and don’t view them as part of the problem.” You’ll be surprised how fast you can build loyalty and improve your online reputation.
Feedback is crucial. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. So how do we operate our businesses in this new climate of consumer engagement? Well, seventy percent of customers say a company’s response to a review can change their view of a company^^. So let’s start there. Here are three quick steps to improve your score and reputation.
Engage with reviewers and respond to existing comments in a timely manner. If you are just starting out, respond to the most recent and work your way back in time until you have responded to everyone. It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative response*^*.
Encourage your customers to post their experiences and leave reviews. Use posters and point of sale materials to ask for the review in your brick and mortar business. Ask for feedback and reviews in post visit or purchase email communications.
Maintain online engagement and watch your score increase.
Managing social reputations has to be included in your marketing plans. It is your opportunity to engage with consumers in a public setting and control the message, both good and bad.
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Sources: *https://www.statista.com/statistics/272315/advertising-spending-in-the-us-by-medium/ **https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-importance-of-online-customer-reviews-infographic/ ^https://tripadvisor.mediaroom.com/US-about-us ^^http://www.adweek.com/digital/how-should-you-handle-customer-complaints-or-praises-on-social-infographic/ *^*“Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner