When faced with a buying decision, consumers only want the best. Naturally, they gravitate to trustworthy businesses, those with a track record of superb products and excellent customer service. For this reason, reputation management is instrumental to today’s business success.
The importance of reputation cannot be stressed enough. Reputation is an encompassing factor that exists long before and after the sale – it helps build brand awareness, gain customer trust and, ultimately, foster consumer loyalty. Thus, a straightforward online reputation management (ORM) strategy can drive consumers down the sales funnel stages and convert a prospect into a brand advocate.
In this blog, we discuss the five customer journey stages and the role of online reputation in each of them. We also outline the best practices for online reputation management to help your business build brand credibility and gain customer trust.
The Five Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is defined as the customer’s path to purchase. It can be broken down into five customer journey stages: awareness, consideration, purchase, service and loyalty.
The awareness stage is when consumers become aware of the existence of your business, as well as the products or services you offer. A good reputation makes people want to learn more about your business, while a bad rap drives them away.
Here are some ways to establish your business as a reputable brand and catch the attention of your prospective clients:
- Create a website: In this digital-focused world, a website is necessary for any business that wishes to reach its target market.
- Be on social media: There are over 3.6 billion active social media users globally – brands should leverage this massive consumer base to increase conversions.
- Run advertising campaigns: Ads can increase your reach multiple folds. Thanks to its targeting options, it will only show up to your target consumer.
Consideration is the buyer’s journey phase where potential customers consider your offerings as a possible solution to their problems. The stage aims to convince people you are the best choice among a sea of options. So, you should display information that makes your business credible and trustworthy.
Consideration is one of the customer journey stages that requires the most attention since it heavily focuses on reputation. Here are some strategies that you can implement:
Actively Generate Reviews
Customers turn to ratings and reviews to determine the trustworthiness of the business they plan to purchase from. Testimonial Engine reports that 72 percent of consumers won’t take any buying actions until they have read reviews of the product. In addition, 91 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
The more ratings and reviews you have, the more reputation and credibility you gain. Here are some effective methods to generate reviews for your profile on online review sites:
- Focus on one site: There are numerous online review sites, but it’s a good idea to focus your review gathering efforts on one platform.
- Email campaigns: Email is the most popular method of review generation because it produces results. Seventy percent of customer reviews come from post-transactional review request emails, reported ReviewTrackers.
- Social media posts: Post review requests on your social media profiles regularly. It’s also the best place to educate your audience that their reviews can help you improve your services.
- Website: Add calls to action (CTAs) on your website to encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Gathering reviews is just the first step – you also have to manage them to produce the best outcomes.
Engage with the ratings and reviews your business acquires. Make sure to thank customers who took the time to leave you a positive rating and respond to the negative ones appropriately. When you respond to your buyers on online review sites, you demonstrate your dedication to their satisfaction and to improving your business.
Negative customer experiences are inevitable, but they can be minimized and even reversed. The best way to detect issues that negatively impact your brand credibility is through continuous review monitoring.
However, monitoring reviews is a continuous, ongoing process, and getting it right takes time and effort. From a business standpoint, it makes the most sense to hire reputation management services to handle this part of the process for you. Experts from online reputation management companies use the industry’s best reputation management tool to generate reviews more seamlessly. They also turn review monitoring and management into a more straightforward process.
Purchase is the stage where the customer completes the transaction and buys your products or services. Many businesses incorrectly assume this is the final phase, but your goal should be to convert your customer into more than a one-time shopper. Ideally, the purchase stage turns your buyer into a brand advocate who does free and organic promo for your brand.
To make this happen, you have to meet your buyers’ expectations by proving that you are as reputable as you say you are. Here are ways to achieve this:
- Professional web design: A well-designed website leads to positive buyer impressions. According to WebFX, 75 percent of online consumers judge a brand’s credibility based on the design of its website.
- Secure payment options: Having secured payment options makes your customers feel at ease about their transactions. Make sure to display your verified badges to let them know they’re 100 percent safe and secure doing business with you.
Build a stronger connection with your buyers post-transaction by prioritizing reputation management to improve customer experience.
Customer experience (CX) is defined as everything related to a brand that affects a buyer’s perception of the establishment. According to Zendesk’s Trends Report, 50 percent of customers will switch to a competitor after one bad experience with a brand. In addition, if there is more than one bad experience, the number drastically increases to 80 percent.
How To Improve Customer Experience
The right CX strategies effectively increase customer retention and solidify brand credibility. So here’s how to improve customer experience using the industry’s best practices:
- Set realistic expectations about your product or service and never market false outcomes.
- Offer top-notch customer support. You could run a live chatbot to provide 24-hour customer service for your buyers.
- Sometimes, people want to solve the encountered issue without calling for support. For this reason, you should also provide self-help resources that are easy to access and contain comprehensive information.
- If you want to know how to improve customer experience, it’s helpful to seek advice from reputation management consultants. Experts from online reputation management companies understand the importance of reputation in enhancing customer experience and craft strategies with customer satisfaction in mind.
The Loyalty stage, the end-all-and-be-all of marketing, is where customers make repeated purchases and consider you their go-to provider. When you have people buying from you again and again and recommending your brand to their friends and f0llowers, you know you have achieved true success in the sales funnel stages. In this phase, your online reputation does the work for you.
Create customer feedback surveys to gather customer insights, both positive and negative. Feedback is the best way to upgrade your customer experience strategies.
Manage Your Online Reputation the Right Way
In a highly saturated market, your reputation is what sets you apart from the competition. So give your brand the edge it needs and let reputation management work for you throughout the sales funnel stages.
At Rize Reviews, we understand the importance of reputation better than anyone and how it plays into all facets of the buyer’s journey. That’s why we offer all-inclusive reputation management services that meet your customers at all touchpoints.
We leverage our reputation management tool to gather insights to put your business in front of your target customers and solidify your credibility online.
Whether you need help in reputation management, listings management or social media follower growth, Rize is always happy to serve. Call 886-325-0303 or fill out our online form to contact our reputation management consultants.