Just in case you haven’t heard this before, we’ll say it again: Online reviews are now an increasingly popular way to learn about a business and make a buying decision. Increasingly, brands and businesses are investing in online review monitoring tools to secure their reputation and take necessary steps to maintain customer trust and loyalty.
With 87 percent of consumers today reading online reviews, businesses need to be aware of everything that is being said about them. It’s not an exaggeration to say that one comment from a disgruntled customer can have potentially disastrous effects, so taking customer feedback for granted can have serious consequences for your brand’s reputation and long-term growth.
What is reputation monitoring? In this article, we’ll tackle the answer to this question and discuss why it is vital for the survival of your business. We’ll also get into the advantages of hiring a reputation monitoring service to make the process streamlined and efficient for business owners.
What Is Online Reputation Monitoring?
Online reputation monitoring, also known as online review monitoring and online brand monitoring, involves collecting customer feedback for your business across different digital platforms. Customer feedback is primarily seen in the form of online customer reviews published on websites like Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor or Facebook.
If the concept sounds familiar to you, it’s because online brand monitoring is a major component of social proof, a buzzword promoting the theory that people are influenced by the opinions of others and are likely to follow their recommendations. It also applies the method of social listening, where marketers track what is being said about a brand in conversations online.
Businesses that take time to monitor online reviews enjoy many benefits. Online reputation monitoring is done primarily to improve your online reputation and, as a result, acquire more leads and increase revenue. Online review monitoring is also a proactive way of finding and resolving potentially damaging feedback that might harm your business.
To efficiently monitor customer feedback, particularly online reviews, most businesses use an online review monitoring tool or hire a third-party reputation monitoring service. Other smaller organizations might not have the budget for this, so they would manually collect customer feedback.
No matter the method, businesses need to monitor online reviews for a number of reasons.
Why Your Business Should Implement Online Review Monitoring
If it were not for social listening and monitoring online reviews, you would have little to no idea of what people think about your brand. Without the guidance of brand monitoring services, some business owners may have an inaccurate view of their products and services, without realizing how it can still be improved from a customer’s point of view.
Acquire Authentic Customer Insights
Collecting customer feedback such as online reviews is an opportunity to dig deeper into the quality of your brand and how customers think it can be better. If the same issue is mentioned in multiple reviews, then you’re looking at an area that might need to get fixed as soon as possible.
Take advantage of reputation monitoring software to identify areas of improvement for your business and take the necessary action to provide a better customer experience. You can collect customer data on your most common complaints and work on them to provide better service, resulting in increased customer satisfaction, which is vital to your online reputation management strategy.
Protect Your Brand’s Reputation
Another crucial reason to monitor online reviews involves your business’s reputation. Not all online reviews can be trusted and accepted as social proof. Sometimes, your business might be a victim of fake reviews. Fake reviews are incorrect or fraudulent reviews posted by a competitor to bring down your overall review rating, which can affect customer trust and cause your sales to plummet.
If you think fake reviews aren’t a real problem you need to be concerned about, think again. In 2019, a U.K. consumer group reported that one in seven hotels has possibly fake reviews on popular travel site, TripAdvisor. In a separate report, The Washington Post said that over 61 percent of reviews on Amazon are fake.
These types of reviews have identifiable characteristics and can be easily detected if you use an online review monitoring tool or hire brand monitoring services. If you do find fraudulent reviews, you can immediately take action to flag these reviews or remove them entirely.
Review sites like Google and Yelp have a feature to report a review if you feel it is fraudulent. There is no guarantee that fake reviews will be taken down, but it’s better to make the effort than risk damaging your brand for a false and fabricated review. This process can be tedious if you get a lot of fake reviews, so having a reputation monitoring software or some kind of online review monitoring tool is highly recommended for this situation.
Respond Quickly to All Reviews
Reputation management experts recommend responding to all online reviews. The latest BrightLocal Consumer Survey of 2020 reports that among those who have written reviews, only 77 percent remember getting a response. This is unfortunate, because businesses can get great results when they consistently reply to every review that comes in.
Business owners might think that responding to reviews is a waste of time, but this is far from the truth. BrightLocal’s 2020 Consumer Survey reveals that 96 percent of people read a business’s response to a review.
The problem that most businesses have is that monitoring reviews and responding to all of them requires tremendous work. Even when presented with review monitoring tools, some business owners might hesitate to invest money and training into using them, simply because they think it’s too technical.
Fortunately, there are many brand monitoring services that help businesses manage their reputation online without having to train employees or learn new skills. Investing in a review monitoring software can make the process faster and easier for everyone involved. Most online review monitoring services provide the option for users to respond to reviews right from the software, eliminating extra steps while getting the job done.
How To Monitor and Respond to Online Review
If it’s your first time monitoring online reviews, it can be confusing just to start. Here, we lay down some basic guidelines for getting started with online reputation monitoring, regardless of whether you’re working with a reputation monitoring service or doing it on your own.
Set Your Goal
Before you start monitoring your reviews, you need to set an objective. Whether it’s to decrease negative reviews, or hit a specific number of reviews within a month, it’s important to write this goal down at the beginning. Your goal should guide the rest of your online reputation monitoring campaign.
For example, Rize Reviews worked with a basement systems company that came to us with two goals: generating more reviews and building their Google review rating. Our online review monitoring service helped them achieve a Google rating of 4.9 stars from 4.0 and an increase of reviews by 32 percent in the first 9 months of working with us.
Select Your Monitoring Method
You need to determine whether you want to conduct online reputation monitoring using a reputation monitoring software or tool or if you want to do it manually. Either way, set up a clear system that you or your staff can follow step by step.
Rize Reviews online review monitoring software provides a unified dashboard that shows all online reviews from multiple platforms, which cuts down on the time you need to spend collecting data.
While you can certainly monitor reviews manually, you might need to switch to review monitoring tools in the future, as your business grows and your reviews increase over time.
Formulate a Standard Response
Although it’s recommended to always create a personalized and unique response to every customer review, you might find it too time consuming, especially if you’re doing review response manually.
Having a review response template for several scenarios can help you finish writing your responses faster while maintaining a consistent quality in all your responses.
To learn more about responding to online reviews and using an online review response template, our resource should help get you started.
Track Your Progress
When you’ve been monitoring your reviews for a while, step back and check your progress. Using an online review monitoring software, you can identify metrics that are relevant to your goal, such as number of reviews received vs. number of review responses made.
You can also track your overall review ratings on sites like Google, Yelp or Facebook to see if they’ve increased or decreased since starting your online brand monitoring.
Some online review monitoring services can get this done for you and present a comprehensive report on the status of your reviews and how they are affecting your business.
Getting Started With the Best Online Review Monitoring Solution
While implementing an online brand monitoring strategy is evidently beneficial for your business, you might think that you don’t have enough time or resources to devote to yet another marketing initiative.
For years, Rize Reviews has helped brands and small businesses compete in their market with cost-effective online review monitoring solutions and online review monitoring software.
In addition to collecting all online reviews from 100+ websites, Rize Reviews’ review monitoring service can:
• Filter star reviews – Reviews that are 4 to 5 stars get published, while low review ratings are forwarded to a reputation management specialist for proper intervention.
• Monitor multiple locations – We offer customized solutions for different business branches/locations.
• Send email alerts – Get email notifications for every new customer review you receive.
Our review monitoring system also integrates with other Rize Reviews products, including the Rize review widget and review generation. To describe Rize’s review monitoring services in a nutshell, our reputation management specialist Courtney Quigley has this to say:
“Our dashboard is a one-stop-shop for all your reviews across all platforms you choose to monitor via Rize. We integrate with 100+ listing platforms across all industries and are consistently adding new ones as we grow. We can also send customized email notifications to you directly, whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly summaries of new reviews or even every time a new review is posted so you can review and take action.”
If you’re ready to get started with a streamlined and convenient way to monitor your reviews, get in touch with Rize for a free demo.