TripAdvisor set a precedent within the hotel and travel market, and revolutionised the power of customer reviews. 95 per cent of us would recommend TripAdvisor
reviews to others, who were looking for advice on hotels or holiday destinations.
The forward thinkers in the travel industry have capitalised on honest customers who have left reviews, to ensure word of mouth and recommendations is increasing their bookings, and increasing revenues. Wider markets are now seeing the impact of the growing review trend.
From products to services to employees rating their employers, everything is being reviewed online. All these aspects need to be managed effectively in order to protect, and grow, the reputation of a business.
As the consumerisation of IT evolves beyond just the devices we use in the workplace, we see this review trend impacting reputation, and it cannot be ignored. It is still one of the biggest threats to a company’s growth and future success. The more successful companies are harnessing this momentum to create great online reputations before their competitors do.
Negative reviews are an opportunity
Online reviews play an important role in any business, and while negative reviews can damage a reputation, they don’t have to. It is not always the review itself that can cause the damage, but the business’ response, or lack of.
Sometimes there is no appeasing an irate customer but, remember thousands of people are watching how you respond. If potential customers see a caring answer, taking feedback on board and improving the way you operate, it can have more of a positive impact on your reputation than ten glowing reviews.
Negative reviews won’t go away just because you don’t respond. No one knows this better than United Airlines. The likable (and inventive) Dave Carroll, whose guitar was broken by ground handlers while he was on a United flight, created the now-infamous 'United Breaks Guitars' song as a way of getting the airline’s attention, after emails and phone calls were ignored. Swift action by the airline would have avoided the three music videos, 15 million views, and endless media coverage.
By ignoring critical reviews, all businesses do is send customers three messages: we’re not listening, we don’t care about your experience or opinions, and we value our needs above our customer’s.
For many years, businesses have shied away from reviews for fear of the odd bad one. But as we have seen from the impact TripAdvisor has had on the hotel industry, businesses should embrace and actively encourage reviews, whether it is asking employees to rate working for your business on Glassdoor, or customers giving feedback on an industry forum.
The first step is to just be brave and ask people to review you. You will get some good, and some bad, but using the positive reviews effectively across the internet can propel your search rankings. Appearing on that first page of Google is a triumphant step.
For example; a positive review makes a great social media post: it promotes your business, draws attention to the review, and makes your social media profiles more dynamic and active, just remember to always link back to the original.
Spreading the positive words people have to say about your business, is just one step to helping you create an online reputation that is positive, successful and guaranteed to drive business growth.
Most importantly you need to remember that everyone has a right to their opinion. Negative reviews need to be taken for what they are, an opportunity. More reviews
increases your visibility online, which ultimately enhance your chance of consumers choosing you.
So don’t shy away from asking for reviews, instead embrace this change in online behaviour and encourage all of your clients and employees to review you.
Five things businesses can do to manage their reputations online
1. Continually monitor what’s being said about the business online
2. Always respond, either with a thank you for a positive review or with a promise to look into an issue
3. Make sure that someone is looking into the issue and take steps to improve your service for future customers
4. Create your voice. People want to hear from human beings not faceless corporate entities
5. Be seen to act on the feedback. Acting on negative feedback isn’t a display of weakness, it’s a sign that the business listens and really cares about what its customers have to say.
Richard Harrison, managing director UK, Reputation.com
Tel: 0800 0664 781