Today’s digital age has introduced new forms of word-of-mouth marketing that spreads in just one click and is accessible in many electronic formats. The largest and potentially most impactful source of company feedback is through consumer reviews. Consumers have the luxury of accessing and commenting on a variety of review sites that are a digital form of the old-school yellow pages, which provide consumers much more than just office hours or location information. With the ability to figuratively step into someone’s shoes and experience a company’s offerings, consumers can see how the company operates and how it ranks compared to other companies.
Consumers have the power to advertise for a business through personal opinion, potentially benefitting a company in several ways. Through positive reviews, companies can ensure their businesses are keeping their customers satisfied along with increasing their chances of acquiring new customers. On the other hand, if a consumer expresses a negative connotation towards a company, it can harm the business exponentially. One negative review can negate several positive reviews for a business. The old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” does not apply to an unhappy consumer. If a consumer is passionate enough to write about their experience with a company, they most likely have either had a very positive experience or, on the flip side, have had such a bad experience that they want the company’s business to suffer.
So how can companies ensure positive reviews for their businesses? The answer may seem obvious – customer service has always been and will continue to be the foundation of a successful company. But sadly with the power of the internet, exceptional customer service is simply not enough anymore.
Companies should allocate significant time toward reputation management. Through reputation management, companies increase their chances of scoring positive consumer reviews and avoiding negative publicity. Companies can monitor their reputation by keeping up with customer reviews, quickly addressing any negative issues a consumer may have, and ensuring customer satisfaction through customer feedback solutions such as surveys.
While the internet may be an outlet for consumers to publically offer reviews about a company, it is in the company’s best interest to ensure those reviews are nothing but positive. Companies shouldn’t give a customer or potential customer a reason to review them in a negative way. Through solid reputation management efforts, companies can avoid negative publicity, ensure customer satisfaction, and increase their potential for new customers.