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How to Build an Online Review Management Strategy

Jessica True | April 11, 2024 |

online reviews Featured
How to Build an Online Review Management Strategy

Customers tend to listen to other customers, and online reviews are hugely influential. It’s therefore more important than ever to be aware of what people are saying about your brand online. 

By managing reviews effectively, you can enhance your reputation, boost sales, and ultimately increase the success of your business. With reviews being posted on company websites, social media pages, and sites like Google and Yelp, an online review management strategy has become a necessity for businesses operating in today’s market. 

But what exactly is an online review management strategy, and why do you need one? In this article, you’ll discover the answers to these questions and more. 

What is online review management? 

Online review management refers to the process of monitoring, analyzing, and responding to reviews posted about your brand online. This allows you to gain insights into the customer experience, monitor what’s being said about you, and respond efficiently. 

Online review management should thus be an important aspect of your marketing strategy. 

A good online review management strategy typically includes the following processes: 

  • Review generation 
  • Review monitoring 
  • Review response
  • Review analysis 
  • Review promotion 

Taking these steps will help protect your brand image, build a loyal customer base, and improve your online reputation. We’ll look at each step in more depth later in this article. 

How is online review management different from online reputation management?

While they’re definitely linked, online review management differs from online reputation management. In fact, the former is simply one facet of an online reputation management strategy. 

Online reputation management includes looking at a brand’s online presence as a whole, which includes its website, social media pages, forum mentions, and blog posts, as well as online reviews. 

Why is online review management important? 

Today, customers leave reviews for everything. Business owners might list the pros and cons of project management or real estate software. Tourists share their thoughts on local activities and restaurants. Consumers dish out their opinions on beauty products and stores. The point is, people’s opinions are everywhere – and they can make or break your reputation.

A recent study found that 94% of consumers will avoid a business if they read a negative review online. The huge rise in mobile phone use also means consumers have the ability to look up information about your business while they’re physically visiting your premises. This may be to compare prices, find alternative store locations, and check online reviews before making a purchase. 

Whether you’re a small local business or a large corporation, reviews matter. Positive feedback is critical for your success, as the research linked above also showed that most customers are only interested in companies with at least a four-star rating. 

Generally speaking, consumers seek out trustworthy and customer-focused businesses to spend their money with. Therefore online review management can be as important as shaping your brand identity for most businesses. 

Ergo, listening to them and enhancing your customer experience is critical for your ongoing success (in this digital age, online review management is as important as a cybersecurity risk management program for most businesses).

Successful online review management helps businesses monitor and track both positive and negative feedback, respond to reviews more effectively, and take action to improve the customer experience. 

You can also leverage positive reviews for marketing purposes, which can improve your brand image and help you stay ahead of the competition. 

How to Build an Online Review Management Strategy

A successful online review management strategy needs to be simple yet thorough. Here, we’ll explain five steps involved in building one. 

1. Review generation 

Proactively asking for reviews from your customers might feel difficult or unnatural, but it should form an essential part of your strategy. 

To reach out to customers directly, you need to make sure you have permission to contact them via email or SMS. You can simplify this process for them by providing direct links to review sites with carefully selected call to action words.

Depending on the type of business you run, you can generate reviews in the following ways: 

  • Via post-transaction review request emails
  • Via customer satisfaction surveys 
  • Via review landing pages
  • Via social media polls 
  • Via SMS feedback requests 

If you’re wondering how to use AI at work, this is a perfect task for this tech as you can save yourself time by setting up an automated system for post-transaction contact with your customers. 

It’s also worth offering incentives to write reviews, such as future discounts or entry into a prize draw. Just be careful you don’t take this too far and buy reviews—you need them to be from genuine customers writing about a genuine experience. 

Consider integrating this into your user onboarding process. If you set up automated requests or triggered emails, as we’ve listed above, you’ll save time and generate reviews when a customer’s experience is fresh in their minds.

2. Review monitoring 

To improve your online reputation and enhance your review management, you must be acutely aware of what’s being said about your brand online. Monitoring reviews is an essential step in a successful management strategy. 

For small businesses, this can be done manually by regularly checking review platforms or setting up alerts when a review is posted. However, for a more sophisticated approach, consider investing in an automated review management tool. 

A good tool can collect, monitor, and respond to customer reviews efficiently, as well as provide valuable insights into review content. This should help you organize and enhance your review management strategy and take informed action to improve the customer experience. 

For example, your review management software might highlight that your customers want to be able to contact you more easily. You can then take steps to improve your service by investing in the best contact center solutions

3. Review response 

Responding to reviews (both positive and negative) is best practice. It tells your customers and prospective customers that you care about their opinions and take their feedback on board. This helps strengthen your reputation re. caring about customer satisfaction as well as encouraging meaningful engagement with your clients. 

Respond to your reviews quickly, and formulate your responses carefully. For positive reviews, thank the reviewer for taking the time to write them, express gratitude for their loyalty, and make your response personal where possible. 

When it comes to negative reviews, thank the reviewer for taking the time to give you feedback and express how you’ll take it on board to make improvements. It’s vital to address their concerns and make sure they feel heard. If necessary, apologize for any mistakes and give specific details about what you’ll do to rectify the situation. 

Whatever you do, try to remain professional in your responses. It would be bad practice to do any of the following: 

  • Delete the review 
  • Ignore it 
  • Respond rudely or aggressively 
  • Reply with automated responses 

Keep in mind that although you’re responding directly to the reviewer, this interaction is likely to be on a public forum. This means your current and future customers can read your response too. Stay true to your brand voice, and keep it professional.

4. Review analysis 

As part of your review management strategy, you should complete an audit of your reviews and analyze any common themes or concerns. This will give you a picture of what your customers experience when they purchase from you. 

Your audit might highlight several positive and negative points that prompt you to take action. For example, you might discover a particular employee is regularly praised for their customer service efforts. Perhaps there’s a dish in your restaurant that’s a favorite with your diners, or a platform as a service solution that’s attracting praise.  

Additionally, considering employee satisfaction as reflected in reviews can provide valuable insights into your team's performance and areas for improvement.

This type of information can help you make informed decisions about the future of your business (e.g. maybe that employee is next in line for a promotion). 

It’s important to be aware of any common pain points, too. If something is brought up regularly by multiple reviewers, you likely need to address it. Perhaps your reviews highlight that you need to work on your customer service or have an ongoing supply and demand issue with your stock. Whatever it is, make sure you take steps to rectify it. 

To gain more in-depth insights into this feedback, consider using conversation intelligence software to analyze your data and help you understand exactly what your customers love and what you need to be better at. 

5. Review promotion

Finally, as part of your online review management (and wider marketing) strategy, you should promote your reviews. This involves spotlighting positive testimonials and showcasing what you’re good at. 

You can show off some of your best reviews on your website with a dedicated landing page or build some review promotion into your email marketing. Social media is great for showcasing this too, so schedule regular posts on your pages that are dedicated to highlighting glowing feedback. 

Additionally, don't forget to market your ecommerce website by leveraging positive reviews for wider brand exposure and engagement.

Drawing attention to positive reviews can boost your reputation, build trust among customers, and ultimately support your long-term success.

The power of a successful online review management strategy 

When it comes to online feedback, customers wield a huge amount of power. However, with the right online review management strategy, you can take steps to protect and enhance your reputation. 

Generating positive reviews from happy customers and responding to both positive and negative feedback alike is essential. Let your customers know you care about what they have to say, and take steps to rectify any common complaints and improve the customer experience. 

As well as this, a good online review management strategy should monitor and analyze reviews, and make a real effort to promote positive feedback.

With the right planning, customer engagement, and data analysis, your online review management strategy can hugely impact the success of your business. 

Author Bio: Jessica True - Senior Director, Marketing Strategy & Operations
Jessica True is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy and Operations at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts for both company and client campaigns.