Lisa Genovese on Online Reputation Monitoring
In the social media era, online reputation monitoring is more important than ever. Today, we’re going to tell you why, as well as expert strategies for monitoring your own online reputation.
This post includes some of our favourite highlights and helpful tidbits from our conversation with Lisa Genovese, the founder and President of BottomLine, on the One Billion Raving Fans podcast.
(Be sure to catch the whole conversation with Lisa Genovese below!)
First, we wanted to hear from Lisa precisely what they do over at BottomLine. She explains that although many conflate them with a marketing agency, they are more of a market research, strategic planning consultancy first—but they also have an implementation division that handles marketing activities. As Lisa says, they really believe in using true market research data to inform business decision-making and to use that to inform strategy.
Why is Managing Your Online Reputation So Important?
We started with a bang, wondering exactly what it is that makes monitoring your online reputation more important than ever.
Lisa explains: “The easy answer here is, now more than ever, people are looking online for social proof, and bad reviews are not a good thing.”
When businesses do get a bad review online or something similar, Lisa points out, having an action plan in place for when that happens is critical, especially for those businesses that think it will never happen to them.
The best response to a bad review
But, as we all know, it does happen. And it happens all the time. So next, we posed a hypothetical situation to Lisa to find out what she would do.
Let’s say we own a restaurant, and one day, we get a scathing review from a customer who said their experience was awful. Their chicken was undercooked, the overall food quality was terrible, and the service, well… it sucked. How would Lisa recommend handling that situation?
Lisa explains that having a crisis communication plan in place before this happens is so helpful.
That way, you know exactly how to respond. It also prevents you from acting out of sheer emotion at the moment when you’re frustrated or upset about a bad review.
Lisa recommends taking a human approach to your response in this particular case. This means empathizing with the other person and then making it right. In fact, the best responses to bad reviews don’t disregard an issue. Instead, they accept responsibility for that issue.
Lisa explained how vital that accountability piece is related to online reputation management.
After all, other people reading that review will see you respond to it like an actual human.
And we know what you’re thinking, “But the customer isn’t always right.” So what should you do if you think the review is unwarranted? For example, if it’s from someone who didn’t interact with your business, including in the case of corporate espionage.
In these cases, Lisa explains, it’s best to respond calmly while also laying out the facts. For example, “We’re sorry you feel that way. We don’t have any record of your attendance or this interaction.” That way, other people seeing this review and your response can easily spot that it wasn’t warranted.
How influential are online reviews, really?
We also wanted to talk about how influential online reviews are regarding customers choosing businesses to visit. How influential is a 4.3-star review versus a 3.8 star, for example?
Lisa answers that there isn’t a perfect science for these things. However, she would say ultimately, online reviews are very influential. Lisa noted a statistic that reports 82% of customers or consumers still believe that they should trust an online review, even if it doesn’t have a name associated with it.
And while these reviews might influence purchasing decisions in B2C settings, it’s still essential in B2B settings: “You’re still dealing with a human or a person that has emotion, and they are still going to go and do their own research.”
How to monitor your online reputation
Considering how important online reviews and reputations are, we also wanted to know what we could do to monitor them.
Lisa lists social listening tools and Share of Voice tools among her favourite ways of doing so.
She explains how these can be helpful by offering up an example: keyword tracking. These tools can help you track the keywords you and your competitors use. They also tell you things like when there’s a significant spike in negative news relating to those keywords.
Then, you can use tools like Sprout Social to dig in further to these findings to get to the “why” of these negative reactions. This can tip you off to things you might need to address right away, so you stay on top of them.
Countering the effects of negative reviews
The best defence against negative reviews, besides offering incredible products and services, is having a plan in place for dealing with them. And in today’s world? These crisis management plans must include online reviews in addition to traditional media.
For example, this could include a handful of five or six talking points key members of your organization are prepared for. And then when it happens, organizations feel a whole lot more confident they’re not coming from an emotional place in their response.
(Wondering what people are saying online about WaitWell? Click here to find out!)
The future of online reputation management
Next, we wanted to hear what Lisa thinks the future holds when it comes to online reputation management and how people leave reviews.
Right now, Lisa is noticing a big shift from clients who are dumping Facebook altogether, although it’s still a common source of online reviews. She also thinks there will be a big shakeup in the online world in the coming year or so. Lisa also expects to see the viral nature of negative online reviews continue to ramp up.
This only further highlights this important fact: When something happens, you absolutely want to step up and respond right away.
However, as Lisa points out, if you’re unprepared for these situations, it’s better to say that. Or to take a pause rather than to say the wrong thing.
But how long is too long when it comes to responding to online reviews?
Lisa answers that it depends on the nature of the fire you need to put out: “If it is a, a really busy, big burning fire (like a sexual harassment claim), you do not want to leave it for 24 hours. If it’s something like a customer complaining about the chicken being cold at your restaurant, I’d say it’s totally appropriate to leave 24 to 48 hours to craft a response.”
Lisa leaves us with this final piece of advice for online reputation management, particularly for brands that can’t invest in outsourcing these services right now:
“If budget and time is a constraint, set up a simple Google alert for your brand name. Then, at the very least, you’re going to get an email when somebody has posted something about your business. And literally once a week, you can spend an hour sifting through those and make sure that there’s nothing that you have to deal with.”
How Can WaitWell Help with Online Reputation Management?
With all of these helpful insights about online reputation management in mind, we also wanted to share our two cents when it comes to what you can do to improve yours. With WaitWell’s queue management software, you put your customers in control of their wait and deliver a customer experience that delights.
The result? Along with happier customers and optimized service delivery, it also means better online reviews! Just check out how WaitWell boosted Google reviews and ranking for East Calgary Registry. We were able to increase reviews by 3,300 percent in the first year of implementation! Click this link to read the full study.