The Anatomy of a Good Online Review System
Many business owners who understand the need for online reviews put systems in place that aim to help their company gather reviews from clients, patrons, and patients. The problem is how do you know if your review system is good or as optimized as it could be?
We’re going to outline the anatomy of a good online review system that you can use to start improving your online reputation starting today.
Everything You Need for a Good Online Review Solicitation System
Getting a good system in place for consistently gathering reviews shouldn’t take you too much time, but it must be well-thought out to make sure that you’re successful without breaking any rules of use with these review platforms.
Here’s what you need to develop to have a full-fledged review system in place:
1. An Understanding of the Importance of Online Reviews
Everyone on the RepCheckup team understands that reviews are important, and if you’re reading this then chances are that you’re starting to understand just how important reviews are when it comes to preserving your online reputation.
So, the next step to understanding how to create a good review system is knowing how the whole thing works!
Online review websites, as a whole, side with reviewers in the interest of retaining the unbiased nature that allows these platforms to be “safe spaces” for people’s opinions to reside. This also means that you have to understand that offering discounts or gift cards in exchange for a review breaks the rules of most platforms, as it incites reviewers to leave (positive) reviews on your profiles. Though they may have a hard time tracking if this is happening, platforms are trying to crack down on this so it’s best to avoid compensating for reviews.
You must also understand that building your online reputation is an on-going process and that you will likely receive a few bad reviews along the way. To learn more about this, make sure you check out our blog on whether or not one bad review really matters and how to respond to negative reviews.
2. Training on How to Solicit and Respond to Online Reviews
The main mechanism of a good online review system is the training that your staff receives in order to be successful.
Staff needs to understand why online reviews are important and that asking every person is a key ingredient in this endeavor.
We always recommend that staff asks every person when appropriate, meaning it’s probably best not to ask a screaming customer if they want to leave a review for your company. Instead, staff should be friendly and ask during conversation, such as during their checkout, in order to have a natural segway into leaving a review.
Staff should also be trained on what platforms to mention, as well as knowing some basic instructions to help people who may not know how to leave a review. This could be as simple as walking your staff through the review process themselve. Just make sure your staff doesn’t leave reviews on the business, as this is considered an unethical way of improving your reviews.
3. Targeting Potential Customers Who Are Likely to Leave a Positive Online Review
One of the final pieces of a good review system is your targeting process. Most businesses choose to target the biggest platforms first, which is exactly what we recommend. Since Google is the most popular search engine, it’s a good place to start as it’s more likely that researching prospective clients will find you through Google.
Part of the targeting process is determining what websites you’ll be pointing clients to, such as hitting Google, Facebook, and Bing, but also lining up the other websites you’ll target in addition to your main profiles in the future.
We recommend training staff to target one profile at first (like Google), eventually adding on one or two before ramping down your efforts on those two websites and swapping them out for a few industry-specific websites. In general, you should always be trying to get reviews on Google but having a few reviews on other websites is something to strive for.
4. Ongoing Monitoring of Your Online Review Profiles
Once you have trained your staff, built up their understanding of the process, and targeted certain platforms, it’s time to begin monitoring.
Setting up the online review monitoring process is simple. You will want to schedule set times during the week to review your main profiles. Some people choose to do every day for ten minutes, others prefer to schedule an hour at the end of the week to get through everything.
While it is possible to monitor all of your online review profiles individually, many business owners prefer using tools like ours to see everything in one streamlined dashboard that also offers an additional method of soliciting reviews as well as providing data on the reviews you do get.
Monitoring your reviews also means answering them as they roll in, which is why having a set schedule is so important. When prospective clients see that you actively respond to both positive and negative reviews, it’s good sign that you’re communicative with your clients and value their opinion.
To make sure everything gets done as it should, appoint one specific person to handle the responsibilities of review monitoring. Having a point-person handle this responsibility ensures that review solicitation will not fall by the wayside when things get busy.
Once you have everything in place, you’ll be able to monitor and maintain your online reputation with ease.