As a multi-location business, you likely understand the importance of reputation management. Your business’s online reputation can significantly impact potential customers and can make or break your sales. For instance, more than half of consumers have passed up a company due to their local ratings and reviews. Similarly, 82 percent of consumers overall read online reviews. The data speaks for itself. Customers care about your business’s online reputation. Throughout this blog, we’ll dive into which reputation management tactics your multi-location business should focus on to maintain a strong reputation and keep customers coming back.
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An Impressive Star Rating
It should go without saying, but consumers expect a relatively high star rating from businesses. It’s challenging to provide an exact average star rating your business should aim for because they can vary across industries and even across business locations. With that being said, it’s important to note that only 53 percent of people would consider using a business with less than four stars. The higher star-rating your business locations have, the better. However, a perfect 5-star rating is not the answer. Consumers view 5-star ratings as inauthentic – so having a mix of positive and negative reviews, which result in a higher star rating, is best practice. Showcasing both the positive and negative experiences that your consumer has at your locations is key to gaining consumer trust.
If your multi-location business is just starting or has had difficulties in the past that brought your average star rating to below four stars, don’t panic! There are other factors consumers consider when deciding where to do business, and there are always ways your business can boost its overall star ratings as well. For instance, improving your services and increasing the volume of ratings and reviews your company receives is a great place to start, which we’ll explore next.
A Strong Volume of Ratings and Reviews
Although an impressive average rating is a great way to stand out from the competition, consumers also expect a substantial volume of ratings and reviews. If your business has a five-star rating but only two reviews, many consumers will wonder if they can trust the ratings. The more ratings and reviews your business has, the more trustworthy it seems. Think about it, it can be easy to get a few friends or colleagues to leave highly positive reviews about your business to maintain a high star rating, but it is a lot harder and more impressive to have a high star rating with 100s of ratings and reviews.
So what does it take for your business to build its volume of reviews? While you can’t directly ask for ratings and reviews from consumers, there are more discreet ways to get them. For instance, your business can leave a CTA at the bottom of a receipt asking for a review. Similarly, you could include a chatbot on your business’s website and social channels that provides consumers with the opportunity to leave a review at the end of a chat. The more chances a consumer has to quickly leave a review, the more likely they’ll do so. For more insight into how your business can increase its volume of reviews, check out our blog on the topic.
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Reviews Across Search and Social Platforms
While the volume of reviews is essential to consumers, it’s just as necessary to ensure that your ratings and reviews are spread across various search and social platforms. The lines between search and social have become blurred, so reviews are now necessary on all major search and social channels. According to SOCi’s 2021 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report, the top three localized search and social channels used by multi-location marketers are Facebook, Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, and Yelp. It would help if you had reviews in all three of these places, rather than having all of the reviews left on your website or your Google Business Profile. If a consumer sees one of your business locations on Facebook, and that page lacks reviews, it might stand out as a red flag to a potential customer. To prevent this from happening, your multi-location business should encourage reviews to be left on various platforms.
Timely Responses to Reviews
Now that we’ve covered the importance of gaining reviews and maintaining a solid star rating, it’s time to discuss responding to reviews. Currently, what percentage of reviews do your business locations respond to? While responding to 100 percent of reviews received is ideal, it’s also critical to consider the timeliness of your responses, especially when it comes to negative reviews. Forty percent of consumers expect a reply no more than 24 hours after the negative review is posted. Comparably, more than three-quarters of consumers leaving critical reviews expect a business to respond to them. Is your multi-location business meeting or exceeding these expectations?
When responding to reviews, your business should prioritize the negative reviews first, followed by responding to positive reviews. A simple “Thank you, [name]!” can go a long way. As a multi-location business, corporate and local teams need to be on the same page with how many reviews your business should respond to and how quickly. SOCi’s previously mentioned 2021 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report provides a great frame of reference for what leaders in localized marketing are doing when managing their online reputation. Inside the report, you’ll find the average review response rate for top-performing businesses along with their average response time. For a more in-depth look, download the report here.
Optimizations Based on Feedback
The last component consumers expect regarding reputation management is for businesses to optimize based on feedback. For instance, if one of your business locations receives several reviews on the cleanliness of your location’s bathroom, improving cleaning protocols should be a top priority. If a consumer sees that your business is paying attention to the feedback received in its reviews, it will go a long way. On the other hand, if a location gets various reviews about the local team’s efficiency, they can promote this in future marketing efforts. Leveraging powerful user-generated content found in your ratings and reviews can be a powerful marketing tactic.
It’s Time to Start Giving Consumers the Reputation Strategy They Expect
While managing your reputation efforts across business locations and making optimizations based on feedback seems like a great idea in theory, it can seem daunting with 100s or 1,000s of business locations. Finding a reputation management solution built specifically for multi-location marketers is essential. There are reputation management tools out that allow both corporate and local teams to monitor reviews received and respond to them, all in the same place. The more streamlined your business’s reputation management strategy is, the better. It’s time to crush the competition, and reputation management is a great place to start!
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