Close your eyes and think for a moment. Picture your business or medical practice as a garden. For it to bloom, you need sunshine and rain, but you also need to prune it and care for it as it grows. It will simply not flourish if you leave it alone.
Many times, the very first glimpse a person has of your business is what pops up when they visit a search engine. Your online presence should be looked at as the sign outside your business. Do you want it to have weeds around it? Or do you want it to be surrounded by flowers and a fresh cut lawn?
When there are “weeds” – or incomplete information about your business and noticeable negative reviews, your business is likely to be overlooked. The Internet provides your storefront, and the way it’s presented can have a huge impact on whether or not a customer chooses to purchase something from you or trust your medical care.
Whereas if you have tended your online presence and answered customer questions and reviews, your business will come across as polished and reputable.
The bottom line? Your online reputation matters!
According to research from BrightLocal, the average customer reads 10 reviews before deciding where to direct their business, and only 53 percent of customers would consider using a business with less than four stars. With the rise in customer-driven review platforms such as Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, Indeed, and more, online reputation management is more important than ever, and just one negative review can cause a small business to suffer financially.
Hay There Social Media is ready to help manage your online reputation. As skilled social media and customer service professionals, we’re can pull the weeds and help your business thrive.
1. Social Profile Audit
Can continuous issues mentioned in reviews such as a disconnected phone number or broken email address be fixed easily? Do you have a profile that has a proper username set so it is easy to find? Are the photos the correct size? Sometimes a few easy fixes and a fresh look can make all the difference to a customer considering visiting your business or practice or leaving a review.
2. Online Review Management
One place where businesses go wrong is NOT responding to customer questions and concerns. Managing reviews in a timely matter is critical, especially if you have a customer that is unhappy. Sometimes just a friendly “we’re looking into it,” can be enough to calm a potential storm. Your customers just want to be heard.
3. Handling Negative Reviews
We always respond to reviews in a positive manner, even if the customer isn’t playing fair. For many of our clients, we suggest handling tough issues over the phone when possible. This takes the conversation off the public space, and often times, the customer is more than willing to hear our client’s side of the story.
Additionally, remember other reviewers are looking at your response! In fact, the BrightLocal study found that 97 percent of consumers that look at reviews view how the business is responding to customer praise and concern. Coming across as competent and not defensive, is critical.
We recommend responding to every review – good, bad, and indifferent – and going well beyond the “canned response” option to truly ensure your customer or patient feel heard.
4. Always HIPAA-Aware
If you are in the healthcare industry, HIPAA is a major concern. Our team is mindful of HIPAA and able to address patients in an appropriate manner. We would never address any health issues publicly, or even through a private message. If a patient leaves a negative review, it’s important a business or practice looks into the concerns but does not attempt to fix things online. Private things must be kept private – and nothing is truly private when it comes to online matters.
5. Monitoring For Mentions
Another thing our team does is monitor where our clients are mentioned since many times these can create consumer brand loyalty. Each and every @ mention whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or beyond, deserves an acknowledgement.
6. Action Plan: Soliciting Reviews
Some of our clients use platforms such as Podium and BirdEye and to ask customers and patients how they are doing following a visit or purchase. That person can then choose to publish that review on a social site. These can be great tools that aren’t quite as invasive as directly asking for a review. Our team would be happy to share our personal best practices that have worked for our clients because it looks truly different for each type of business out there.
With each step of our process, we are working toward building a quality relationship with our client’s customers or patients.
Contact us and let us tend to your online garden today!