Online Reputation Management, Yelp Reviews and Google Plus

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Internet Marketing, Uncategorized

Reputation Management - Online Reviews - Madison WI - Dialog Marketing Services

Online Reputation Management starts with serving the customer and getting their positive feedback online

Reputation management, as we know it today, is simple Business 101. Your goal is to create a satisfied customer inclined to become a repeat customer and who will share their good experience others.

It seems the more things change the more they stay the same.

Before the internet age, I read studies showing on average, a satisfied customer would likely share their positive experience with three potential customers. Conversely, an unsatisfied customer was inclined to tell nineteen people about their perceived bad experience. That translates into six satisfied customers needed to counteract one unsatisfied customer. That can be an online reputation management challenge.

The Bad News and Good News About Online Reputation Management

In the internet age, customer feedback such as Yelp reviews and online directories provide a platform for good and bad reviews. The bad news is an unsatisfied customer will be “heard” by more than the 19 people as in the past. However, the good news is the online directories and citation sites present positive reviews next to (or above and below) the negative review. Let’s hear it for equal time.

The really good news is most companies have many, many more satisfied customers relative to unsatisfied. With a diligent effort, companies can encourage their satisfied customers to write reviews and overwhelm any negative reviews – pushing the negative review back many positions or even pages.

Reputation Management As A Sales And Marketing Tool

Reputation management is largely made by reviews on online directories and social media. The exact relationship between reviews and sales cannot be tracked easily, however, trends are emerging.

Michael Luca, an assistant professor in the Negotiation, Organizations and Markets Unit at Harvard Business School, has done studies trying to further define the impact of reviews on sales. Luca used Yelp to attempt to track reviews and their relationship/impact on restaurants in the Seattle, WA area. In short, Luca’s study provided a few takeaways from which most local marketers can learn. Including –

  • A one-star increase in Yelp reviews leads to up to a 9 percent increase in revenue.
  • This effect was experienced by independent restaurants – the ratings did not affect restaurants with chain affiliation.
  • In fact, in the study area, chain restaurants have declined in market share as the penetration of Yelp reviews has increased. This suggests online consumer reviews substitute for more traditional forms of reputation management (i.e. newspaper).
  • Consumers do not use all available information and are more responsive to more visible quality changes.
  • Consumers respond more strongly when a rating contains more information. Consumer response to a restaurant’s average rating is affected by the number of reviews and whether the reviewers are certified as “elite” by Yelp, but is unaffected by the size of the reviewers’ Yelp friends network.

Beyond Yelp Reviews

The example of Yelp reviews can help business owners understand how positive feedback, or more Stars, can impact the bottom line. My experience has been most small businesses can be impacted positively by comments on Google, Yelp, Yahoo and other directories featuring reviews. The challenge is instilling the discipline needed to prompt or encourage satisfied customers to actually provide the reviews.

Often, a business’s online reputation management relies on a customer getting online, finding your listing and adding their comment well after the fact. No matter how well intentioned, most customers just do not get online and do it. Even so, it is important to begin building reviews as part of your online reputation management plan. Consider the following –

  • 70% of customers trust a business with 6 to 10 reviews
  • 72% of consumers say they trust good online reviews
  • Anonymous posters are trusted as much as personal recommendations

Online Reputation Management Relies On Directory and Citation Sites

Moving forward, the need for good online reviews isn’t going away. And, 6 – 10 reviews are just the minimum needed to present a solid picture to influence consumers. Further, reputation management is a discipline successful business will instill because all reviews will age and will have to be replaced with a flow of newer, more relevant reviews. People will see the dates of the reviews and so will search engines.

Dialog Marketing Services develops online reputation management programs for companies looking to build higher visibility as well as their bottom line in Madison WI or nationwide.

Harvard Business Article

Yelp Elite Definition

Building A Reputation Management Program