A How to Guide to Managing Your Reputation Online
It can be difficult for smaller painting companies to compete online with the large companies. Many small painting companies struggle with getting potential customers aware that they even exist and is why it can be very beneficial for them to know some ways of getting noticed more. The following paragraphs will help you compete with the ‘big guys’ by improving the reputation you have online.
How Improve Customer Online Reviews
Online customer reviews are important for any company but the larger painting companies have a system in place for obtaining reviews. For this purpose it is imperative that the smaller painting companies follow the below strategies to increase the number of reviews they have online. After all, who would YOU purchase from, a company with a lot of positive reviews, or a company with no reviews?
The best way to get a more detailed customer review is to ask for the review promptly. The longer you wait to ask for the review the chances of getting a detailed one or one at all debilitate. You can do this by following up with a postcard a week later with a link to leave a review.
Another good tip for getting detailed customer reviews is to provide a review’s comment card at the time of service. It’s been noted that the completion rates of these cards are 80-90% completed in detail.
It can be a good practice to get the customer’s email address, this way you can send a follow-up email reminding the customer to provide a review, giving them a link to where they should write it. It makes business sense to compile email addresses not only for reviews, but for future promotions, perhaps if you start offering additional services, etc.
Options to Google Places
It’s been noted by a lot of the smaller painting companies that they have lost reviews since the switch from Google Places to Google Local. There are some alternatives for advertising your business and receiving customer reviews.
A few places you may want to consider are the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Yelp, Yahoo and Local Home Contractors.
The Benefits of Google Alerts
Google alerts is a powerful free tool that searches for pertinent information related to the search you desire. The system will send emails automatically to you when new results for your related search terms are found.
There are six options of alerts which include news, video, groups, web, blogs, and comprehensive.
You can take advantage of this service by creating alerts about your company, the industry, and competitors.
For example, you could create an alert for your company, and every time that your company is mentioned online you would receive an email. This is a great tool to help monitor what is said about you online. It allows you to address any issues in a timely manner.
How to Handle Negative Reviews
It’s important to understand that feedback whether good or bad is good for business. You shouldn’t get discouraged by negative feedback or want it removed because there isn’t a company that hasn’t experienced some type of negative feedback.
If potential customers only see great reviews, they can become suspicious and skeptical that your business is not as legitimate as you claim.
The best way to handle a negative review is to turn it into a positive. First, you should thank the customer for pointing out your company’s shortcomings and work out a solution that will turn them into a satisfied customer. Of course you can’t always please everyone but by responding in a positive manner will give you and your company more credibility with consumers.
The last thing you want to do in a public setting is ‘argue’ with the person that gave the review, or state they are lying. If you can’t spin a positive to it, simply don’t respond, it will make you and your company look worse than before you responded.
Making Your Personal Comments Easy to Find
In order to make your comments easy to find for consumers many small painting companies use web directories. Web directories don’t rely on deep linking like the search engines. The link provided is the link to the homepage of the website which make searching easier and more targeted.
It’s important that you choose the right category though. You need to be listed in a category specifically related to your niche.
You can also take advantage of the social networks like Facebook. Since the Facebook comments box is considered an iframe, the box on your page is overlooked by most search engines. This allows you to grab the comments and put them in the body of your page. You can also post your comments on your social network business page.
Electing to Outsource
Of course this is a lot of work to do in addition to managing your business. Many companies provide services where they can help you manage your reputation online. If you feel you can do it yourself, GREAT! If not, feel free to contact us, or a similar company that specializes in reputation management.
Online Marketing Consultant