Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Reviews and Reputation Management

Monitoring social networks for customer reviews enables your business to develop customer relationships, which can enhance your business’s reputation and value. Customer reviews require an immediate need to respond, particularly when working toward preventing negative reviews from influencing potential customers.

To monitor and identify customer reviews, the use of a review monitoring tool that enables you to acknowledge positive reviewers and perform conflict resolution for negative reviews is a worthwhile expenditure. When a customer posts a review, that review has the potential to spread to a larger audience. There are services including Bazaar Voice and Yelp that help with monitoring customer reviews. You should use these review monitoring tools for proactive crisis management and conflict resolution for negative reviews, and to acknowledge and share positive reviews.

Reputation Management

Reputation management is an essential aspect of marketing, and the posted opinions of your customers on social media, and how your business connects with those customers, aids in generating brand awareness and marketing success. You cannot control customer reviews. Consequently, it is imperative that you continually monitor and manage social networks. To help maintain the reputation of your business, an automated system can be used to e-mail noted positive reviewers and request that they post reviews on multiple social media networks to increase the exposure of these positive reviews. You should also consider offering special status, VIP sales, unique merchandising promos, or other perks to these select individuals to retain their interest in championing your business within their social sphere.

In response to determining the management of customer reviews, you should not ignore the opinions of customers. Reviews are free pathways for gaining insights into customers’ perspectives compared to incentives, surveys, and focus groups. Unlike positive reviews, negative reviews have a greater likelihood of generating negative emotions and business perceptions. Reputation managers should have crisis management training for comprehending the proper steps for knowing how to de-escalate emotional situations that drive to the heart of the customer’s issues without the manager being emotionally invested. No matter the ranking or quality of the review, you should listen to the concerns of the reviewer, address the issues, and prevent customer dissatisfaction from happening in the future. When customers write reviews, particularly negative reviews, they expect a response from your business. Acknowledging customer reviews could benefit your marketing strategy by gaining insights into unforeseen problems within your business.

Reputation Management

Customer feedback and reviews are influential and can affect how your customers engage with your businesses. The influence of a review is dependent on the value the reader of the review places on the individual who posted the review. Additionally, potential customers use reviews to pre-qualify your business by gaining insight into the ethics, products, and services your business offers. For reviews to be influential, the review must be honest, credible, and written by actual customers and not your business’s marketing department. However, the effect of influencer marketing is decreasing as customers have come to realize that businesses can influence the selection of reviews as a marketing tactic.

Your business should utilize product reviews as a means to improve sales and validate successful experiences and problem areas with current and potential customers. When developing marketing strategies, you should make an effort to take note of reviewer demographics and characteristics. A survey by comScore, an internet marketing and advertising company, found that 24% of online customers thoughtfully considered online reviews prior to making a purchase.[1] By examining the influence of reviews and eventual product sales in relation to commonalities between products and customers, marketing managers seeking to gain insight into the shopping and purchasing behaviors of customers can use these reviews as a method of obtaining information.

The value of customer reviews depends on the quality of the review and its substance, the credibility of the reviewer, and the nature of the review in addition to the number of reviews in total, the average review score, and the overall consensus of the reviewers. The internet provides numerous venues for customers and marketing managers to share and receive product knowledge through the sharing of experiences and insights. Customer-generated reviews were considered more trustworthy and credible than any other form of correspondence. Moreover, using the internet permitted customers to purchase products effortlessly and conveniently through websites including Amazon.com and eBay.com which permitted customers to search and compare products, brands, and reviews. In addition to the value of products, customers consider reviews, seller notoriety, and promotional product photos to be the most influential elements that contribute to making final purchasing decisions.

Some of your customers will be fundamentally influenced by information posted by previous customers and will consider those reviews most credible and trustworthy. Content style, source, and peripheral credibility cues in social reviews influence customer beliefs. It’s often difficult to discern the credibility of customer reviews, and your customers’ perception of reviews is a distinguishing factor in purchasing intentions. Therefore, expert reviews provide more credibility and trustworthiness, while guest reviewers, new reviewers, and reviewers with a low number of posts tend to lack credibility.

Online customer reviews constitute a focal point for evaluating customer decision making in terms of online purchases. The quality of customer reviews has a significant effect on the credibility, trustworthiness, and as a result, the perception of your business. Customers use reviews to help determine the trustworthiness of your business based on the ratings and quality of reviews. In using a web-based experiment to examine the quality and effect of product reviews on study participants’ decisions, research found that customers rated reviews based on the quality and the extent of the reviews. High-quality reviews were adequately detailed and generated positive evaluations. In a study of 577 participants, researchers concluded that expert opinions had a significant influence on the perception of reviews, as did visual presentations of reviews. Furthermore, observable characteristics of products had a notable effect on product perception and reviews.[2]

Reviews encourage purchases by helping to avoid confusion and limiting choice overload. Customer reviews and word-of-mouth have always played significant roles in marketing campaigns in that they help to increase product sales, reduce price sensitivity, and increase customer knowledge which helps to reduce the uncertainty of purchasing and increases customer satisfaction. After testing a sample of 203 customer review community participants on OpenRice.com, researchers determined that 69% of the participants shared reviews and rated the quality of those reviews based on various factors including reputation, sense of belonging, and the joy of helping others.[3]

 

[1] Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2013). Qualitative research

practice: A guide for social science students and researchers (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

[2] Situmeang, F. B., Leenders, M. A., & Wijnberg, N. M. (2014). History matters: The impact of reviews and sales of earlier versions of a product on consumer and expert reviews of new editions. European Management Journal, 32, 73-83. doi:10.1016/j.emj.2013.11.001

[3] Cheung, C. M., & Lee, M. K. (2012). What drives consumers to spread electronic word of mouth in online consumer-opinion platforms. Decision Support Systems, 53, 218-225. doi:10.1016/j.dss.2012.01.015

Crisis Management

Case in point: After the launch of the Fitbit Force, a wrist-worn product that tracks fitness activity, 1.7% of more than 100 million users began developing skin rashes where the device was being worn. CEO James Park, responded almost immediately to the news, delivering an apology and initiating a product recall with a full refund for all of the devices. Later, test results showed that users were likely experiencing allergic contact dermatitis which is an itchy rash and caused largely by a substance that comes into contact with the skin. The likely cause of the rash, in these instances, was users not properly cleansing the area of their skin beneath the device, which was very often worn all day, every day. The Fitbit Company could have easily blamed the rash on user error, but instead decided to take full responsibility and issue a recall. Instead of dealing with customer backlash, due to the company’s timely, and proactive response, the company continues to do well, having maintained their integrity in the marketplace as well as the trust of their customer base.

At the other end of the spectrum, Kryptonite, a leading manufacturer of bicycle locks, had a crisis in 2004. After an internet video had surfaced of a user hacking the well-respected company’s lock, many more videos and complaints began forming. The videos showed how the lock could be easily unlocked by jamming it with a plastic pen. Kryptonite eventually did address the situation, but weeks later, with a product recall and an explanation that the issue dealt with all types of cylinder locks including those associated with vending machines and some automobile ignitions. Because it took the company an extended period of time to respond, customers and the media continued to smear the company’s brand for days. This led to a loss of customer trust and a near irreparably tainted brand. Beyond the cost of the recall, millions of dollars have been spent to rebuild the company’s reputation.

When dealing with a crisis, the focus is centered on brand trust and risk. A crisis should be addressed through direct contact whenever possible as in the case of Fitbit where users received an email from the CEO about the recall versus the use of mass social media. It is also important to recognize that media outlets and third parties have the capability to either preserve or damage customer-to-brand trust. Consumer relationships and widespread brand trust are essential during a crisis, and your business cannot afford to neglect the element of the media if you want to retain customers. Marketing strategies during a crisis should also project that your company remains adaptive and is present during the crisis.

Privacy and Data Management

There is a growing concern from customers that their privacy and personal information is being digitized and sold without their permission. The concern is that credit cards, billing details, and other private data are bought and sold across the marketing industry between businesses and organizations to use as soliciting tools. Customers agree that the lack of organizational ethics when collecting information is morally wrong. The debate amongst customers and businesses is that both parties feel they own the information. Businesses believe that they have the right to use the information any way they choose to help better their organizational goals and to produce better marketing services. Additionally, the organizations that purchase the user information feel they own the data because they purchased it. If the results show that your company is being unethical by confusing or misinforming customers on how their private information is used, you should work diligently to resolve the confusion by making privacy details clear.

Security Breach and Ethics. You should focus on making ethical decisions when handling customer information in regards to implementing effective security and privacy measures. Many organizations, including healthcare corporations, spend thousands to millions of dollars on securing patient privacy and protecting data against breaches and hackers. It is your responsibility as a leader to understand and influence ethical practices which relate to privacy and security threats. Security breaches can disable the functions of your business and pilfer confidential customer information such as personal contact information, social security numbers, and passwords. In addition to a potential loss of revenue, breaches also create customer distrust, and can negatively impact your brand reputation. The risks associated with breaches such as loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availability should cause you to be aware and proactive with threats that generate concerns.

Business Crisis Management

Definition of crisis management

A crisis management is the way that a person or business handles an emergency. In a family, this could be a member having to suddenly go to the hospital because of an accident. In a business, a crisis can be anything from a defective product recall or an economic change that causes a drop in sales.

How crisis management relates to business

Within the marketing industry, having the ability to understand and react promptly when crisis arises is crucial for maintaining the businesses market share, trust, and reputation. Not managing a crisis properly can have the potential to damage carefully developed equity, and spoil consumers’ quality perception (Chen, Ganesan, & Liu, 2009).

Personal experience with crisis management

As an online marketer, I run into crisis management issues oftentimes on a weekly basis. Each week I monitor my clients websites ranking through analyzing Yahoo, Bing, and Google search engines for algorithm changes. It’s normal for search engines to change their algorithm and I do advise my clients that their website rank may change drastically if such a change occurs that may affect their website. Once this happens, a site that previously ranked on the first page could drop out of the search engine completed. As this occurs, It usually causes a loss in site traffic and sales. The solution to this is for me to research and analyze the issue, check whether it’s a search engine issue or a website issue and then correct or explain to the client that recovery is impossible.

Summary of About the Crisis Marketing and The Crisis of Marketing

This article focuses on the global economic-financial marketing crisis. According to the article, marketing may be just the solution for many companies to get out of the crisis, but what is sadder is that a lot of them do not realize it (Cornelia & Mihaela, 2011). The article tackles the subject of why marketing is needed within a failing economy and how to successfully implement new strategies to help increase and sustain profit and productivity.

Avoiding negative impacts of a crisis

Research has indicated that a proactive strategy may have positive consequences on consumer perception if the crisis is responded to with a constant, active, and firm response (Chen, Ganesan, & Liu, 2009). The business being affected should respond quickly to the crisis and should focus their attention on building and strengthening consumer trust. During a crisis, marketing strategies should be analyzed and focus on resonating emotionally with the consumer through a human, friendly language (Cornelia & Mihaela, 2011). Without proactively managing the crisis, the risk of negative impact rises.

 

Credits

Cornelia, M., & Mihaela, B. (2011). ABOUT THE CRISIS MARKETING AND THE CRISIS OF MARKETING. Journal Of Academic Research In Economics, 3(3), 311-316.

Chen, Y, Ganesan, S., & Liu, Y. (2009). Does a firm’s product-recall strategy affect its financial value? An examination of strategic alternatives during product-harm crises. Journal of Marketing, 73(6), 214–226.

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