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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

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