In our webinar Building Consumer Trust at Scale: Strategies for Multi-Location Brands, Brandify’s Damian Rollison and Dustin Hayes were joined by special guest Kaci Cramer, SEO Specialist at Dick’s Sporting Goods. The three presenters discussed how to use the power of reputation management to grow your business and win customers. Missed the broadcast? Read on for our recap and click the link to watch a replay!
According to research from Bright Local, 97% of consumers search online for local businesses, and 86% look at online reviews when making a purchase decision.
In its guidelines on local ranking, Google encourages businesses to engage with customers through review response, noting that “responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”
For these reasons, more and more brands are realizing the importance of having a reputation management strategy. An effective reputation management strategy can yield a variety of benefits, such as improving search engine rankings, increasing the count of positive reviews, and improving the likelihood of conversion.
Brandify’s new ebook, The Brandify Guide to Review Management and Response, guides brands through the complex process of launching a successful review management campaign. Newly updated and expanded for 2019, the guide can be downloaded here.
As Kaci Cramer explained during the webinar, DICK’S Sporting Goods hopes their newly launched reputation management campaign will yield some concrete dividends over tie, such as improvement in Google search rankings and an increase in actions, like clicks to call or clicks for directions, on GMB profiles for the brand. But Cramer notes that the less quantifiable benefits of reputation management are equally important: “We felt that it was important to have a voice in that channel so that our customer didn’t feel that they were being ignored in any way,” she said.
If that’s not enough to convince you about the importance of having a reputation management strategy in place, consider the risks of not replying:
• Praise from fans and complaints from detractors are both met with silence.
• Unanswered negative reviews influence other consumers, without any mitigating input from the brand.
• Brands will miss out on constructive, unsolicited consumer feedback.
Now that you've heard the consequences of NOT having a review management strategy in place, what are the next steps that you should take?
First, you need to convince upper management. “In large companies, it’s often difficult to establish a new process that didn’t exist before, let alone prove the business case for funding such an undertaking,” Cramer explained. In her own case, Cramer had to win buy-in from leaders in the social media team, the customer service team, and the community marketing team, an effort that took place over several months.
Cramer’s advice to anyone following in her path is to stay dedicated and make it as easy as possible for upper management to understand the benefits of reputation management. “Follow up frequently. Making the use-case clean and simple helps upper management understand why they need to make time,” she said.
Among many considerations in launching a new campaign is the question of who should be in charge of answering reviews. Depending on the nature of your organization, there are three different scenarios that might make sense:
• All reviews are handled by a team at the corporate office, who communicate with local or regional managers as needed.
• Reviews are handled by regional managers, each of whom is responsible for a group of locations.
• Reviews are handled by local office or store managers.
At DICK’S Sporting Goods, the task of review response falls on the centralized customer service team. That team is in charge of responding and sharing reviews with store managers directly so that store managers have full visibility into reviews. DICK’S Sporting Goods ultimately decided, according to Cramer, that it was easier to keep response tasks contained within customer service, as that team was already trained on best practices and was able to maintain a clear and consistent voice when addressing reviews.
Those are just some of the highlights from the webinar. Watch the recording to learn more, including how to respond to positive and negative reviews, how to use response templates, and what to do about fake reviews or reviews that need to be escalated to internal teams.
We hope you enjoy the webinar recording. And don’t forget to download our new ebook so that you can begin to take charge of your brand’s local reputation!