You’re busy—you’re running a business after all. But a big part of running a successful business involves keeping up with your online reviews.
In fact, a study from BrightLocal found that 76% of customers trusted online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. What’s more, the same study found that 93% of customers spend at least a minute reading reviews as they research products. Also, replying to reviews demonstrates that you genuinely care about your customer experience.
There are typically two ways business owners tackle their review management:
- Using review management software and monitoring channels manually
- Hiring a dedicated review management team that handles this for them
In this article, we’re taking an in-depth look at the benefits and setbacks of using review management software and hiring a dedicated review management team so you can determine what is best for your business.
What is review management software?
Review management software is a platform that helps businesses collect and respond to customer reviews to help improve customer service, amend a negative experience, and build an online reputation.
This includes software like Podium, Swell, and Birdeye. Typically, review management platforms allow businesses to create a hub for their review channels, so everything is managed from one dashboard.
Businesses opt for review management software for several reasons, like:
- Centralized review management. All your reviews are funneled into one place. You no longer have to manage reviews at the individual channel level.
- Team organization. Individual members of your team can log in and respond to reviews using their own login credentials. This allows for better flexibility and teamwork.
- Improved timeliness. Your team can reply to customers in a more timely manner with a streamlined funnel view of your reviews.
The primary benefit of review management software is consolidation. Businesses can monitor and respond to reviews quickly and efficiently—rather than having to switch back and forth between channels and remember different passwords.
(Source: Pangea Oaks Apartments on Google)
There’s no question that review management software can help busy business owners elevate their reputation online.
However, there are a few drawbacks to using review management software, including:
- Frequency. It can be a challenge to remember to check this platform and allocate the time needed to address reviews, comments, and questions.
- Response-time pressure. It can be overwhelming for your team, especially if you are managing multiple locations at once.
- Consistency. It can be challenging to create uniform responses and send them promptly to customers.
Although these platforms can be time-savers and help streamline review management practices, it can be difficult to allocate time to managing this platform in a way that’s beneficial to your business.
What is a review management service?
A review management service is a dedicated team of review management experts that respond to customers on behalf of a business that is true-to-tone and timely. A dedicated review management service handles all the review management for a company so they can focus on doing what they do best: growing their business.
Growing businesses hire dedicated review management teams for several reasons, including:
- They’ve struggled with review management and haven’t found a platform solution that works for their unique needs
- They have reviews on various channels, like social media and channels like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, etc.
- They want to free up their time to focus on running their business instead of responding to reviews
- They want their responses to be on-brand, consistent, timely, and to solve customer issues
Review management, as important as it is, can be time-consuming and tedious. Figuring out how to reply to customers productively and professionally can be challenging for business owners. Plus, if you’re managing reviews for multiple locations across multiple review channels, this can get even more complicated.
Dedicated review management teams, like Let Us Respond, relieve businesses of this essential task entirely. Trusting a team to respond and monitor reviews for your business ensures it gets done and that it’s done correctly.
Hiring a dedicated review management team is especially helpful if your business has multiple locations that might have slightly different audiences. For example, if you have locations in both New York City and Los Angeles, the language you use based on geographic location could vary.
Of course, working with a review management team requires an initial time investment to ensure your company goals are clear. Creating a playbook that includes your brand’s tone, voice, processes, and procedures can take some time. But once that process is complete, you’ll be ready to pass the torch to the experts.
Having a dedicated team that can tailor your responses to the unique quirks of each location will save you time and ensure consistency and timeliness.
Three Review management best practices
No matter if you choose to use a review management software or hire a dedicated team to manage your reviews, there are a few best practices to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones.
One of the most critical components of successful review management is timeliness. For example, say a customer posts a negative review about their experience with your business, but it takes you days, maybe even weeks, to reply.
How might that delay impact your bottom line?
A study from Womply found that businesses that respond to reviews at least 25% of the time see an increased revenue of 35% on average. Plus, 52% of customers expect a response to their comments and messages within seven days, according to RevLocal.
In short, being timely in your responses to customer reviews can directly impact your revenue and relationship with your customers.
Just as it’s crucial to be prompt with your responses, it’s just as important to be consistent in what you say to customers. If your answers are varied in any way—from how you handle certain situations to how you word your replies—that can cause confusion and frustration among customers (and your team).
Having a uniform process to address every customer issue and question makes your customers’ lives easier and tremendously cuts down on your response time while staying consistent.
Trust is a critical part of building relationships with your customers. Making transparency a priority throughout your customer experience from start to finish will help you build that trust. However, many businesses fall short when it comes to establishing online trust with their customers.
Vague responses to questions or negative reviews often backfire and don’t do much to solve the problem. Deleting negative reviews also can be harmful to your online reputation. These actions hinder your transparency, and as a result, your customer experience.
Instead, be honest with your customers in every response. Own up to mistakes and admit where your team fell short. After all, with 95% of customers decreasing their trust in businesses that delete negative reviews, honesty really is the best policy.
Investing in proper review management will propel your business forward
No matter how you choose to manage your reviews, managing them in the first place is the name of the game.
For some businesses, using review management software could be the easiest way to manage them. But for companies looking to have this essential marketing tactic taken off their hands completely, a dedicated review management team could be the perfect solution.
Need help with your review management strategy? Contact us today, and our team will help find the solution that’s right for your business.