Getting Buy-In for a Reputation Management Program | Binary Fountain

April 04, 2019

How to Get Executive Buy-In for a Reputation Management Program

By: Kayla Zamary

reputation management programChances are, if you are visiting our site, you know the value of taking control of your online reputation. The problem is, not everyone in your organization may think the same way you do.

In order to sell the idea of listening to the voice of the customer, you need a comprehensive sales plan for not just your direct leaders, but for the entire company. That means getting executive leadership onboard so they can influence their teams to adopt a customer-focused mindset.

Remember, becoming a customer-centric company requires buy-in at all levels and spans across the entire enterprise. You are aiming for long-term culture change.

We’ve put together some tips on how to get your reputation management program off the ground.

Why Reputation Management is Important

If you are in any service related field, you know consumers are actively using social media and review platforms to give their opinions on everything, from the friendliness of client facing restaurant staff to the quality of care they receive at a hospital.

Online reviews and ratings are a serious matter, as many consumers trust them as much as they would trust a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend. If consumers are viewing them as a source of truth, your organization should too. Sometimes this means dispelling myths that online reviews are “fake” or that the customer is somehow at fault.

If this is a problem for your organization, you can point them to some of these metrics:

  • 91% of 18-34 year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Google only shows businesses with a 4.0 star rating or above when searches include the terms “best” or “top.”
  • If you are in healthcare, 3 out of 4 patients say online reviews influence who they chose as a provider.
  • 37% of consumers won’t use a business with an under 4 star rating.

Now that you have some key statistics and understand why reputation management is important for every organization, we are going to show you how to pitch a reputation management program.

Getting buy-in for any idea from executive level leaders is never easy. It usually requires careful planning, excellent timing and an understanding about what matters most to them.

How to Get Executive Buy-in for Reputation Management

Here are the 4 steps to get buy-in for a reputation management program:

  • Analyze current customer feedback
  • Get alignment with other areas of the company
  • Estimate costs vs ROI
  • Present to key stakeholders

If you want to get a reputation management program started at your company, the way in which you frame your idea will greatly impact the odds of getting it approved. Following these steps will help you set the stage to knock your proposal out of the park.

Analyze Current Customer Feedback

One of the easiest ways to get a reputation management program underway is to take a look at your current customer reviews and gauge what is being said about you online. Are people enjoying your level of customer care? Is your customer support team responding quickly to issues? Do they wish the product came in a different color? Are your office hours listed incorrectly online?

Chances are, there are probably some small opportunities for improvement that you can find that would be easy to implement without a huge ask. Documenting these and either taking care of them yourself (or in tandem with other members of your organization) is the first step to creating a program.

Next, respond back to the customer and let them know that you made the desired change and see if they would be willing to visit your business again and change their review.

Once you’ve done that, measure the success of the change you made. Did your star rating go up? Are sales up after adding another option to your offerings?

Measure these small wins and begin to share them out to your area of influence. This is going to be used later in your executive presentation as an internal use case.

Lastly, set your sights on a larger organizational problem that reputation management could help solve. This shouldn’t be something that will completely change your business model but should be large enough to drive some organizational change.

Get Alignment with Other Areas

Executives like it when cross-functional teams come together to solve a complicated problem that aligns with an overall organizational goal.

This means you need to look at your business’s current priorities and find a way for the reputation management program to become integrated with them. This usually includes looking across the organization and finding another area of the company that could benefit from a closed feedback loop.

You will want to get buy-in from these different areas so you aren’t presenting your idea for a reputation management program in a vacuum. This will only strengthen your case in the eyes of C-suite leaders.

Estimate Costs and ROI

You will also want to find an outside vendor like Binary Fountain to help you with the difficult task of monitoring, analyzing and responding to customer reviews.

This usually means that there will be costs associated with starting a program. You will have to figure out which vendors you want your executive team to review and give them an estimated ROI with each.

Remember, the ultimate goal of a reputation management program is to attract new customers, so weigh that heavily in your calculations.

For example, if you are working for a healthcare organization, the better your online reputation the more likely new patients are to visit your website or call your office. You should have some idea of how much an average patient visit is worth to your organization and estimate accordingly.

Additionally, depending on your practice, you can leverage your high ratings with payers to list you more prominently in their directory, hospitals to refer more to you out of the ER or discharge, urgent cares to get more referrals and simply being recognized as an industry leader. In the future, this could be an important part of improving your CG-CAHPS scores, which could impact your overall reimbursement.

Having a good understanding of your organization’s business model will help you understand the potential impact a reputation management program will have on it.

Present to Stakeholders

Now that you have a plan together, it’s time to take it to the key stakeholders. Before presenting, make sure your timing is right, that your proposal makes sense for what the strategic vision is for your organization and that you have a commonly understood goal.

The best time to present your ideas will be when organizational priorities shift, when a customer review causes unrest within the company or when your executive team is setting global priorities.

You will want to focus your presentation around KPIs that your organization cares about or is focusing on for the year, such as:

  • Reducing customer churn
  • Producing customer-centric products
  • Increasing traffic to your website
  • Increasing customer acquisition

You want to make sure they understand that a reputation management program is a long-term strategy that will continue to grow over time, but you also want to make sure you aren’t asking for the moon right away.

We recommend taking a crawl, walk, run maturation approach.

This means you need to have a clear vision of what problem the program will solve in its first iteration and focus on an easily understood goal. This will help leadership understand how much of an investment they are making and what the expected outcome will be.

Returning to our example of a healthcare organization, patient experience managers would want to ensure all physicians and hospital staff have bought into the reputation management process to inform their performance and their success. If reviews reflect that office staff is not doing enough to help patients get appointments, then management has to take the criticism to heart and make appropriate changes.

The reputation management process is not an easy ordeal, but the actionable insights your team will receive are well worth the effort.

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About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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