Socrates once said, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” He wasn’t talking about the ROI of Reputation Management, but he could have been.
Most top-performing professionals would agree: you have to walk the walk if you’re are going to talk the talk. The way a business earns a good reputation is no different.
Striving to provide the best product or service while maintaining ethical standards is important for any growing business. Online reputation can make a world of difference in demonstrating your commitment to quality and separating yourself from your competition.
75% of respondents indicated that online reviews and ratings influence their choice of physician in Binary Fountain’s latest Healthcare Consumer Insight survey. Perception is reality in the mind of the consumer. Because of this, the importance of having a fantastic online image can’t be understated.
Are you interested in acquiring new customers, retaining your current ones, and growing your business? If so, you need to invest in online reputation management to ensure you know what is being said about your business online. Doing so will enable you to discover the actionable insights needed to maintain your customers’ happiness.
Monitoring your online reputation isn’t always easy, but it’s ultimately worth the investment regardless of what industry you are in.
The Cost of Online Reputation Management
Before you can measure the ROI of reputation management, you need to know the costs associated with starting a program. As a business owner, you don’t have unlimited resources. But you need to be willing to invest in the improvements necessary to make your business better.
If you decide that you are going to invest in reputation management, you have to commit to:
- The hours and/or staff needed to monitor your star ratings/reviews
- The necessary resources to improve what customers are complaining about
- Tools and training that will help your team be more effective and efficient in their tasks
In the long run, however, those commitments will pay off. Customers will begin to notice the improvements you’ve made. Your online reviews will improve and attract new customers, who will leave new positive reviews and continue the cycle. A reputation management program is a long-term, compounding interest investment.
Now that you understand the costs and benefits, let’s move on to the ROIs of a reputation management program.
Sentiment and Reviews on Social Media
Social media is a tremendous opportunity for customers to research and discover businesses and brands.
Your business may not use social media often, your customers, and your potential customers do. Many are interested in finding a new product or service. This means your business is being scrutinized on social media platforms, even if you don’t pay attention to them.
There are many different KPI’s to look for when you are measuring the impact of your reputation management program. Overall consumer sentiment, engagement, and star rating improvements are all metrics your competitors may be optimizing.
Before you start a reputation management program, measure your current social media stats to set an accurate baseline. Note your current:
- Star rating averages
- Complaints customers have left in reviews
- Number of followers
- Levels of positive engagement (different than just engagement score)
Seeing a lift in each of these areas can demonstrate the impact of your reputation management program.
Many ratings and review sites give you an average rating every time you pull up your business page. Make a note of your current star ratings across the most relevant sites. Set a goal for how much you want to raise them in the next year.
You want to maximize your star ratings but remember that they’re relative and only a summary of your online reputation. There is no standardized definition of a five-star rating among customers.
Customers will want to see more than just an average rating. They’ll want to read real comments from real people, both positive and negative.
Experiential data helps put into context why someone gave you a three-, four-, or five-star rating. That’s why it’s important to understand the operational customer experience factors that are working.
Take note of why the customer left the review they did. What were their objections for not leaving a five-star review?
This could include employee communication with the customer, for instance. Or it could be a factor that requires prompt service recovery, such as front desk staff or wait times.
Finding that underlying “why” will highlight areas of improvement for your staff. It will also act as a measuring post for your reputation management program. The correct implementation should lower complaint frequency in those areas.
Finding, recording, and analyzing the brand sentiments of this feedback manually can be a time-consuming task. A reputation management software program with Natural Language Processing can automate the process, freeing up time for improvement implementation.
The number of followers you have on social media platforms is also an indicator of your business’s popularity. Unhappy customers aren’t likely to engage with your brand outside of a negative review. Adding more followers is an indicator of positive sentiment towards your brand.
This does not hold true if you buy followers like many “social media experts” will advise. Inflating your followers with fake followers and spam only hurts your ability to measure actual social media engagement levels. It will also stand out like a sore thumb over time. Don’t do it!
You will know your reputation management program is succeeding when you see increases in user engagement like reposts and comments. It shows that you’re activating your “tribe” to have more positive interactions with your brand.
Avoid false positives by carefully paying attention to the sentiment behind the engagement. These should be easy numbers to find with basic social media monitoring APIs.
Direct Reputation Management ROI from Social Media
Interested in getting hard numbers from your social media engagement? Look at traffic from your social media pages to your website and average conversion rates or click to call metrics.
Social media is a great tool for brand growth, but it’s not the primary point of conversion for many users. Leverage it as a way to engage your customers and get a better idea of their brand perception.
Measuring Reputation Management ROI on Review Sites
Paying attention to review sites can be even more important than social media for physicians, restaurants, and other service-related industries. Keep track of your ratings on Google, Yelp, and industry-specific ones – for example, CareDash for medical providers. Start by setting up or claimed profiles on these pages if you haven’t already.
These directories are how many consumers find services online. They trust what other people are saying about the level of service being provided.
Like measuring the impact on your social media platforms, you will want to start by getting a baseline for how your business is currently viewed by customers.
You will want to look at:
- Star rating
- Current customer sentiment
- SEO results
Star Rating for Review Sites
Very similar to social media, you should see an average or composite score of all of your reviews on a platform. This will give you an up or down indication of how your customer service is trending in the eyes of the consumer.
When looking at these scores and reviews, it may be tempting to respond to a negative review. We recommend checking out our guide on how to respond to negative reviews before opening that can of worms. You can do more harm than good if you aren’t careful.
Below are seven best practices Spartanburg Region Healthcare System has instituted around negative online reviews:
- Have a set of complaint and grievance policies and procedures that are reviewed during new employee onboarding.
- Emphasize the importance of good customer experiences and empower employees to turn negative experiences into more positive ones.
- Quickly alert employees about customer grievances and offer guidance to help turn bad experiences around.
- Instruct employees on who to alert about negative reviews on social media.
- Do not allow employees to respond directly on social media.
- Review reputation management with your current employees on a monthly basis.
- Take time to celebrate good reviews and improved results together.
The ultimate goal you should set for yourself is to improve your star ratings by at least half a star in the first year. That should be a realistic and obtainable goal.
Current Customer Sentiment
You need to analyze current customer feedback to better understand where you are failing to meet their expectations. Use this feedback to figure out how you can fix the issues they are experiencing.
Identify a few key areas and make them an operational focus over the next year for your business.
Did you know online reviews greatly impact search engine results?
Search engines like Google prefer serving up the best possible results for their users. They use star ratings as social proof. It ensures they are giving a user the best quality service when performing a local search.
See your current organic search rankings by searching for your service offerings using the Incognito feature on Google Chrome.
Not ranking #1 on key services? Read your competitors reviews to get an idea of what they are doing and how you can improve. Hopefully, these rankings change as you continue to make improvements from customer insights.
Offline measurements of success are usually even more crucial for driving business decisions than your impact online. Reducing customer churn and increasing retention are more important than how many followers you have on social media.
In order to do this, take baselines of the following KPIs.
- Net promoter score
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Patient/customer referrals
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Estimated market share
These are KPIs that will lead to long term revenue growth for your organization and should be the measurements of focus for evaluating the ROI of your reputation management program.
There’s one more crucial part in measuring the ROI of your reputation management program: the benefit of building a better relationship with your customer.
The Real ROI of Reputation Management: Customer Relationships
Monitoring your reputation online helps you understand what your customers care about and how they think. That’s invaluable for your organization. It gives you the information you need to make good decisions about how your organization should operate.
Organizations may be shocked by what they discover upon starting a reputation management program. Physicians at Kure Pain Management (now Clearway Pain Solutions) assumed they’d already mastered patient satisfaction before their program started.
After some initial resistance and eye-opening results, the staff uncovered significant patient concerns and immediately began addressing them. Physicians were informed about negative feedback to highlight pain points or help individual employees improve. Seeing measurable data was essential to employee buy-in.
The effort improved individual physicians’ and the organization’s online reviews and ratings. Staff time management improved, patient wait times fell, and spending was even decreased across the organization. The resulting improvements to customer service increased patient satisfaction and loyalty.
Reputation management gives you the opportunity to build a long-term relationship with your customers.
If you aren’t investing in reputation management software, you aren’t getting the insights you need to better satisfy your customers. Satisfied customers become lifelong customers. Weigh the price of reputation management software against the lost opportunity costs to grow your business.
48% of consumers consider online ratings/reviews the most important factor when choosing a physician. Take what people are saying online as seriously as a new customer to succeed in today’s market.
When you see a pattern in customer feedback make the operational or staffing improvements needed to address the complaints. Continued iteration on your processes or products will lead to happier customers and positive reviews. This influences more people to try your business.
Increased customer acquisition and retention are priceless for any business and the true ROI of reputation management.
Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can improve your online reputation?
About the Author