Reputation Management is the process of responding to reviews expressed publicly by customers and the media. Historically this work was performed by public relations professionals and was communicated through print, radio, and television.(1)
The goal of reputation management is to maintain a positive image for a business or organization.
How has reputation management changed?
Reputation management has largely moved online since the development of online review platforms such as those available in Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, and other industry specific online resources such as Houzz. Today businesses and online review platforms actively encourage people to leave reviews after interactions with a business. Invitations to review a business are posted on websites and through emails containing purchase receipts, invoices, and surveys.
As a result of these frequent reminders, more customers leave a review after making a purchase and prospective customers have learned to read at least three online reviews before interacting with a business.
The key to building a good reputation is to read and respond to reviews, ratings, check-ins, photos, and recommendations. Responses should be timely, respectful, and maintain a consistent voice. Product and service successes can be acknowledged and celebrated subtly, but business errors and product failures should also be acknowledged and remedied. Explanations of failures and remedies should be clear, concise, and non-confrontational. If an explanation is too wordy, people will perceive a response as being defensive; if it is too curt, people will perceive this as being dismissive.
Science + Art
There is science, as well as art, to solid responses to customer reviews and interactions. Some brands have perfected both and successfully developed a following for their responses to customer reviews. For example, people leave reviews for Wendy’s because they enjoy reading the funny, almost snarky responses that Wendy’s reputation management professionals have developed(2), while Amazon uses ratings and reviews to determine which products and manufacturers to include in its listings(3).