As if we don’t have enough acronyms to worry about in our lives along comes ORM. When I first heard the term ORM I thought, “I love that band” only to realize that it actually stands for Online Reputation Management. This is the process by which a business manages their ratings and reviews on sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook and others.
I alluded to ORM in a blog last spring (Can I Yelp You, February 2015) putting forward the notion that companies can no longer rely solely on advertising to attract new customers. That hasn’t changed… today’s consumer more often than not checks you out online before they engage in unprotected commerce with you.
The latest and greatest problem for online ratings is the existence of fictitious reviews done by bad people who also purposefully don’t use their blinkers when changing lanes. Essentially some companies pay for false positive reviews for themselves or false negative reviews for their competitors. The problem is so widespread that a team of researchers from Cornell University developed a program to help detect fake hotel reviews and phony write-ups. The program, Review Skeptic is accurate about 90% of the time. Additionally, Amazon currently is in the process of suing a bunch of fake review writers and from what I hear Amazon has super good lawyers.
There is no doubt that managing your online reputation can be challenging. People with negative experiences have a 50% higher likelihood to give an online review than people with positive experiences. To get a positive review it’s imperative that you provide top notch customer service/products and equally important, a conduit for your customers to easily access the desired review site(s).
How does one go about generating positive reviews and ratings from their customers? Lots of companies like to use their receipt coupled with a little verbal encouragement from the cashier. Often times they offer you an incentive to complete a review (enter to win, percentage off, etc.). This is generally frowned upon by the ratings and review community, especially Yelp who also has good lawyers.
At ReThinc we feel that a more effective way of achieving a positive rating/review from a happy customer starts with one very important marketing asset … the customers’ contact information. Once you have that, a simple THANK YOU message coupled with a gentle ask for a rating or review is totally legit. To make things better/easier for said customer links to review or rating sites that accompany your THANK YOU message can be a nice touch.
The best example I’ve seen of this was done by Enterprise Rent a Car. After a recent trip to NY I received an email thanking me for using their services and then providing me multiple review sites for me to rate my experience. I readily spent the 40 seconds it took to rate them.
I don’t know how good their lawyers are but their follow up was outstanding… so was their rating.