An area that has emerged in recent years of great importance to digital marketing is reputation management. The company's reputation can be built up over extended period of time. It can also be destroyed in a very short period of time. Reviews or customer reviews are an essential element of reputation management. That's what we're going to discuss here. Why are reviews so important and why should we manage them? There's more reasons to manage them than most business people currently know. I'm going to share some of the research that supports that. First of all, reviews can come in two ways. They can be positive reviews or negative reviews. First, let's look at positive reviews and why they're so important to manage for a business. How can positive reviews improve a business? Well, they affect the brand's reputation, which is fairly obvious but true. Another point is that search engines will rank a business based on its review ratings. If you're looking for a better website ranking, better SEO reviews or customer reviews and how they're managed can affect that. I'm going to show you some statistics later on in this presentation. Another key point is that happy customers feel valued when they receive sincere management responses to what they review, and sincere in italics because they need to be originally written responses by management, not just copy and paste that thank you very much responses. Think about yourself when you post a review for, it could be an Amazon product, it could be a restaurant, a hotel, could be almost any experience you have as a consumer. If you write the review and spend time doing it, and if it's a positive review, you might include images to take it to the next level, and you've received a sincere response back from management. What it does is it reinforces and cements the relationship. It gives the company a chance to retain you as a loyal customer. That's incredibly important. That's the last point here. We also have to manage negative reviews. Negative reviews can affect a business in a number of ways as well. They can also affect a brand's reputation, which is fairly clear. Negative reviews are opportunities for improvement. Some people move forward thinking business managers believe that negative reviews are a gift because they tell businesses, it is the voice of the customer. It tells them what they should improve in the way of opportunities for improvement. Search engines will rank of business based on review ratings including negative reviews. It's going to have an influence there. Unhappy customers are more motivated to share a bad experience, and that's a consumer behavior principle that some behavioral scientists have found that a customer with a negative experience will tell 10 times as many people about the negative experience than a positive one. The theory behind that is that positive experiences are expected negative are not. So there's a bias for posting negative experiences. Too many bad reviews can lead to prospects discarding the business as a viable option. If you're going to perhaps stay in a hotel, you look at the star rating and you see a fairly low star rating below 4.0 on a hotel, you might start looking at some of the reviews and that could seriously impact your decision to stay at that hotel. What's the importance of online reviews from a management standpoint? First of all, most businesses do not answer all of their customer reviews. They should, but they don't. Here's why. Because the second here, the quality management responses can equal 15.4 percent increase in Google ranking or SEO. That's a very important statistic. Because if a business manager ignores customer reviews, they're leaving a real potential benefit on the table, and that's a bump in organic Google ranking, 15.4 percent. We believe that answering all reviews is important in a sincere way and being involved with them. The third point is 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations of friends. They consider them peer reviews if you will, or a peer opinion as opposed to a paid advertisement. Ninety-seven percent of consumers believe that reviews influence their buying decision. You're looking at star ratings. Even if you don't involve yourself too heavily in reading a lot of them, you're still looking at the star rating. NInety-three percent of consumers find reviews important when making a selection, so there it is part of the selection process. Now on average, customers read as many seven reviews before trusting a business. What's going to happen is that if you want to go to a restaurant, you might read as many as seven reviews. The more reviews you read, likely the more high-involvement the purchase is. In other words, if it's an important purchase, a laptop computer, a new smartphone, something like that, or a car, you're going to read more reviews than if it's a low-involvement purchase, and that only makes sense, that's a level of research. I've established why they're important. Now I'd like to just go over a couple of reviews. First of all, how not to respond. Like I said before, a negative review, and that's what this is, a negative review is an opportunity for improvement. It's also a gift because it gives you that opportunity of improvement. The last thing you want are customers leaving your business dissatisfied and never telling you about it. In this particular case, I've posted some actual reviews from clients of ours that I am going to share these with you, but I'm not going to read every word because I know it's going to take too long. But in this first one from Megan and this is for a floor covering company, "I had a terrible experience with Coles. "That's the name of the company. "I had arranged to have floor covering installed in my entire condo. The job was going to be under $10,000, I paid $3,000 deposit, and I'm no longer confident it will be returned. I'm contacting my lawyer today. Please return my deposit, Coles." This is the way the business responded. They said, "We are unaware that you wanted to cancel your order. When we arrived last week on the day of the installation, your home was not ready, " and so they make excuses there, viable or not, "we have issued the refund this morning less the restocking fee for the special order material." This is in the public forum. This was a [inaudible] review in a public forum. Was that an appropriate way to answer that negative review to become defensive? Here's the recommended response. It is that Dear Megan, this is going to be a key point going forward. Always try to call the customer by their first name. Dear Megan, this is our recommended response, I convened our sales and support team to review the activities and actions of Coles as related to your experience. We have already refunded the deposit but I'm including my email address and would like to extend my personal apologies and discuss corrective actions we have undertaken. "Again, this is by no means an explanation and by no means an excuse for the unfortunate and atypical treatment you received. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please email me at," and there's a hotlink to an email address. Two things happened here. Number 1, call them by their first name. Do not blame them for the issue because, remember, it's a public forum. Other people will be reading this. If you notice, under the bad review, five other people voted for the review as legitimate. This is a very bad thing. Now you have, not just one consumer, but five other ones read this initial review and could be taking action by not using this company for their floor covering needs. Again, a best practice, apologize. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the customer or consumer. Call them by the first name, leave a hotlink for them to email you. Don't leave your phone number. They're going to be much more apt to click on a hotlink. This is another. You can read this this one. I'm not going to read every word. But again, this customer was very upset. I'll just read it quickly because it's short. "The sales plan is to call back and tell you the smallest kitchen remodel they've ever done is 24,000 without knowing anything about our project or seen our house. No, thanks." They were blown off. Now, this company responded, but they did not apologize for potentially blowing them off and they put a phone number. Did not call them by their first name, put a phone number down, which we don't recommend. Our recommended response is, "This is not how we do business and we are disturbed by the scenario you described. Please, email us." Again, a hotlink to an email. We'd like to communicate with you further and signed, "The team at Coles Fine Flooring." We signed it as the team. Those are some ways to answer negative reviews, excuse me. This is a way to answer positive reviews. What are we doing here? We're calling them by their first name, we're thanking them for their five star recommendation, and we showed them that we read their review. Perhaps, they said we only stayed for 10 hours. Then in response we said, "Perhaps, next time you'll be able to stay longer," with a smiley face. Two things we've done: we've put their name in it and we also put the name of the hotel, the client in there. The reason we do that is because, this is now searchable. We want consumers to be able to find our five star reviews. This was a five star review, so we want them to be able to find it. That's why we did it that way. Again, this is pretty much the same treatment here. I won't read this, but we are showing that we read their review, we're mentioning the people they recognized, back to them, and we are calling them by their first name and we are putting in the name of our company because again, we want this to be searchable. Moving on. This is how not to respond to a positive review. This customer left a review for a restaurant and it was fairly detailed. They actually were nice enough to put a picture in. This should've been answered with some thought, but instead it wasn't. The Manager, he said, "Thank you very much for your comments. Hope to see you soon." This Manager copied and pasted that from another review. If I left this review and I got this, I would assume these people don't care, don't value what I said because they're just copying and pasting a review. That doesn't reflect anything that I said here. Same thing with here. "We're glad you liked it." Same thing. What they do is they probably alternate copy and pasted responses. That's a bad way to do it. Back to that slide just for a second. We recommend don't respond at all than just short copy and paste the reviews in. It's better not to respond at all. Let's review the strategy here, what we just looked at. We respond to all reviews, good and bad. We use originality. We are original. We are actually going to repeat something back that the customer told us to prove that we read the review. Repeat something back to them. Perhaps they said, "We had a short stay". We said, "Perhaps the next time you could stay longer". Or, repeat the names of the employees that they recognize back to them. Any further communication should be via email. That's really important because you never want to get into an argument with a customer online. You don't want to have a defensive tone and have them write you back in an open forum saying, "You're wrong, I disagree. This is terrible". Any communication should be via email. In all the review sites, there's a way to reach out inter-personally. That includes if you're going to offer them anything. If you're going to offer them something free to make up for a really bad experience they had and they have a legitimate reason to be complaining, you'd want to reach out to them privately on that. The reason that is because you don't want to be putting them in public forum because then other potential customers could be trying to get more free stuff out to you as well. Like I said before, use their first names if you can. If they're available, use their first names. Make sure the business name, your name, is mentioned in a five-star review. Thank you from the Hampton Inn in Phoenix, Arizona. In a review like that, that way you're tagged back to it, it's searchable, that could be searched by potential customers. Remember, when you are dealing with positive reviews, it's an opportunity for a customer CRM, customer relationship management. You could be solidifying a relationship. The last point I want to make here is that negative reviews can be challenged under certain circumstances. If there's some comment that is racist or they use profanity in a negative review, it can be challenged and taken away by Yelp, for example. They will actually take the review away. Also you can have reviews removed. If you offer the customer something, they can go in and change their review. Those are some ways you can do it. One quick story is that if it's a hotel, and the hotel's got bad reviews over a number of years and they just completed a new renovation where they completely renovated the hotel, and a lot of those reviews were based on a poor product, almost all the old reviews can be taken away. That has to be done with the review platform directly, and you're going to have to offer proof of that. But that is one thing that we have done. The last point I'm going to make is about search engine optimization. This is one of the hotels we managed the reviews. They're ranked 15th out of 295. If you note, we started out in February of 2000. This covers a year. Then number 78, 79, and we've gone up and up and up and up to number 15. How did we do that? By answering all the reviews and focusing on the reviews that were negative and positive. The negative ones gave us opportunities for improvement and we corrected some things that they were doing wrong. The positive ones, we would ask the customer to tell us their story in the form of a review if they're happy. We encourage more, we took care of the positive ones, took care of the negative ones, and there you go. One last point, last slide. This shows you that the Lafayette Hotels, this is a generic term, in San Diego, which is where the hotel is. You notice that their organic ranking is very high. Here it is right there on the first page of a real basic keyword, hotels in San Diego. They're there because of SEO, because of the fact that their reviews are so strong. That has given them a bump in SEO. That's really one of the real benefits of answering all reviews. Thank you.