In today’s world, keeping your reputation intact is more important than ever.
The rise in customer-led business has meant online reviews hold an increasingly critical role in a business’s reputation. As a retailer starting off the new year, don’t you wish there was a way to know what stories are being told about your business, and how accurate they are?
After all, if people are talking about your business, you want to know what’s being said.
Fake news and fake reviews
Where there’s an opportunity to take a shortcut, unfortunately some people always will.
This very phenomenon is unfolding in the world of online reviews. Shady PR companies are popping up, offering four- and five-star reviews for different businesses and services, in high volumes. Sadly, this means simply jumping online and looking a company up can no longer be trusted as a reliable source of feedback. Sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp and Amazon have all had cases of third parties being paid to post large volumes of fake reviews to alter the reputation of a business. What your business is in reality, and how it’s being perceived online can be two very different things.
Take the example of ‘The Shed’ in London. This small, boutique restaurant in London went from the bottom of Trip Advisor’s charts, all the way to the top in a matter of weeks, and managed to hold on to the top spot for a fortnight, receiving hundreds of books in advance because of it. Trouble is: The Shed was non-existent. Vice writer Oobah Butler had fabricated the restaurant to prove the fallacy of online reviews, and managed to dupe the rating systems by soliciting fake reviews.
If an amateur can pull off such a stunt in a few weeks, it goes to show how unstable the world of online reviews is. Your business’ success shouldn’t pivot on something as vulnerable as this.
Why you need to know what your customers really think
The only way to secure your business’s reputation in the future, is to know what your customers think now.
Ultimately, your customers are the most reliable version of the truth. In a world where “truthiness” dominates, it’s incredibly important to have an insight into your business’s reputation that isn’t skewed by some form of bias. By accessing such information, a stable platform can be provided for your organisation, enabling the necessary improvements.
Imagine your performance is lacking, and you’re looking to address the areas that are causing this. You jump online to see what people are saying about your business, and find nothing but good things. In reality, there may be an issue to fix, but your middle managers have been soliciting positive reviews from friends and family, masking the issue. The converse could just as easily be true—your online reviews are full of negativity, but in reality, the majority of your customers are raving fans.
Discover your true reputation
So how do you find out what your reputation truly looks like? It’s simple – you ask. Gathering validated, real-time feedback, or even just asking in person, is the way to cut through all of the fake reviews and gain a reliable, stable platform of feedback from which your business can improve.
In reality, those who have the best insight into your business are the ones who have just interacted with it. Rather than leaving it up to chance as to who jumps online and provides a review, proactively encourage customers to leave feedback. By doing this in real-time, reliable insights can be gathered, and acted on immediately.
Tap into the voice of your customer and discover your true reputation. This gives a transparent, unbiased insight into how your business really is performing.
Have the right story told about your business this summer
We often over complicate customer feedback. Online reviews, complicated metrics and intricate customer satisfaction surveys muddle the process in the minds of some, and we become detached from reality.
The reality is this: Your most recent customers are the ones that can provide reliable, trustworthy feedback, on which you can base any business improvement initiatives. To understand your true reputation – just ask them.
Don’t let fake reviews get in the way of this. Stay in control of your reputation through the power that comes from putting the voice of the customer at the centre of your business. If you are considering using a feedback management software in your business - see how Customer Radar helps many businesses have the real customer insight they can base their customer experience strategy on.