It’s no secret that the past two years have caused a boom in digital commerce. Online sales growth hit a 13-year high in 2020, up 36% over just the year before. E-commerce has changed the ways in which customers discover, shop, evaluate, and talk about businesses. Word of mouth is still important but is often supplemented by online reviews and social media engagement.
Positive or negative reviews can go viral, reaching hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of hours. In this environment, there’s little room for error; companies need to monitor online brand mentions and reviews. They can do this with reputation experience management (RXM). These are quickly becoming crucial pieces of technology for organizations to thrive in this new reality.
Monitoring and managing online reputation provides opportunities for both customers and businesses. Customers can and do use social media to make their voices heard, from the awareness stage to the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. This allows companies to listen and respond to praise or pain points. Responding in real time ensures that all stages of the buyer’s journey are satisfactory.
For businesses, protecting their online reputation can lead to increased sales. The opportunity to improve their products and services based on customer feedback can lead to higher customer satisfaction. But this can only happen if businesses recognize the importance of their online reputation and map out the customer journey accordingly.
The Buyer’s Journey Starts Long Before Customers Find Your Website
These days, your company’s website often isn’t the first place where customers will interact with your brand. Your business’s real front door is the first page of search results. This is where customers get unfiltered snapshots and opinions about your brand from others at a glance.
Reviews, social media mentions, and success or horror stories about customer interactions are often the first thing people see. How your company addresses issues often determines whether customers will move on to your site or simply move on to another vendor.
RXM helps improve initial impressions by giving you more control over your front door. It gives you better access to the parts of the internet where customers are likely to interact first with your brand. This can give you greater visibility into Google My Business and alert you to reviews made on aggregate sites in real-time.
Understanding Pain Points Through Social Listening
A key component of RXM is social listening. Monitoring your brand’s social media channels lets you hear how your customers feel about your services and products. Customers are their most candid on social media.
Analyzing what they say about your brand gives you raw, honest feedback. It shows how customers feel about their experiences and interactions with your brand.
Your company should be using social listening tools to regularly monitor your social media channels for unusual activity or trends. If everyone on social media is saying similar things about you, there’s a pain point to be solved.
Engaging With Customers in Real-Time
When your customers are challenged, you can’t afford to wait to solve the problems they have with your product or services. Your reputation is tied to how well you treat customers, and customers connect your company’s values with how they’re treated. Your company needs to always pay attention to customer sentiment since it’s easier to retain customers than attract new ones.
This is another area where online reputation management and social listening are essential for good customer experience management. RXM tools can monitor your company’s online presence in real-time. They can alert you to challenges or pain points customers talk about as it happens.
By being alerted to pain points when they arise, your business will be better positioned to solve customer challenges. You can create content based on various customer touchpoints and buyer personas to get ahead of these issues in the future.
When it comes to a great customer experience and the customer journey, your business can’t afford missteps. Customer loyalty can change at a moment’s notice. If you ignore what is said at each customer touch point before the purchase decision, you risk losing those consumers.
Online reputation management is critical for retaining current customers. It also has advantages for the customers themselves. By using RXM tools, your business is better poised to identify and solve pain points before small problems become too big to handle. This, in turn, improves the customer experience, leading to happier customers.
Ready to take your online reputation management to the next level? Learn more about how Reputation can collect customer feedback to provide you with actionable insights to improve the customer experience.
Jason Grier leads Reputation’s customer loyalty and growth initiatives as executive vice president and chief customer officer. Jason is a former senior vice president of Global Support Operations and chief customer officer at McAfee, where he spent more than 10 years.