Managing customer reviews in the right way could help you increase your bottom line.
Customers are influenced by reviews more than any other factor. So, you need to stay on top of what's inside those reviews.
Easier said than done if your business has thousands of reviews that are spread across many different sites.
In this guide, we'll get into the nitty-gritty of how to implement an excellent management strategy and stay on top of customer reviews without having to read them all - including a deep dive into the best software available to help you.
Jump right in to getting the most out of your reviews by clicking through to the most relevant section below.
Review management is the active analysis and regulation of product/service reviews left online about your brand across all platforms.
Great customer review management involves resolving customer concerns in real time, eliminating fake reviews, and active listening across the board in order to project an accurate and positive brand image.
Critically, review management differs from reputation management in that it refers to a specific listening, prompting, and actively acting upon review data alone - it doesn't involve surveys, support chats, or other customer experience related inputs.
Whereas managing your brand's reputation might be a nebulous concept, review management has barometers for success, and tried-and-true techniques that can be leveled to improve where you stand.
Effective customer review management has proven its value statistically.
This value can be underlined by a number of recent statistics:
A staggering 97% of customers say reviews impact their buying decisions.
9 out of 10 customers consult online reviews before making a purchase.
These trends equally apply to local businesses making sales at brick-and-mortar locations, with:
Lastly, you'll need to pay particular attention to the severe impact of negative online reviews:
These numbers only reinforce a truism that applies universally when it comes to customer satisfaction - listening to the voices of your customers is key to providing a great customer experience and staying ahead of competition.
With this in mind, customer reviews are just a smaller part of what should be a comprehensive listening campaign.
Implement the right methodology and tools, and you'll ensure customer loyalty and continued growth - remain stagnant and old, inaccurate reviews can continue to drag you down.
To ensure that you stay on top of your tools, let's walk through the basic steps that comprise an active and effective review management strategy.
Along the way, we'll note where software could be leveraged to make your job easier - then in the next section we'll go through the best software options currently out there.
Great review management approaches use the following cycle of steps:
Let's jump right in - each section will outline best general practices and provide links to further assist your implementation.
As you're likely aware, your business already has an online presence. Your online reputation consists of the sum of all the online customer reviews that exist across all available review sites, social media platforms, apps, and all other available means for customer response.
Check out our online customer reviews step-by-step guide to locating and collecting all of these reviews so you can get a good picture of where you stand.
Only once you know how you currently stack up when it comes to customer satisfaction metrics can you proactively address and manage your reputation at large.
Collecting reviews from all available sources is mission critical because missing out on any major input can skew your results. The bigger the input source missed, the bigger misrepresentation and the farther off your analysis, and subsequent strategy, can be thrown.
When done right, this analysis will yield 'actionable insights', meaning holistic and accurate reading of your customers' level of satisfaction, common difficulties, and overall wants and customer needs.
This is where using the right software can make a significant difference.
Using intelligent machine learning AI, like Monkeylearn, it's possible to comb through thousands upon thousands of reviews from varied sources, easily and intuitively. You can even integrate AI software with your data sources, so that you can actively analyze customer reviews as soon as they appear - and receive notifications about particularly negative reviews, so that you have a better chance of turning them into positive reviews.
This helps you stay connected to your existing customers while, at the same time, attracting new customers with the power of good press.
For other customer review management tools, scroll down to our list of best review management tools.
Here we put the 'active' in active customer review management. It's easy to feel helpless amongst the sea of review sources - and what are you supposed to do if your customers aren't feeling great about your brand?
Luckily there are concrete, tried and true steps you can take. The two best steps to prompt new, better reviews are showcasing and prompting reviews.
Showcasing is a catch-and-sort method that makes sure your most positive, accurate reviews are seen first. Instead of reaching out, wait for the reviews that you feel best reflect your product to come in, then feature these reviews on the landing page (or most prominent place customers might encounter them) to make sure they are the first thing your audience sees.
That's the basics. Getting your best reviews featured on third party sites is a different process. Amazon, for instance, has its own sorting metrics that may be out of your hands. But, if you build an infographic for your product's Amazon page, you can still feature a good, accurate review or two.
Trustpilot, on the other hand, offers a different alternative allowing you to sort and display your reviews to your liking - more on this in their full entry below.
Prompting is the more active approach to changing your brand's review landscape quickly. It also requires a more accurate understanding of your levels of customer satisfaction. If you understand their sentiment, you can understand their needs, and know which customers to prompt and/or incentivize to leave a review.
The power of the software you are using comes into play here - if you are getting great, accurate results, you can isolate customer segments and demographics, then prompt them following a purchase to leave a review.
Naturally, adding an incentive for their time will both reward them for their continued loyalty, but also boost response rates - but watch out for reward-hungry respondents.
Keeping a wary eye out for false responses and other pitfalls is crucial for our final step.
More of a CX-sector wide mantra than a step, it's important to stay on top of your reviews, instead of viewing dealing with them as a box that has been checked.
Active, real-time monitoring of your reviews across the web and social media is possible through a number of software suites, including Monkeylearn Studio.
The rationale behind constant monitoring is first that you will be able to manage crises as they arise, and second that you will see how the totality of your reviews trend over time.
Your chosen software should ideally help you with crisis management by detecting and eliminating fake reviews, and flagging negative reviews so that your support teams can reach out, thus protecting your image.
Review trend analysis, on the flipside, should be included as part of your larger customer experience approach - your customer experience management (CXM) teams can be made aware of the way reviews are trending and what features are most often being managed, and can use this to shape future strategy.
All that advice can seem like a lot to incorporate all at once. Luckily, no matter the size of your business or your comfortability with your approach, there is a software fit for you that can jolt you up.
Whether your goal is just to get your first review management strategy off the ground, or to fine tune an existing endeavor, the software on the market is only getting better and better.
Fit, above all else, is what will matter. Take stock of what your current needs are, then peruse the following list of industry leading software and read into which might be the best one for you.
As we may have mentioned, Monkeylearn is a great customer review management option because of its power, ability to deliver deep insights, and flexible integration.
Monkeylearn's machine learning-based AI is able to analyze reviews and deliver deeper results than any comparable software due to its unique application of sentiment analysis, topic classification, and other text analysis techniques.
Our unique software learns from you as you apply it, taking in reviews from all sources and adapting to deliver more and more clear results and useful suggestions for further exploration, helping your teams better shape their review strategies going forward.
MonkeyLearn's built-in data visualization platform (pictured below) gathers all of your reviews in one place and showcases them in easily readable charts that teams throughout your company can interpret and leverage.
Pricing-wise, Monkeylearn offers both fixed price and custom build options. The 'teams' fixed price delivers all of our pre-made models feeding into a single dashboard, but we highly recommend a custom build for any businesses bigger than small/local.
Following a demo, our custom-built plans offer case-based unique integrations based on your needs, unlimited support, and all our tools built to your scale.
If you want the most in depth review management data, Monkeylearn is a must add to any existing CRM suite.
Podium offers a wide array of tools marketed to local businesses seeking to get their customer review strategies off the ground.
If you are unsure if customer review management is right for you, Podium's site has all the resources to reassure you of its benefits - from the showcased reviews above, to a catalog of 'Solutions' where you can see how different kinds of small businesses have had success with their tools.
They offer a scalable price range with both monthly and annual plans, and have competitive customer support that measure up against the big guns out there.
If you are a small business, you can enjoy enterprise level review success with Podium.
ReviewTracker works hard to prioritize the active in 'active customer review management'.
Their suite of tools ranges from local SEO management, to crisis management, to social and review monitoring, to active long term customer acquisition tracking, to real-time competitor analysis and much more.
ReviewTracker brings a lot to the table and your business might not need each and every one of their solutions at the same capacity as others. So, their offerings are offered on a strictly customizable basis - they will build a model to fit your business.
For both middle to enterprise level businesses, ReviewTracker provides an alert, wide ranging review management suite.
TrustPilot is a true innovator when it comes to online review management. They are primarily a review aggregator, but they also work on the business to business level.
They offer subscriptions, starting with 'freemium', allowing your business to sort and arrange the reviews it gathers to better reflect your brand - this is the 'showcasing' mentioned above in action.
A TrustPilot subscription is a must for any business, as it adds value even as an add on to any existing CXM, CRM, or review management software.
Touting their #1 rating from numerous local business awards associations, BirdEye makes growth its number one priority.
While their base suite is suitable for local to mid-size businesses, BirdEye also offers an enterprise level option. Their tools cover all the customer experience management (CXM) boxes. As well as review management, they offer survey delivery, benchmarking, and customer support messaging services. For any size business looking for a review management tool that covers all CXM channels, BirdEye is a top choice for aggregating your customer data.
Making choices is hard. That's true for you, the business, just as much as it is for your customers. So don't feel bad if you don't feel totally comfortable with how you are managing your reviews online - as web usage grows, so do the number of review sources.
Great review management is about constantly keeping pace with this changing environment. Implementing tools that do most of the running for you frees up your personnel to make strategic decisions, not sift through gigantic datasets.
While any of the above software can help lift some of your load, when it comes to delivering accurate insights, Monkeylearn's AI-powered analysis is second to none. Sign up for free today and see the results we can deliver.
June 29th, 2022