Are you part of an agency that provides online reputation management services for other businesses, such as restaurants, home service providers, automotive companies, retailers, medical and dental service providers, or educational services like private tutoring? If so, it is wise to ensure that you offer an online review response service to your clients, which — as we’ve explored throughout our blog — can help you drive substantial growth while boosting your agency’s revenue. No matter the industry, you can propel and promote your clients’ businesses by responding to ratings and reviews on their behalf, leading to increased customer satisfaction and better client retention for your clients and your agency alike.
Though sometimes misconstrued as being “too time-consuming” or “not cost-effective,” review management is, on the contrary, a profitable and in-demand service that will only continue to grow in popularity — and significance — as the business landscape becomes increasingly digitized, a trend that has accelerated as the world adapts to COVID-19. In a period where businesses are expected to be active on social media, virtually all consumers have computers and/or mobile devices, and an increasing number of transactions and buying decisions are driven by apps or websites, online review management is a dimension of reputation management that your agency can no longer afford to overlook. By outsourcing this service to a dependable vendor, such as Shout About Us, you (and your clients) can reap the benefits without investing time you don’t have.
You can learn more about the benefits of responding to ratings and reviews here — or, for the tech-oriented, take a deeper dive into the SEO benefits of review response. In this article, we’ll be focusing not on the advantages of online review response (which the articles linked above discuss at length), but rather, how to approach the process of selecting an appropriate review management vendor for your agency. We’ll discuss what features, capabilities, or criteria to look for — and, just as critically, some red flags you should be cautious about. If your agency is in need of a review reply service, read on to learn how to make the best choice.
How to Select an Online Review Management Service for Your Agency in Any Industry or Vertical
Online reputation management involves a combination of techniques that are applied with the goal of maintaining (or cultivating) a positive public image. Examples include promoting and sharing positive content, actively publishing new content, monitoring for customer complaints, and taking prompt measures to counter — not censor — potentially damaging comments or ratings. One of these measures is responding to negative reviews, which can, if handled with skill and care, accomplish the following goals:
- Portray the company being reviewed as helpful, caring, attentive, and courteous
- Dissuade dissatisfied customers from taking their business elsewhere (like competitors)
- Inspire unhappy customers to update their reviews with positive comments
- Increase consumer trust while improving customer retention
Since this task is so delicate and so financially consequential, it’s vital to choose a vendor that can be trusted to represent your clients’ brands — and, by extension, your agency’s. So what are some factors to keep in mind when making this important decision? Here are a few key considerations that will help guide your selection, regardless of which industry or vertical your agency predominantly represents:
- “White hat” vs. “black hat” services
- Ability to monitor and manage multiple review platforms with ease
- Social posting features to help promote your clients, build trust, and ultimately, improve performance
Let’s take a closer look at each of these points one by one.
White Hat vs. Black Hat Services
If you’re familiar with SEO, you may already be aware of the distinction between these terms. For those who aren’t, here’s the quick and simple explanation: black hat services are illegal and unethical, whereas white hat services rely on established, transparent, above-board techniques regarded as standard practices. White hat techniques produce slower results, but do not run the risk of subjecting you (or your clients) to penalization.
What form do these penalties take? If you are detected, as Forbes explains here, “your [customers’] website’s ranking performance will be downgraded or, in worst-case scenarios, entirely delisted by the search engine” (i.e. Google), undermining or even completely negating all of your efforts — while simultaneously creating some very angry clients. For example, it is considered a black hat technique to “astroturf,” or create fake accounts in order to write fraudulent positive reviews. Shout About Us exclusively uses white hat techniques, ensuring you’ll never have to worry about SEO penalties affecting your agency or its clients.
Ease of Use and Ability to Monitor Numerous Platforms
As you are likely already aware, there are hundreds of review platforms beyond the “big three” of Google My Business (GMB), Yelp, and Facebook. (In case you missed it, we covered several dozen in our article on industry-specific review platforms earlier this month, including platforms that serve the auto industry, restaurant industry, education industry, and more.) When comparing review management services, you’ll want to select one whose system makes it streamlined and simple to simultaneously monitor the greatest number of platforms possible, while also providing flexibility and security.
We’ve designed our platform, known as Review Navigator, specifically to meet the unique needs of agencies and multi-location brands, providing an all-in-one solution that merges versatility with convenience. Review Navigator consolidates reviews from over 75 review platforms (including GMB, Facebook, and Yelp) — and if you find one that isn’t included, our team will be happy to add it for you!
No matter how many clients you’re juggling or how many facilities they operate, Review Navigator makes monitoring and responding to their customer reviews effortless — especially if you choose to leverage our response scribe service, in which our team of experienced responders crafts personalized review responses for you. If you’ve been wanting to offer your clients custom responses to customer reviews, but haven’t had enough time (or enough team members) to get the job done, our review reply service is perfect for you.
We provide customized replies within 24 hours, plus options to request revisions and/or supply our responders with your own branded, pre-approved language. Whether you’re hands-off, hands-on, or somewhere in between, our response scribe service can readily accommodate your agency’s needs and preferences.
Social Posting Features and Data Reporting
Effective reputation management requires your agency to do more than passively react to your clients’ ratings and reviews. For maximum efficacy, you’ll need to actively monitor trends and patterns, so that you and your clients can tailor your strategies accordingly and target valuable market segments.
To help you achieve that goal, Shout About Us provides custom review widgets like iFrame and API, along with social posting features that enable you to easily embed all of your clients’ positive reviews and ratings directly to their website and/or social media profile, such as a Facebook page. We can also provide you with daily, weekly, or monthly reports to track your progress, along with automated alerts to ensure you’re always in the loop.
Schedule a Demo to Help You Decide Whether Shout About Us is the Right Vendor for Your Agency
Still undecided about which online review management vendor to choose, or whether Shout About Us is right for you? Ask our team about scheduling a demo, which will provide you with an opportunity to see our system in action.
Whether you’re chiefly interested in white label reputation management services, personalized review response services, or both, we’re committed to total transparency and superior customer support. Our white label service is included in our standard pricing package at no extra fee, so you can feel confident you’re getting the best value — without being locked into any long-term contracts or being required to purchase services you don’t want or need. And with 24-hour, US-based support, we’re here to help answer your questions whenever you need assistance. Our expert team is always ready to jump on a call or launch a Zoom meeting at your convenience.
Ready to find out whether Shout About Us is a good fit for your agency? Contact us today and ask how our team can assist yours.
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with more than five years of writing experience. She joined the Shout About Us team as a content strategist in 2020.