Monica Savut
Monica Savut 16 March 2020

A Five-Step Guide To Raising The Bar in Online Reputation Management (ORM)

ORM leaders are reaping the commercial benefits of effectively nurturing and managing their online reputation. They are three and a half times more likely than their mainstream peers to say they have a strong online reputation that delivers tangible commercial value (46% vs. 13%).

This is a key takeaway from new research published by Digital Doughnut sister company London Research, produced in partnership with and based on a survey of more than 500 business professionals.

The report also draws extensively on consumer surveys carried out in the UK, US, Australia and Germany, casting a spotlight on what consumers expect from brands, and the degree to which organisations are delivering against their expectations.

Below are five key attributes that London Research found to be most strongly correlated with ORM success.

1. Giving ORM the attention it deserves

While increased sales and better conversion rates are typically used to quantify the impact of effective ORM on commercial performance, building trust with consumers remains the most commonly-cited driver of investment in ORM activities.

Encouragingly, there’s also evidence that businesses are aware of the competitive advantages that effective ORM can bring. Our research shows that ORM leaders are more than three times as likely as their mainstream peers to benchmark their customer experience and online reputation against competitors (46% vs. 15% and 38% vs. 12%, respectively).

2. Maximising the value of ratings and reviews

On average, four in five consumers consider ratings and reviews to be ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important when they are looking for information about a company’s products or services. Therefore, having a comprehensive strategy for harnessing customer feedback is crucial due to the impact it can have on commercial performance.

However, our research revealed a significant variance between leaders and their mainstream peers when it comes to online reputation management tactics. ORM leaders are 54% more likely to track ratings scores (43% vs. 28%) and more than twice as likely to publicise positive ratings (46% vs. 21%).

Tracking customer feedback and publicising positive ratings is the first step towards building credibility and improving business perception.

3. Using customer feedback to bring about continuous improvements

Top-performing businesses understand that ORM isn’t limited to monitoring and responding to customer feedback, but ensuring it is effectively harnessed and fed back throughout the business. This equates to having a robust feedback system in place, actively encouraging reviews and feeding insights extracted from negative reviews back into the business.

ORM leaders are nearly three times more likely than their peers to have processes in place to manage customer complaints and questions coming via online review sites. They are also one-and-a-half times more likely to use the insights from reviews to actively improve their products and services (57% vs. 36% for mainstream companies).

4. Pushing for strong executive involvement

A successful ORM programme is highly dependent on getting the entire organisation on board. This involves designating clear ownership for reputation management and having a clear process in place to elevate customer insights up the chain of command.

Almost half (45%) of ORM leaders are routinely reporting ratings and customer sentiment to management, compared to only a quarter (24%) of mainstream businesses. Regularly sharing information with top-level executives enables management to steer the organisation in the right direction and actively feed the right insights into product and service development.

5. Investing in a feature-rich reputation management platform

Tying together multiple sets of data, enabling automated actions and freeing marketers to focus on areas where they can add most value are just some of the benefits of enlisting the help of a reputation management platform.

It can also help build a future-proof business, with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning playing an increasingly important role in how companies manage their online reputations and glean insights from customer feedback. Leaders are already reaping the benefits, as they’re more than eight times more likely to use AI to automate extraction of insights from feedback.

For more insightful data, action points and best practice tips, download The State of Online Reputation Management 2020 report.

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