7 Key Threats to Your Business’s Online Reputation
How much importance does the average consumer place on reviews? Do other people’s experiences with your brand affect their decision to part with their hard-earned cash?
The answer to both is a resounding yes.
Believe it or not, a staggering 84 percent of consumers trust online reviewsjust as much as a personal recommendation, and 90 percent read said reviews before even visiting a company (or its website).
If your reviews, feedback and testimonials across the web are negative, you can expect to see a real impact on your bottom line. That’s why managing your online reputation and being aware of the risks is so important.
Here are 7 key threats to your business’s online reputation and how to deal with them.
1. Bad reviews
As we mentioned in our intro, bad reviews have the power to influence a huge portion of consumers.
Failing to deliver the quality of customer experience people expect (or are willing to tolerate in exchange for good products or services) means you could end up amassing a large number of negative reviews — and alienate prospects before they’ve even had an opportunity to try your company for themselves.
Review sites and social media are breeding grounds for views with the power to damage your reputation. Monitoring them and responding to as many as you can is vital, but the best approach is to make it easier for people to leave good reviews instead.
This means evaluating those aspects of your company which appear in complaints again and again. Are your team’s responses too slow? Do you need to hire more agents to accommodate demand? What about trying to improve the quality of your products by switching manufacturers?
Take the time to consider common sources of dissatisfaction and address them ASAP.
2. Management Speaking their Mind
Keeping everyone within your business in check can be difficult, especially those on the top rungs of the ladder.
But it’s essential to avoid any outbursts or unintentional offense, as these can have a lasting impact on the paying public.
For example, American Apparel’s Dov Charney drew negative attention to the brand for some of his comments on delicate matters, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary is known for his loose tongue and Abercrombie & Fitch’s Mike Jeffries famously sparked outrage with his views on the type of customers his company wanted to attract.
Your CEO and other high-ranking individuals must be responsible in their behavior: speaking without thinking can leave consumers unwilling to do business with you ever again.
3. Failing to Monitor your Reputation and Address Problems
It’s tempting to focus on running a business and ignoring what people have to say about it online. But this is a major mistake.
Consumers who see negative reviews or posts on social media without any response are likely to assume your company simply doesn’t care. They could see it as a sign of arrogance or an admission of guilt, neither of which does you any favors.
Make sure your online reputation is monitored and steps are taken to improve public perception of your business.
4. Passing the Buck
Never play the blame game in a crisis. Pointing the finger at a complaining customer or trying to throw a third-party under the proverbial bus will do more harm than good.
Businesses should always admit when they’ve made a mistake — either accidentally or by design — and apologize. Action may need to be taken to put things right and maintain your reputation. For example, freebies or discounts would be a fitting response in the case of massive shipping delays or failures.
Consumers value brand transparency more than ever today, especially on social media. Lying or trying to downplay a faux pas could do more harm than you realize.
5. Disgruntled Employees
Not all of your employees will love their job. Some of them may genuinely like it. Others may find it fine for the moment. But others could very well loathe it — and that might make them a threat.
Workers who have been treated poorly, fired without good reason or discriminated against could vent their frustration on social media. Within hours, thousands or even millions of people may discover your brand isn’t all it seems before you’re even aware.
The lesson? Make sure you have practises in place to ensure all employees feel valued, respected and well-compensated for their work. And an open-door policy can encourage them to speak up about problems well before they feel forced to go public.
6. Lack of Control on Social Media
Be careful which employees have access to your social media. One of the key dangers to your online reputation is a worker with bad intentions seizing control of your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Perhaps they want to be fired. Maybe they want to sabotage your business for treating them badly. Or they could even create a post in good faith without realizing how offensive it could be.
Keep tight control of your social media accounts, and update logins regularly to reinforce their security.
7. Others Acting in your Name
Finally, make sure you own all websites related to your brand, products or services directly. If you fail to claim a domain for your company’s exact title, someone else could — and start causing trouble.
They could scam consumers out of money or post distasteful content and cause controversy to harm your reputation. Don’t make it easier for anyone to disrupt your company’s work: invest in the right domains as soon as you can, or approach the current owners to work out a deal. Otherwise, a large part of your online presence will be out of your control.
Failing to consider these 7 key threats to your business’s online reputation is dangerous. Every company, no matter how big or small, depends on a positive image to retain customers and attract new ones. Even global powerhouses can be dealt a serious blow if they overlook this.
Want to discover how our experts can help you build a better online reputation? Just get in touch today!
8 Online Reputation Mistakes Your Business Must Avoid
What do people think of your company?
Your reputation makes a massive impact on consumers’ decision to buy from you. A staggering 67.7 percent of purchasing choices are affected by online reviews, and you stand to lose more than 20 percent of business if prospects come across negative coverage of your brand on the first results page.
Considering the sheer range of options customers have online, a bad reputation can make all the difference between securing and losing a conversion. If your business seems too much of a risk, buyers will just purchase from one of your competitors instead.
You have to protect your online reputation from bad reviews, poor feedback and anything else that could damage it. Join Reputation Mart’s experts as we explore the 8 online reputation mistakes your business must avoid …
1. Failing to Monitor your Reputation
Maybe you’re just not that interested in going online. Perhaps the prospect of Googling your own business and trawling review sites makes you want to gag.
Whatever the reason, your online reputation could end up getting wildly out of control if you fail to keep an eye on it. Even if people are leaving good reviews or sharing positive posts about you on their social accounts, they might not be getting full exposure without you sharing them.
Just because you don’t research your company doesn’t mean others won’t be.Fake accounts may be set up on social media too, possibly causing further damage.
2. Not Interacting with the Online Community
People will leave good reviews. People will leave bad reviews.
It’s vital to respond to as many of both as you can, regardless of their content. Apologize for poor service, thank customers for their kind words and offer to make things right if need be.
Interacting with people who have taken the time to post about your business will impact other customers’ views. Seeing how well you respond to the worst complaints can show you care about buyers’ experience and respect their opinion.
Simply leaving bad responses untouched and pretending they don’t exist will only do more harm. When responding to negative feedback or reviews, always be professional and courteous: never engage in a war of words.
3. Creating Fake Reviews
Always, always avoid the temptation to write fake reviews. Creating them yourself or asking employees, friends or even family to do so is a big mistake.
Why? Because if someone finds out, you could harm your reputation more than a single bad review ever would. Consumers will wonder why you have to cheat to make your brand appear better, and view you as being untrustworthy.
After all, if you’re willing to lie about online feedback what else would you lie about?
Prospective buyers will have more faith in you if they see you handling negative reviews in a professional manner than if they see lots of feedback sharing too many similarities to be coincidental.
4. Being Unsociable
Social media has a big impact on the business-consumer relationship. People will complain to companies directly on Facebook and Twitter, share good experiences with their friends and ask questions about products. It’s a key step in the research process.
Being active on social media and engaging with your customers is key to maintaining your online reputation. Users expect fast responses and transparency, whether they have made a complaint or thanked the brand for excellent service.
Avoiding social media is no way to try to minimize the harm of potential negative posts. People will still discuss you even if you have no account.
5. Never Showing your Human Side
Customers will feel a stronger bond with your business if you’re willing to show your unique, human side.
If you make a mistake, admit to it. Be sincere. Explain to your customers how and why it happened, and discuss what you plan to do to put it right.
Don’t issue a bland press release that skirts responsibility and leaves buyers cold. Just hold your hands up and present your solution. Prospects may be more forgiving if they see you’re approaching a situation as a group of people rather than as a faceless enterprise.
6. Ignoring the Power of Content
Good content is essential to keep your reputation in good shape. Well-written blogs and articles offering readers value will help you become recognized as a reliable brand with lots to say. This adds credibility to your business and can establish you as a thought-leader, though this may be easier in some sectors than others.
The better your content, the more likely it is to be shared and garner extra attention. Failing to create new content doesn’t just make you look unprofessional, it’s not great for your SEO campaign either.
7. Getting Complacent
You’ve built a good reputation. You’ve published a string of great content that attracts thousands of views. You’ve amassed more positive feedback than you can keep track of.
So, why not take your eye off your online reputation for a while and focus on other areas of running your business instead?
Don’t get complacent. If you stop responding to social posts and reviews, customers could lose their respect for you and assume you no longer care about their views. Never let success distract you from maintaining good relationships with customers.
Remember: they’re what keeps you in business, no matter how big your brand becomes.
8. Having No Reputation Management in Place
Every business should invest in solid reputation management. You have to know what people are saying about your company, identify the common complaints and find ways to put things right.
You need to know how you will respond to feedback and use it to help your business grow. This must be put together with care — just dashing off a comment at the end of an occasional review isn’t enough.
Our team of experts can help you stay on top of your online reputation, ensure brand consistency and avoid harmful mistakes. Want to learn more about our Online Reputation Management services? Just get in touch!
How Social Media Impacts Your Online Reputation
Social media matters. Even if you try to avoid it in your personal life, your business must be represented on the major social networks.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks have billions of users across the globe. Consumers of all ages and demographics use them on a daily basis, and countless businesses are actively engaging with them through text, images, and video.
If you aren’t, you’re falling behind, and your reputation may be suffering.
So just how does social media impact your online reputation, and how can you use it to your advantage?
Be Inspired to Be Better
Word of bad behavior or gaffs on social networks carry real weight with consumers and can bring negative attention to your brand within hours.
For example, United Airlines made the news in 2017 when a paying customer was dragged off one of their planes because it had been overbooked. The violent video went viral, and the situation only worsened when the CEO was found to have little grasp of the incident’s horror.
In a case like this, social media showed the world a glimpse of United Airlines’ corporate attitude and values that was truly ugly, and people voiced their disgust by the thousand. It was inevitable that someone would record the incident on their smartphone and share it with others, but United Airlines did little to ease people’s fury.
Social media should make you more aware than ever that everyone has a voice today. One consumer who experiences appalling service (or flat-out indecency, as with United Airlines) now has the power to tell millions of others across the globe to boycott the business in question.
How can you avoid such extreme repercussions? Concentrate on making sure your company’s protocols, processes, and training allows no room for incendiary behavior. At the least, you reduce the risk of damaging your own reputation. At the most, you will help it get better and better.
Also, social media results tend to appear high on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Any results carrying negative information on your brand will be eased lower and lower down the page, reducing the risk of consumers seeing bad reviews before visiting your warm, welcoming social accounts.
Of course, as we established above, bad customer experiences can find their way onto social networks and catch fire quickly. Your page may be bombarded with questions and demands for a response if your business acts in a way it shouldn’t – visitors will encounter this and may form an unfair opinion.
Keep Up to Date with Your Reputation
Another perk of social media is that it lets you monitor what people are saying about your business.
You may not be able to track every comment on every network, but you can still see enough to gauge public opinion. It’s vital to respond to people as and when you can, to help manage your reputation.
Nothing makes a business appear unprofessional and uncaring than a string of unanswered Tweets or Facebook posts on their page. Consumers lodging complaints, asking about upcoming products, demanding information on late deliveries, and generally sounding off can be enough to paint quite the unattractive picture of a business within seconds.
You need to stay on top of your social accounts as best you can and engage with followers whenever possible. Even if they are saying something negative, your response can prove essential in winning them over. You need a strategy in place to handle comments and feedback, no matter the language used, no matter how angry the writer obviously is.
Allowing yourself or anyone else from your company to respond without thinking, based on emotion rather than good business management, can be a terrible mistake. Even if you cannot think of a suitable way to address it immediately, it may be best to leave the comment without a response for a day or so – this would be far less harmful than an enraged rant.
We can help you setup the right tools to monitor mentions of your brand, and let you know whenever your brand is mentioned on social sites, forums, news pages, and more.
Following on from responding to negative comments and feedback, you need to interact with people writing positive things too.
Saying thank you, sharing their kind words, or simply replying with a sweet emoticon can all show your business in a good light. It proves that you listen to what people have to say and value their input or custom.
Still, a positive, well-written, contemplative response to a criticism can bring good attention to your brand out of bad, too. It’s vital to be apologetic and address how your business will attempt to fix the problem caused.
You need to remember that other people will see any interaction you have on social media (unless it’s through direct messages), and even simple but positive comments can boost users’ opinion of your business. They may take a look at your account to investigate your products or services, and possibly follow through to your site.
Another key factor to consider is the tone of voice you use, and how engaging it is for your followers. You need to show consistency in your language and style from one post to the next, otherwise people may be confused. Social media can help you cultivate a strong brand personality and boost your appeal to your target demographic, so use whichever tone best suits your market.
Never underestimate the power of social media as a business tool, no matter how big or small your company is. Startups with one employee can build a wider audience through a well-managed social account, while the biggest corporations can be dealt major blows by their poor choices.
Call us today and we will help you create a social media strategy that incorporates the points discussed above, and you can help to make sure your online reputation remains strong for years to come.
How Website Speed Can Make or Break Your Online Reputation
The easy access to information via smartphones has empowered Canadian consumers to make decisions faster than ever before, and they want to act upon these decisions straight away.
Any hurdles in accessing information such as slow load time of your website can negatively affect your online reputation.
Rise of Smartphone Use
According to Statista, 62.37% of the population in Canada used a smartphone in 2016. The Statista 2016 data showed:
A Google report showed that 82% of smartphone owners used a search engine as the initial step to gratify at least one of their needs.
According to Google, Canadians, in particular, use a search engine at the exact time they want something. This means that they’re more likely to be loyal to their needs than to any brands or products that they’ve used before.
An example of this demand to satisfy one’s need on-the-spot is the rise the search phrase “open now”. The search giant reported that search interest in the keyword phrase “open now” has increased 3 times since 2015.
Expectation to Get Products & Services Immediately
With the rise in smartphone usage, consumers’ expectation to get the products and services they need as soon as possible has also increased.
Canadian consumers, according to Google, aren't any more willing to wait even for a few days for their orders to arrive. They want to get the products or services as soon as possible. The tech giant reported that searches for the keyword phrase “same day shipping” has grown by 160% since 2015.
The Need to Know Where to Get Products & Services
Google research showed that consumers are using their smartphones as “anywhere” assistants, turning to their phones in search of stores where they can visit to get what they want prior to leaving the house – a phenomenon that renders store browsing close to oblivion.
According to Google, over the past 2 years, mobile searches for keywords “where to shop” and “where to buy” have increased by more than 100%.
Speed Equals Revenue
Whether your website visitor is a plan-ahead type, impromptu type or that last-minute type, each of these visitors all want the same experience: they want to get the information they want right here and right now.
The basic website load time can either make or break your brand reputation.
SOASTA’s report "The State of Online Retail Performance" released in Spring 2017 found the following key insights regarding site load time:
Google, for its part, reported that the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds. Fifty-three percent of mobile site visitors, however, according to Google, abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
More than half of the overall web traffic, Google reported, comes from mobile. Despite this traffic lead, mobile falls behind desktop in terms of conversion rates.
Google researchers analyzed 900,000 mobile ads' landing pages in 126 countries. The researchers found that bulk of these mobile sites are slow and stuffed with too many features.
"Our research has been eye-opening,” said Daniel An, Global Product Lead, Mobile Web at Google. “For 70% of the pages we analyzed, it took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than 10 seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold.”
You can check how your website fared in terms of speed at Test My Site – a free service offered by Google that analyzes your website in terms of speed and usability.
According to Google, these two are the top factors that affect site loading: number of site elements and number of images.
Researchers at Google said the high number of site elements results in greater site's weight and complexity. A typical webpage today, the researchers said, weighs 2,486KB and holds nearly 100 assets hosted on dozens of different servers – issues that contribute to slow loading.
The second factor that contributes to the slow loading of a page, the researchers said, is the high number of images. A typical page can contain logos, favicons and product images that can easily add up to two-thirds of a page's total weight – equivalent to hundreds of kilobytes. This results in cumulatively slow page loads throughout a session, the researchers said.
Reducing the number of elements and reducing the number of images in your site can make your site load faster.
Google researchers also found that webpages that have more images and other elements result in fewer conversions.
To speed up your site, a mere compression of images and text can make a big difference. Thirty percent of webpages, according to Google, could save more than 250KB through this simple process.
"It's no secret that shoppers expect a fast mobile experience,” An said. “If there's too much friction, they'll abandon their cart and move on. Today, it's critical that marketers design fast web experiences across all industry sectors. Consumers want to quickly pay bills on finance sites, get rapid results when they're browsing vacation reviews, and view an article immediately when they click through.”
How Marketing Across Canada’s Culturally Diverse Consumers Helps Brand’s Reputation
Canada is a multicultural country. Connecting with Canada’s culturally diverse consumers can help your brand’s reputation.
Canada’s Multicultural Landscape
According to Statistics Canada, 1 in 5 Canadians are born outside of Canada. Toronto and Vancouver, in particular, are the most culturally diverse cities, with 49% to 51% of their residents born outside of this country but call Canada home. Statistics Canada said the number of visible minorities in this country will only become bigger, with nearly one-third of the population will be a visible minority by 2031.
A study conducted from June 2017 to July 2017 by MediaCom showed that only 25% of people who self-identify as a visible minority feel that brands speak to people with different cultural backgrounds. More than a third of those who self-identify as visible minority feel that in cases where their ethnicity is represented, it’s frequently done in a stereotypical manner.
Finances and Spending Trends
The MediaCom study found that many of the first-generation visible minorities in Canada are professionals. While their household incomes aren’t higher than the average Canadian consumer, first-generation visible minorities have significant savings.
With their significant savings and the desire to live permanently in Canada, the study found that first-generation visible minorities tend to spend more on personal care to electronic gadgets to cars.
The study showed that first-generation visible minorities in Canada make up 34% of those who opened a bank account in the past 12 months in Canada, 43% of those who subscribed to an internet service provider, and 57% of those who bought a mobile phone.
In the study "Marketing across Canada’s multicultural landscape? New research from MediaCom Canada reveals what you need to know", MediaCom surveyed these ethnic groups: Chinese, South Asian, Latin/Central/South American, Arab, and Southeast Asian (including Japanese and Korean).
These ethnic groups who now consider Canada as their home are mobile-first consumers. The reason why they’re considered as mobile-first consumers is because these ethnic groups came from countries that moved directly to mobile to access the internet, skipping the broadband internet connection phase.
Visible minorities in Canada reported spending 20% less time watching TV, 12% less time listening to the radio and 42% more time on mobile phones compared to the average Canadian consumer.
First-generation visible minorities reported they are exposed to 13 digital touchpoints (defined as any digital means a consumer interacts with a business) each week; second-generation visible minorities said they are exposed to 12 digital touchpoints each week; and the average Canadian consumers said they’re only exposed to 9 digital touchpoints each week.
Marketing in a Multicultural Society
Here are some takeaways on how to connect with Canada’s culturally diverse consumers and in the process help build your brand’s reputation:
If your company wants to connect with the first-generation and second-generation visible minorities, the right venue is the mobile platform. As mentioned, these visible minorities are mobile-savvy, taking into consideration that they’ve skipped the broadband internet connection phase.
As the Canadian marketplace is becoming more and more diverse, it’s important for businesses to balance the need to reach the masses with specific targeting. According to MediaCom, if you want your brand to connect with a particular ethnicity, it’s important to provide content for them in their native language.
Nearly two-thirds of the visible minorities surveyed by MediaCom reported that when brands communicate via advertising using their native language “they feel closer and it makes the brand appear more meaningful”.
“Marketers can serve an ad in a native language, but that is just the first step,” MediaCom said. “They need to create content that accurately represents consumers of different cultural backgrounds. The longer-term goal would be to build culturally meaningful connections with these consumers that celebrates diversity.”
One approach in accurately representing Canada’s diverse cultural backgrounds is by using diverse imagery.
“Businesses and brands have been slow to move with the times as it relates to how they visually market their brand and products,” said Robyn Lange, Curator and photo Editor at Shutterstock. “However, the world is increasingly diverse and multicultural, meaning these businesses need to quickly catch up if they are to continue engaging their customers and growing their business.”
Lange added, “In a time where images and video content dominate our feeds, visual choices are critical considerations as a brand looks to stand out from the crowd and connect with their audience.”
Coca-Cola is an example of a company that promotes diversity and inclusion in its ad campaigns. In the late 1960s, following the Detroit race riots and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the company came up with an ad that featured African-Americans and whites together – something that the company had never done before.
The ad known simply as “Boys on a Bench” showed an iconic shot of a group of boys – African-Americans and whites – sitting shoulder to shoulder on a segregation bench, with their arms touching across the segregation bar looking relaxed and happy, sharing a lighthearted moment over a Coke.
Companies are beginning to take a stronger stance on diversity and inclusion. For instance, "CoverGirl” launched in late 2016 its diversity and inclusion campaign featuring a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
A study conducted by Shutterstock and Censuswide showed that UK marketers are increasingly using images that promote diversity and inclusion. Seventy-nine percent of the marketers surveyed by Shutterstock and Censuswide confirmed they are using more images of homosexual couples and 71% are choosing more racially diverse images.
The study showed that marketers are conscious of the need to be more inclusive in the images they choose for ad campaigns, not just for promoting a brand message (30%) but also to better reflect modern-day society (71%).
Nowadays, social media savvy consumers are quick to call out those brands that don’t promote diversity and inclusion in their campaigns. Employees, partners, stakeholders and investors are also becoming less tolerant of homogeneity and are turning to brands that better reflect culturally diverse society.
How Customer Service via Social Media Channels Can Improve Online Reputation
Want to improve your organization’s online reputation? The answer may lie in improving your organization’s customer service via social media channels.
Whether it’s praising a company for a great service, venting frustration about bad service or seeking a response for help for a particular service issue, more and more consumers are turning to social media channels.
A study conducted by Research Now and commissioned by Twitter found that 61% of users surveyed see Twitter as the right environment to discuss customer service queries with brands. Forty percent of companies in the retail industry had recently used the platform for customer service; 33% for travel and 28% for telecoms, according to the study.
In another study focused on telecommunication brands, Twitter in partnership with TNS found that those who had received a response from a brand had almost 3 times higher brand preference than those who hadn’t received a response from a brand. The Twitter study also found that consumers are willing to pay an additional $20 or more to travel with an airline company that responds to their Tweet in less than 6 minutes.
According to Twitter, delivering great customer service via its platform “drives and builds customer loyalty”. The company said that 96% of users who turned to Twitter for customer service and had a friendly experience with a brand would buy from that brand again.
Social Media Servicing vs. Social Media Marketing
A study by J.D. Power showed that consumers see social media channels of businesses as a means to engage in customer service. The study found that 67% of consumers have used a company's social media site to engage in customer service (answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems), compared with 33% for social marketing (brand awareness and affinity).
A study by the American Express (PDF) found that consumers are increasingly impatient to wait for customer service via phone or in-person (at a retail store, at a restaurant or at a service provider's office).
The American Express study showed that 1 in 5 or 22% of consumers are only willing to wait less than 5 minutes on hold when they contact a customer service center by telephone, while average consumers are willing to a maximum of 13 minutes. In person, consumers are also willing to wait an average of 13 minutes for customer service help. The American Express study also found that over 1 in 5 or 23% of consumers have utilized social media to get a customer service response.
"Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy. Social media continues to grow rapidly, offering global consumers new and meaningful ways to engage with the people, events and brands that matter to them,” Nielsen and NM Incite said in their Social Media Report. “The recent proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media.”
The Nielsen and NM Incite report found that 33% of customers prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.
The Research Now and Twitter study showed that consumers expect brands to respond quickly to their queries. The study found that 24% of users consider speed as the most important attribute for customer service on Twitter, while a quarter agreed that it’s important. Seventy-one of Twitter users expect a brand to respond to their query within an hour of Tweeting, according to the study.
“Twitter is about what’s happening now,” Twitter in the blog post "Customer Service on Twitter and the impact on brands" said. “That means when it comes to customer service, users expect brands to respond quickly.”
The Future of Customer Service: Chatbots
Responding to consumers’ queries on social media channels is time-consuming and needs more manpower. Many of the queries of consumers are also repetitive. To remedy these issues, brands have engaged chatbots. A very simplistic chatbot is the one that answers your call whenever you call a company’s hotline number. Think of the “Press 1 for …. Press 2 for …. Press for…” response.
Chatbots have come a long way. Their capabilities now go beyond simplistic responses. Facebook, for instance, launched in April 2016 the “bots on Messenger” – a platform that allows businesses to deliver automated customer support, from answering commonly asked questions to selling goods and services via Facebook Messenger.
According to Facebook, in just over two months after the launched of the bots on Messenger, over 11,000 chatbots were launched on Messenger and over 23,000 developers have signed up for Wit.ai's Bot Engine – platform offered by Facebook for developers to create customized chatbots.
For example, it’s now easy to request an Uber ride via Uber’s chatbot on the Facebook Messenger platform. There’s no need to open the Uber app. To request an Uber ride, you simply search “Uber” on Messenger, start a conversation, tap the car icon and then you'll be able to see a fare estimate along with your driver's name, vehicle make and model and license plate number.
As of November 2017, Facebook reported that 2 billion messages are sent and received between consumers and businesses each month via Messenger (including both automated and people-initiated) and there are 100,000 monthly active bots on the Messenger platform.
Facebook said 53% of users who message businesses via Messenger say they are more likely to shop with a business they can message. According to telecom company Globe, using a chatbot on Facebook Messenger provides meaningful and efficient customer service. The telecom company said it successfully increased employee productivity by 3.5 times and reduced calls to its hotline by 50%.
Given that Facebook Messenger has a wide reach, developing a chatbot for your company via the Facebook Messenger is worth considering. Your organization’s customized chatbot can create real-time and scalable customer service experience that feels personal for your customers. This modern way of connecting with consumers comes with a price though, including Facebook fees and the cost for the developer who’ll develop your organization’s customized chatbot for Messenger.
How to Use Patient Online Reviews to Benefit Your Healthcare Facility
A few years back, business reputation was earned by word of mouth. Today’s business reputation still relies on word of mouth – just the digital version of it: online reputation.
Once you put up a business, your customers are bound to talk about your products and services. Instead of telling you, your staff or other customers in person, they’ll tell the whole world about your business online – through online reviews.
How Patients View Online Reviews
Online reviews of healthcare practitioners are particularly sought out by patients. Patients are increasingly turning to online reviews about healthcare providers, just like they do for other products and services.
Fifty-nine percent said healthcare provider rating sites are “somewhat” or “very” important, this according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Patients are increasingly turning to online physician ratings, just as they have sought ratings for other products and services," researchers said in the article "Public Awareness, Perception, and Use of Online Physician Rating Sites" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For years, the academic community and healthcare providers themselves have dismissed online reviews. But the rise of popularity of online review sites like Yelp has forced the issue of online reviews to the forefront. At the end of 2016, the Yelp platform generated a total of 121 million reviews, 6% of them about health care providers.
"After years of academic debate over the role and value of patient-satisfaction scores and reviews of health care providers, Yelp, the online powerhouse of documenting customer satisfaction, is forcing the issue," Dr. Vivian Lee said in the article "Transparency and Trust – Online Patient Reviews of Physicians" published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “Although this free and familiar platform can generate an impressive volume of feedback data, physicians do not always respond positively to the sudden exposure of sometimes negative reviews."
Other online reviews like Google can’t be dismissed. If someone searches your healthcare facility, for instance, Google reviews appear next to your organization’s listing in Maps and Search.
How to Use Patient Online Reviews to Your Organization’s Advantage
Dismissal of online reviews is a passive reaction. Some healthcare providers, however, take their reactions about negative reviews to the next level – to the point of violating patient-clinician confidentiality.
A California dentist reprimanded a patient who accused him on Yelp of misdiagnosing her. “I looked very closely at your radiographs and it was obvious that you have cavities and gum disease that your other dentist has overlooked. … You can live in a world of denial and simply believe what you want to hear from your other dentist or make an educated and informed decision.”
In Canada, the clinician’s confidentiality duty is both a legal and ethical obligation. Canada has privacy legislation that requires the consent of an individual before his or her personal information can be collected, used or disclosed. The Canadian Medical Association's Code of Ethics, in particular, requires physicians to protect their patients' personal health information.
Instead of dismissing, reacting negatively to online reviews, it pays to be positively pro-active in dealing with online reviews. Here are simple steps to claim and improve your healthcare facility’s online reputation and online reviews:
1. Provide Consistent Contact Details
One of the ways to improve your organization’s online reputation is by providing consistent contact details. Across different online platforms, provide consistent contact details, consisting of your organization’s name, address, phone number and website – collectively known as NAP + W.
By providing consistent contact details across different online platforms, Google can validate the information and include this data in its algorithm – giving your organization’s contact details and your organization’s website better visibility in its search result pages.
There are companies that collect contact details of businesses. Google and Yelp subscribe to these data providers. Google, Yelp and similar organizations also scour the internet for contact details of businesses and then add them to their databases. This explains why your organization’s contact details find their way to Yelp, YellowPages and other sites even if no one in your organization created a listing on these sites.
2. Solicit Reviews
Another way to improve your organization’s online reputation is to solicit reviews. While it’s unethical to solicit good reviews, it’s proper to solicit reviews. It’s an established good practice for businesses to solicit reviews in order to get valuable performance feedback for learning and improving. In the past, companies get feedbacks from customers by asking them to drop their written comments into a suggestion or comment box.
After every visit to your healthcare facility, send an email to every customer, asking them about their experience. The email soliciting a feedback is similar to the suggestion box. In the email, provide a link to top review site like Yelp for them to share their positive experience. If they’re dissatisfied with the service, provide a link that goes back to you and your staff. Some healthcare providers offer dissatisfied patients another visit at no cost to correct or remedy the situation.
By providing a link to a top review site, your organization increases your positive reviews. And by providing a link to your organization if they’re dissatisfied, negative reviews can be prevented. We don’t live in a perfect world. By inviting your patients to come back to your facility, your organization will have another chance to offer a better service. This also gives your patients an opportunity to voice out their dissatisfaction directly to you and your staff, instead of blasting your organization over the internet.
3. Provide Staff Training about Good Customer Service
Providing top-notched healthcare service isn’t limited to the clinician’s expert hands. Your healthcare facility will be evaluated by your customers, not just based on the skills of clinicians, but also by the service offered by other personnel in your organization – from cleaning personnel to the receptionist. It, therefore, pays to train your staff to do the best they could from cleanliness to being courteous to customers.
Customers won’t hesitate to give your organization positive reviews if they receive top-notched service from clinicians right down to the receptionist.
Need help with call quality screening and a complete review process automation? Give us a call today to get started and get more positive reviews.
How to Remove Your Sensitive Personal Information from Search Engine
There are things in our past that we would rather forget like an ugly divorce proceeding and personal bankruptcy.
Canadians were taunted about their ugly past when the Romanian website Globe24h.com republished the Canadian court and tribunal decisions that are also available on Canadian legal website CanLII.org.
Unlike CanLII – a non-profit organization created and funded by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada – which doesn’t index its web content for search engines, Globe24h allows search engines to find its web content. Because of the indexing of the Globe24h content, personal information like full names, children’s names and other sensitive data of a number of Canadians appeared prominently on search engine results.
Forty-nine Canadians complained against Globe24h from October 2013 to April 2016 before the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. While the complainants understood that the court and tribunal decisions would be published somewhere for record purposes and to aid the courts and legal profession in understanding the development and application of the law, they didn’t understand why these decisions would appear as a result of a casual search on a search engine like Google.
In January this year, the Federal Court of Canada ordered the owner of Globe24h to remove all Canadian court and tribunal decisions containing personal information and “take the necessary steps to remove these decisions from search engines caches”.
The court ruled that the claim “to make law accessible for free on the Internet” by the owner of Globe24h can’t be considered journalistic as the owner “adds no value to the publication by way of commentary, additional information or analysis”. Globe24h has ceased operation since then.
Right to be Forgotten
Google.com was registered on September 15, 1997. In its close to 20 years of existence, it has become the world’s most popular search engine. Seeing your tense divorce proceeding, with personal details, including the names and birth dates of your children on search engine results is understandably a disturbing experience.
In 2010, a Spanish national filed a complaint against a Spanish newspaper, Google Spain and Google, Inc., asking the three entities to remove the data relating to his personal bankruptcy case as this had been fully resolved for a number of years and, therefore, any reference to the case was entirely irrelevant.
On May 13, 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (PDF) ruled in a landmark decision popularly called “Right to be Forgotten” that citizens in EU countries have the right to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them. The court clarified that the right to be forgotten isn’t absolute and should be balanced against other fundamental rights, including freedom of expression.
The EU Court’s decision leaves the responsibility to search engines to assess case by case the sensitivity of the data in question to the individual's private life and the interest of the public to access such information.
The right to be forgotten is accurately defined as "a right to be delisted from search results” by Kent Walker, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Google in a blog post dated May 19, 2016. According to Walker, across Europe, Google reviewed nearly 1.5 million webpages and delisted around 40%.
Another case is pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union, this time, asking Google not only to delist certain webpages from Google’s search engine results in one particular country but also in every country in the world. Google opposes the worldwide application of the right to be forgotten.
"For hundreds of years, it has been an accepted rule of law that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of other countries,” Walker said. “As a company that operates globally, we work hard to respect these differences.”
While the question of whether the right to be forgotten should be applied worldwide with regards to requests from EU citizens is still pending before the EU Court, the Supreme Court of Canada already ruled on the question of worldwide delisting of webpages from search results.
In a decision dated June 28, 2017, the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada ordered Google to globally de-index websites of the company named only as “D”. The case arises from the patent dispute between D and another company named “E”. D and its representatives have ignored all previous court orders made against them, left Canada and operate their business in unknown locations.
“D is only able to survive – at the expense of E’s survival – on Google’s search engine which directs potential customers to D’s websites,” Justice Abella, writing for the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, said. “This makes Google the determinative player in allowing the harm to occur.”
In their dissenting opinion, Justices Côté and Rowe said that the order against Google to de-list the websites of D is rendered ineffective as D launches new websites to replace de-listed ones. "Courts should avoid granting injunctions that require such cumbersome court-supervised updating,” Justices Côté and Rowe said.
Canadian citizens can request Google to remove sensitive information from its search engine results. As a rule, the search engine giant will remove child sexual abuse imagery. It’ll also remove content in response to valid legal requests such as copyright notifications.
On a case-to-case basis, according to Google, it may remove personal information after asking the following questions:
Google also recommends contacting the website owner. “Even if Google deletes the site or image from our search results, the webpage still exists and can be found through the URL to the site, social media sharing, or other search engines,” the search engine giant said.
The company added that it usually doesn’t remove content that can be found on official government websites as the data is already publicly available.
4 Benefits of Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations
Social Media Evolution
Social Media Evolution
There was a time in history when social media was considered as only useful to a certain demographic. Remember Myspace or Friendster?
Over the years, accessibility and the desire to feel connected with people with similar backgrounds and interests give rise to the growth of tech giants like Facebook, enabling social media to evolve into a platform that appeals to the masses.
According to statistics portal Statista, Facebook – the social media platform founded in 2004 – currently sits as the number one social network with 2.05 billion monthly active users as of August 2017. The statistics portal, meanwhile, reported that the number of Facebook users in Canada reached 18.2 million in 2016. This number is projected to grow to 19.6 million in 2020.
YouTube, the video-sharing platform owned by Google, is the second most popular social networking site with 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide as of August 2017 according to Statista. Photo-sharing platform Instagram sits at 7th place with 700 million monthly active users as of August 2017; blogging service Tumblr sits at 9th place with 357 million active monthly users and microblogging service Twitter sits at 10th place with 328 million active monthly users.
Nonprofits and charities are the early adopters of social media. The 2010 study conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Eric Mattson of Financial Insite Inc. revealed that charitable organizations in the US outpaced the business world and academia in their social media use. The study showed that 93% of the top US charities have a Facebook profile, 87% have a Twitter presence and 65% have a blog.
The study called “2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report” (PDF) by Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good showed that nonprofits and charities in North America have been the early adopters of social media. As of 2016, according to the study, 97% of nonprofit organizations have a Facebook page; 85% have a Twitter profile; 71% have a LinkedIn profile; 63% have a YouTube account and 46% have an Instagram profile.
The Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good study also found that 34% of nonprofit organizations in North America assign the social media management responsibility to development, program, administrative, and/or executive staff; 33% assign the responsibility to a communications staff person; 27% depend on a full-time or part-time social media manager and 6% depend upon volunteers.
March of Dimes is an example of a nonprofit organization that leverages the use of social media. It has a presence on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Here are 4 benefits of using social media for the nonprofit organization that you run:
1. Venue to Engage Your Organization’s Current Supporters
Social media platforms are good venues to have meaningful conversation with your existing donors, volunteers and members. Start the conversion with them by sharing real stories about successful projects or the people that your organization helped.
The 2013 Millennial Impact Report (PDF) by the Case Foundation found that more than 60% of the millennials (born between the years 1979-1994) like it most when nonprofits share stories about successful projects or the people they help. The study also found that 75% of millennials like, retweet or share content on social media.
Another way to strike a conversation with your current supporters is by posting content that educates the public about the issues your organization addresses. For instance, your organization can share links to studies or news stories that support your organization’s mission. Real and educational stories that your organization posts allow your donors, volunteers and members to converse with your organization as well as converse with each other.
2. Venue to Increase Supporters
Social media is a good venue to grow your organization’s supporters, also known as “friend-raising”.
A study conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (PDF) found that “slacktivists”, popularly referred to as individuals who passively “Like” causes on Facebook but are not truly engaged, “may be more active – and valuable – than previously thought.”
The Georgetown University and Ogilvy study found that individuals who “Like” causes on Facebook are more likely than non-social media promoters to participate in the following key activities:
“The presumption was that these individuals [slacktivists] were replacing more ‘meaningful’ actions with simple clicks and shares,” said Denise Keyes, Senior Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Center for Social Impact Communication. “But what we found is that they’re actually supplementing – not replacing – actions like donating, volunteering and planning events.”
“The key takeaway is that many of the activities that slacktivists are more likely to undertake have this element of influence,” said Jennifer Wayman, Executive Vice President and Director of Social Marketing at Ogilvy Washington. “They are more likely to share what they’re doing with their networks, and there’s real value inherent in these relatively small actions that should not be underestimated.”
3. Venue for Fundraising
It’s inappropriate to bombard your social media supporters with constant postings about your organization’s fundraising campaigns. Occasionally though, it’s proper to do so some fundraising activities via your organization’s social media platforms. It’s important to supplement these online fundraising campaigns with non-online fundraising activities.
4. Venue for Call to Action/Community Organizing
Social media is an effective tool to mobilize individuals to volunteer or take part in an event. On February 12, 2009, the Twestival (Twitter + festival) – serving both as a fundraising activity and call to action – brought together Twitter users to raise money for the global water crisis. The activity was able to raise over $250,000 and brought worldwide public awareness about the global water crisis issue.
Negative Reviews: Should Businesses Fear Them or Not?
In today’s digital world, consumers can easily sing high praises to your business or vent their frustrations over your products or services online.
Near Perfect or Perfect Rating is “Too Good to Be True”
High praises or 5-star reviews are instinctively embraced by businesses. Negative reviews, on the other hand, are instinctively feared. But should bad reviews be avoided altogether?
A new study from Spiegel Research Center found that, across product categories, purchase likelihood usually peaks at review ratings in the 4.0 to 4.7 range and starts to dip as review ratings approach 5. Put it in another way, the new study suggested that products with an average rating in the 4.7 to 5.0 range are less likely to be sold than those in the 4.0 to 4.7 range.
“This suggests that shoppers see ratings at the far end of the spectrum as ‘too good to be true,’” Spiegel Research Center said. “Readers are skeptical of reviews that are too positive and, in many cases, a negative online review is seen as more credible.”
Another study from the Northwestern University arrived at the same conclusion as the Spiegel Research Center study that a near perfect or perfect rating is “too good to be true”. The Northwestern University research results showed that the probability of purchase increases with rating to about 4.2 to 4.5 stars and starts to drop as the star rating approaches a perfect 5.
The two studies from Spiegel Research Center and Northwestern University showed that a small proportion of negative reviews can make a product or service more appealing to would-be consumers.
The Inevitability of Negative Reviews
An earlier PowerReviews research found that 82% of buyers seek out negative reviews; and among buyers under 45-year-olds, this number jumps to 86%.
“Shoppers are smart: they know that every item can’t be the newest, fastest, cheapest and highest quality,” PowerReviews study said. “As a result, they question products that claim to be all of the above.”
The PowerReviews study said negative reviews help businesses establish brand credibility and trust. Would-be buyers are skeptical about the lack of negative reviews, the study said.
Google's retail industry director John McAteer told the Economist that a few bad reviews are worth having. “No one trusts all positive reviews,” he said.
The Spiegel Research Center study, meanwhile, stressed that business should embrace negative reviews. Showing negative reviews on your site, Spiegel Research Center study said, helps build credibility with customers. “While it may seem counterintuitive, negative reviews can have a positive impact because they establish credibility and authenticity,” the researcher center said.
The research center recommended that instead of trying to eliminate negative reviews, it’s important to monitor them and respond to them.
Negative Reviews as Baseline for Worst-Case Scenario
According to PowerReviews, negative reviews offer a baseline for the worst-case scenario when buying a product or availing a service of a company. For instance, if the negative reviews center on the complicated way in which the product can be assembled and the other features of the product are given good reviews, a would-be buyer may proceed with the purchase if he or she doesn’t care about complicated assembly.
Other Factors that Affect Online Sales
In addition to the presence of negative reviews, the following factors affect online sales:
1. Price of the Product
The Spiegel Research Center study showed that online reviews have a greater conversion rate for expensive products. The study showed that when reviews are displayed for a higher-priced product, the conversion rate increases by 380%. For lower-priced product, on the other hand, the conversion rate increases by 190%.
2. Degree of Risk Involved in the Purchase
A product can be considered as “risky” based on its price. Aside from price, a product can be considered as risky based on its effects on health and safety. The Spiegel Research Center study showed that online reviews have a greater conversion impact for risky items.
3. Number of Reviews
The Northwestern University study called “Too good to be true: the role of online reviews’ features in probability to buy” published in the International Journal of Advertising in June 2016 found that “although the majority of extant research suggests that larger numbers of reviews bring more positive outcomes, we show that it is not always the case.”
“It’s easy to assume that having more and more reviews will continue to help drive sales,” said Spiegel Research Center in the study called “How Online Reviews Influence Sales” published on its site in June 2017. “Our research found that more reviews help, but only to a point – and that point is much lower than many might assume.”
Spiegel Research Center’s June 2017 report showed that nearly all of the increase in purchase likelihood happens within the first 10 reviews, and the first five reviews propel the majority of this increase.
4. Number of Verified Reviewers
According to PowerReviews, consumers take into consideration, not only the review but also the reviewer. “If the author of a negative review seems unlike the reader, the reader may discount the authenticity of the review for them personally,” PowerReviews said.
This is evident in the way consumers view the reviews left by verified and non-verified reviewers. In the Spiegel Research Center, verified reviewer is defined as a consumer whose purchase can be confirmed online, while anonymous reviewer is defined as someone whose purchase can’t be confirmed.
The Spiegel Research Center study showed that purchase likelihood rises by 15% when consumers read reviews written by verified buyers as opposed to anonymous reviewers. This shows that reviews written by people who have direct experience using a product or service are more trustworthy and credible, compared to anonymous reviewers who may be paid to write reviews or from those who have ulterior motives against the company.
According to the research center, verified customers give an average 4.34-star rating, while anonymous reviewers give an average 3.89-star rating. This shows that having more reviews from verified customers can help boost the value of the reviews in a number of ways.
Monitoring and responding to online reviews can is a time consuming and a tedious task. Connect with us today to learn how we can fully automate the process of getting verified customer reviews, monitor and respond to both negative and positive reviews to boost your brand, and increase sales.
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