There’s nothing stopping professional service firms from getting the same reputation management benefits of social network ratings and reviews as entertainment services. Here are a few tips for implementing a professional service-specific strategy.
1. Make a profile before someone else makes it for you.
There are plenty of cases of businesses ending up online without actively signing up themselves. As clearly stated in google’s FAQ section, “[it] license[s] basic business information from third-party data providers…and from [its] users” to set up certain pages. Instead of leaving yourself blind to former customers and clients that could be reviewing your services, take control of your Internet real estate and set up a social profile before a stranger has the chance.
2. Manage your front-office staff.
First impressions are, more often than not, everything. When writing a social networks review or choosing between three or four stars, clients will remember the faces who greeted them first – be it receptionists, nurses, or assistants. Even if the doctor’s visit went smoothly or you helped a client win a case, the overall disposition of your office is powerful enough to turn a shining review into a lackluster one. Communicate the importance of etiquette and accessibility to your entire staff in order to leave clients with something positive to relay.
3. Build a robust profile.
When building a business profile, social networks offer countless fields to fill in – and they all deserve some attention. Even seemingly basic details, such as photos of your office or explanation of payment methods, are worth including. social networks pages get premium placement in Google search results, increasing the likelihood that potential clients may see your social networks profile before your actual website – so it should be just as informative. Take advantage of more advanced profile widgets including “Meet the Manager” and “Recommend Like-Minded Businesses,” which help give your firm a richer online personality.
4. Encourage reviews from current or former clients.
Once your work with a client or patient is complete, there is no harm in asking them to consider reviewing their experience online. This is the easiest way to rack up credibility and, if you’re confident that the service you provided was a success, you’re likely to see plenty of positive feedback. Even if the reviews you receive aren’t all five stars, they’re still wins; take comments as constructive criticism and use them as foundation for improvement. If you’re uncomfortable asking for reviews outright, include a link to your online profile on your website and in your email signature instead.
5. Interact with Networks.
Many businesses assume that social networking is a one-way venue for consumers and clients to voice praise or bad experiences. The beauty of online networking, however, is its interactivity. As a service provider, you should take the time to publicly and privately respond to reviews – both positive and negative – on a regular basis. Some professionals worry that replying to negative posts sheds an unnecessary spotlight on the blemish, but if done tastefully, an owner response can take the edge off a scathing review. Letting clients know that their opinion matters puts you in the proactive spot. While it may be too late to rectify the precise problem, you can still salvage a relationship (or potential referral) and make changes for the future.