Wouldn’t it be nice if all the reviews we got for our businesses were five stars with glowing descriptions of how great it is to work with you? While that may be the dream, more often than not reviews are a more difficult marketing strategy to work with, especially when you work in a field like accounting. There are times when issues that aren’t your fault are placed on your shoulders, which makes it difficult to manage your online presence and your reputation.
Thankfully, there are strategies that you can use to boost your online reputation and use reviews, both positive and negative, to your advantage. In this article, we’ll help you understand why managing your online reputation is important, and let you know how you can take control of your online presence with the best reputation management platform for accountants and CPAs.
Managing Your Reputation in Today’s Customer-Driven World
To begin, let’s talk about why reviews matter. Any review is feedback from a customer where they share details about their experience with your business in a format that can be viewed by other people. A review might be a description of their experience, or it could be as simple as a star rating to voice what they would rate their interaction with your business overall.
Reviews play an important role in how modern consumers shop around for businesses in their area. When someone goes to search for a business online, they are often directed to a directory profile like Google Business Profile or Facebook business page. There, reviews are front and center. People will look at the star rating and reviews to see what previous reviewers have said about your business.
Think about it from a consumer perspective. When you last went on Amazon to buy an item, did you immediately add something to your cart when it looked right? Or did you scroll down to read the customer reviews to understand what the general consensus was of people who purchased the item before? More likely than not, you checked the reviews.
We tend to trust the opinions of others when we are facing something we haven’t dealt with before. When someone is looking to find an accounting firm, they want to partner with a person or agency that has provided positive results for people in the past. If you don’t have good reviews, people start to question your skill and your ability to file their taxes correctly and help them with other financial matters.
How to Build a 5-Star Reputation
Every business would like a full five stars across the board. But even if you don’t have five stars, you can still build a five-star reputation by managing your reviews correctly and using strategic approaches to how you respond and engage with customers on review sites. There are a few rules of thumb you need to follow when it comes to responding to reviews.
Strategies for Positive Reviews
Positive feedback is great for businesses. It not only helps you showcase your skill to leads who might have been searching for accounting solutions, but it also makes you feel good personally about the job you have done.
Getting those positive reviews is another matter. To help facilitate a healthy amount of positive incoming reviews, here are a few strategies to employ:
- Ask for reviews from clients after a good experience
- Keep your feedback forms brief
- Make reviews easy to complete with direct links and landing pages
- Work to improve the experience in your office
- Showcase positive reviews everywhere – on your website, your social media, and your news blasts
- Follow up with clients for reviews
Strategies for Negative Reviews
It would be nice if all reviews were glowing recommendations. But the truth is that not every client will have a good experience with you. Whether it was due to a genuine error you made, an uncomfortable atmosphere, or even problems that are out of your hands, you are bound to get some negative reviews.
The first instinct is always to fight back and get defensive. But this is a mistake that can do more harm than the review itself. Rather than trying to discount negative reviews, you should instead showcase your professionalism in the response. Here are some tips for responding to negative reviews about your accounting firm:
- Never ignore a negative review, always respond to it
- Genuinely apologize for any errors that were your fault
- Offer to make things right or leave a contact number for the reviewer
- Carefully consider the feedback you receive and if you can use it to improve future customer experiences
- Add context to reviews that go overboard or misrepresent facts without getting defensive
- Never shame or try to retaliate against a reviewer who leaves a review under five stars.
How Surefire Local Can Help You Get More 5-Star Reviews
Controlling your online reputation and making sure that your reviews are working for you, not against you, is an important part of your marketing efforts. In order to do this successfully, you need to have the right platform on your side. Surefire Local is the best reputation management platform for accountants who understand the value of reviews and want to improve their online presence. Here are a few ways we can help:
Connect with Top Review Platforms
The Surefire Local marketing platform connects you with top review platforms like Google Business Profile, Facebook, and Yelp, so you can see all of your online reviews in one place as a timeline view. Rather than trying to sort through different sites individually and hoping you don’t miss a new review, you can easily access and read all reviews from all sites in one platform.
Send Review Requests
Sending out review requests can sometimes be uncomfortable for accountants. But it’s an important part of your reputation management strategy. With the help of Surefire Local, you can send review requests to your happy customers through text message or email with quick links to get to different review platforms.
Write and Post Responses
Responding to both positive and negative reviews lets customers know you have heard their feedback and appreciate the time they took to leave a review. Surefire Local allows you to write and post your responses to reviews within the platform, so you don’t have to log in and out of different review sites and profiles to show clients you care. Instead, we make it easy for you to respond to reviews directly from your Surefire Local account.
Send Reminder Emails and Text Messages
Even after you’ve sent a review request to a happy customer, they may not respond to it. It could be that they forgot, that they meant to leave a review but lost the link, or that they put it aside to focus on something else. However, you still want to get that positive feedback, so you can post it online and help improve your reputation. Using Surefire Local you can send reminder emails and text messages to customers who have received a request but haven’t filled it out yet.
Eliminated Wasted Time
Going platform to platform checking to see if you have a new review and responding to any that might have been posted is time-consuming and not a good use of your valuable marketing hours. The Surefire Local Marketing Platform eliminates the wasted time between logins and platform switching to provide an easy-to-use timeline view of reviews that helps you save time and quickly manage your reputation.
Measure Brand Sentiment
Another helpful tool that Surefire Local provides is a word cloud graph that allows you to measure brand sentiment. Brand sentiment is the overall opinion that reviewers have of your business. The graph shows you the most frequently used words from customers in reviews, so you can get a sense of what your strengths are and where your weaknesses lie.
Optimize Your Brand Presence
Finally, you can use Surefire Local to optimize your brand presence on all review sites and on more than 80 local business directories by managing the information found about your business. That includes information like the photos displayed, any special offers you’re running, and more to help craft a better brand and a strong online presence.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
At Surefire Local, we are dedicated to helping accountants like you get the most out of your marketing budget and achieve great results. Our platform is designed to provide business intelligence and marketing software at a fraction of the cost of other tools or agencies. We’ve developed features that help small businesses and accounting firms simplify their marketing tasks and focus on what matters most.
To learn more about the best reputation management platform for accountants and dive deep into the features and tools of Surefire Local, book a demo today and discover how we can take your accounting firm to the next level.