Tend Your Reputation Garden
Green-thumb tips for cultivating a positive online reputation - and a healthier business
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Have your candidates
A negative review?
The poem may be a bit silly, but bad online reviews are no joke!
If you've ever read comments about staffing agencies on sites like Glassdoor or Facebook, you know they're no bed of roses.
On the whole, our reputation as an industry stinks!
In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find a company that doesn't have at least one bad review from a candidate who didn't get placed. Left unchecked, negative reviews can quickly grow into a bed of virtual weeds that choke out the great reviews, damage your reputation - and hurt your bottom line.
On the other hand, positive reviews showcasing great experiences, shareworthy service, outstanding results and genuine trust are key factors in winning the war for talent and staffing clients - online and off:
- 50% of consumers will visit a business' site after reading a positive online review. (BrightLocal)
- There's a strong relationship between star ratings and conversions. One study found a 1.5-star improvement led to 13,000 more leads! (Location3)
- Positive reviews can also help boost your SEO and where you rank within Google. Improving from 3 stars to 5 stars can even result in 25% more clicks for Google's local search results. (BrightLocal)
Do you have a green thumb - in reputation management?
In many ways, your staffing or recruiting firm's reputation is like a rose garden. It requires careful tending to cultivate blooms (great reviews) and keep the weeds and bugs (negative reviews) at bay. To make - and keep - your garden beautiful, keep these green-thumb tips in mind:
The power of online reviews boils down to one factor: TRUST.
Can candidates trust you with their careers?
Can prospective clients trust you with their business?
For many, reading online reviews is one of the first steps they take when evaluating your services. Before deciding to work with you, prospective clients and candidates naturally search for social proof to reassure themselves that they're making a good choice. As a result, what others say about you online greatly influences potential customers' opinions:
- 78% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from a friend or family member. If your friend had a bad experience with a company, would you bother learning more about their services? Probably not.
- If you think 78% is high, hold onto your hat: The percentage skyrockets to 91% for 18-34-year-olds in the growing millennial and Gen Z workforce! (BrightLocal)
To wilt or to bloom?
On the one hand, a nasty review from an angry customer can leave new relationships wilting before they ever have a chance to bloom, driving away new leads that are still doing their research.
- 94% of consumers have avoided a business because of a negative online review. (ReviewTrackers) Probably not.
- When businesses have less than a 4-star rating, 80% of consumers lose trust. (ReviewTrackers)
On the other hand, positive reviews can dramatically boost conversions and revenue:
- If you're working from the ground up, keep this in mind: Conversions increase by 270% when you go from 0 reviews to 5 reviews online! (Spiegel Research Center)
- A Harvard study found that even a one-star increase on Yelp can lead to as much as a 9% increase in revenue. (Harvard Business School)
Keeping all this in mind, it's time to go beyond the data and numbers.
We know why client and candidate testimonials matter - but what steps should you take to get beautiful reviews to pop up online for your staffing firm?
Tend your reputation garden!
1. Cultivate your blooms.
Before reaching out to clients and candidates for testimonials and reviews, think of whom you want to ask:
- The Raving Fans: These are your success stories! They're the most satisfied and loyal people you've served. When reaching out for reviews, these should be both your most effortless wins and the source of your most positive customer experiences.
- The Invisible Man: Do you have clients you don't hear from much? A candidate you placed and haven't touched base with since? Don't mistake silence for satisfaction; ask for feedback! Assumptions are dangerous, and giving this group an opportunity to voice their opinion could turn out more positive reviews than you think.
2. Fertilize regularly for maximum yield.
Once you've determined whom you want to gather reviews from:
- Create opportunities for customers to leave reviews. Have you claimed your Google My Business listing? Are you on Facebook? Is there a review form somewhere on your site? Before reaching out for reviews, make sure you're setting yourself up for success.
- Ask! Kindly ask for reviews from those happy clients and candidates, and provide links to make it easy for them. Remember: They go out of their way to share their experience.
- Offer alternatives. Even if people are happy with your services, not everyone is going to want to leave a public review. It's important to provide other options, and tools like staffing satisfaction surveys are another great way to learn how they're feeling.
- Involve your internal team. Educate your sales team and recruiters on the importance of reviews to their work, and find ways to involve them in the process, too.
- Follow up with everyone who leaves a review and deliver a WOW! This is your chance to go above and beyond for those who take the time to leave thoughtful, positive reviews. Send them a handwritten thank-you note or even a personalized gift to show your appreciation - and remind them why they left that positive review in the first place!
3. Tend to those weeds, too.
While you want to gather more positive reviews to build trust and craft your online reputation, dealing with the negative ones is just as important:
- Preparation and process are key. Have a plan for how your team will respond to bad comments and negative reviews. Don't just nip these in the bud. A good rule is to respond with understanding and empathy; then find a way to talk with the person offline to hear them out and work through the disconnect privately. (More on that on our InSights podcast episode!) If you satisfactorily resolve the individual's issue, they may even be willing to take the negative review down - or at least amend it.
- Find the silver lining. Negative reviews can bring to light problems you didn't realize were there. If you notice a pattern to complaints, work on improving those issues where you can. It's impossible to please every customer every time, but implementing one or two small changes makes a big impact on future relationships - and your brand.
- Work negative reviews to your advantage. 68% of consumers have more trust in a brand when they see both good and bad reviews. Just make sure to follow up with negative reviews in a mature, professional manner that is true to your brand as soon as possible. (Broadly)
4. Show off those beautiful blooms!
Gardeners proudly display their prized blooms in carefully arranged bouquets. So, once you've gathered all those wonderful reviews, don't just let them sit on your site! Feature them in elements of your marketing strategy to strengthen your brand, improve your recruiting and attract new clients:
- Convert your most shareworthy reviews into graphics you can easily share on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- Leverage the power of video! This ultra-engaging format is an attention grabber you can also roll out across social media.
- Expand great reviews into more substantial case studies, or create a series of blogs that showcase these positive experiences.
- Reinforce trust with clients and candidates already on your email list by sharing 5-star reviews in your next newsletter.
- Spruce up collateral with reviews. Sell sheets and brochures are a great place to showcase your successes and a great resource for your sales team!
- Give a well-deserved shout out. Congratulate recruiters and other team members who might have been specifically mentioned in your online reviews to reward their service.
Being diligent and proactive about collecting positive online reviews on sites like Glassdoor, Facebook, Google and Yelp is an essential part of a modern marketing strategy. Focus on sharing experiences of clients and candidates whom you love working with and who enjoy working with you, and success is sure to follow.
Need help managing your online reputation?
Haley Marketing can help you stop negative comments. Get more positive reviews. And strengthen your brand online.
Connect with a marketing educator - and put our green thumb to work in your garden!