Social proof and reviews are critical for a bank or credit union's reputation, so we’ve asked our friends at BirdEye to put together this handy guide about improving your online reputation (with a helping hand from automation). If you’re not sure how this can improve your digital marketing results, how to claim your profile on listing sites and consistently get your customers to leave reviews, you need to read this article.
Nowadays, one of the first things that potential members see when they Google your financial institution is your overall star rating. For that reason, online reputation is now an essential part of building trust with the community and attracting new customers. In this guide, we’ll break down why online reputation matters and how your financial institution can use the power of reviews to be found, be chosen, and be the best.
Why your online reputation matters
When it comes to something as important as finances, people want to go to organizations they can trust. In the past, financial institutions signaled credibility through grand architecture and marble columns. But now that the world is shifting to digital, potential members look online to determine businesses’ credibility.
Instead of using magnificent architecture, you can impress potential members with glowing reviews on sites like Google and Facebook. The better your reviews, the better chance your financial institution has of getting chosen over competitors. After all, studies show that 92% of customers consult reviews before making any purchase decision.
But it’s not just members that trust reviews. Search engines trust them too. Remember, Google aims to give users the best results. Great reviews are a sign that you're providing great experiences to members. According to Moz, reviews are the third most-important factor when it comes to ranking higher in local search results.
How to improve your online reputation
If your online reputation isn’t quite where you’d like it to be, don’t stress out. Here are a few ways that you can improve your online reputation.
Claiming your profile on listing sites
The first step to improving your online reputation is making it easy for customers to find the information they need to reach out. That means claiming your business profile on prominent listing sites like Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp.
Once your profile is claimed, make sure to update these profiles with information that members will need to get in contact with you. That means your phone number, hours of operation, and address.
Be sure that your listing information is consistent across the Internet. One small typo can lead to a lot of confusion for your customers and can even cause a penalty in your search rankings.
Asking your customers for reviews
Studies show that the customers who are most likely to leave reviews are those who feel that they’ve had a negative experience. To collect more-balanced feedback, be sure to actively solicit reviews from customers after important events like a loan approval. In situations like these, your financial institution will be top-of-mind and your customers will most likely be happy to leave feedback.
To get the best results, we recommend sending review requests through text or email that link directly to your profile on review sites. This makes the entire process quick and simple. Instead of having to hunt down your business profile, the customer simply has to click the link and leave a review.
Respond to customer reviews
Remember to respond to all customer reviews. While many financial institutions neglect this step, a study by Harvard Business Review found that responding to reviews leads to a higher overall star rating. When you’re actively engaging with your customer, they’re more likely to have a positive impression of your financial institution.
Of course, it’s also important to respond to reviews in a timely manner. We recommend that financial institutions aim to respond within 24-48 hours. Waiting too long to respond to a bad review may mean that it’s too late to change the customer's mind about your brand. On the other hand, a quick and effective response can turn an angry member into a loyal promoter.
Use reviews to improve customer experience
Reviews can be a great way to identify issues in your overall experience. Since customers often use reviews as a way to complain about problems they encountered when dealing with your financial institution, a pattern of negative reviews might be a sign of a deeper issue.
For example, you might see that customers are often complaining about “appointment scheduling”. If this is the case, take a deeper dive into your reviews, and try to determine why this problem is arising. Then, figure out what changes can be made to fix the issue in the future and get in contact with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that it does not happen again.
How automation can help
Improving online reputation manually is a process that can take serious time and effort. It’s not easy for team members to add soliciting and monitoring reviews to their existing workflows. Financial institutions can make this process easier through automation.
To illustrate how automation can help your financial institution, let’s take a look at a real-life example.
Park Community Credit Union is a 16-location credit union based out of Kentucky. The team was looking for a way to improve online reputation and decided to use reputation management software to automatically send out review requests after loans were approved. Almost immediately, they saw results. The credit union went from getting just 10 reviews a month to more than 300 reviews a month. Now, Park Community has more ratings and a higher overall star rating than any local competitor.
The world is turning to digital. So don’t get left behind. By investing in online reputation management, you can attract more members, build credibility, and put your best foot forward in search results.
Dhiraj Nallapaneni is a product marketing writer at BirdEye, the all-in-one customer experience platform that provides businesses with the tools to deliver great experiences at every step of the customer journey.
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