Reputation Management for Self-Storage Operators
Online reviews are the digital version of word-of-mouth advertising. Whether you know it or not, people are posting reviews of your self storage business online with Google, social media channels, and other local directory listings. Like word-of-mouth, those reviews impact a customer’s buying decision and who they choose to store with.
Even one negative review translates to a loss of real dollars for your business, so it’s in your best interest to proactively monitor and improve your company’s online reputation. But with more than a billion websites scattered across the internet, how can you identify negative reviews and improve your operation’s online image?
The challenge of managing your self-storage facility’s reputation online
Online reviews have rapidly gained the trust and attention of consumers and impact how people shop online. According to a 2018 survey of local consumers, 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation – despite the fact that they rarely know the person who left the review.
Why do consumers and business buyers put so much trust in online reviews? Because they know the business that is being reviewed has no control over the content. When people post a review on a third-party site, they are free to say whatever they like about your company.
Although the independent nature of online reviews generates trust with customers, it also presents serious challenges for your self-storage operation. It can take 19 five-star reviews to offset average star rating created by a single one-star review. Additionally, Google considers online reputation a factor when ranking businesses. Companies with poor online reputations often struggle to garner attention in local search results.
There’s a lot riding on your online reputation – and that means you need to take steps to manage both the quantity and quality of the reviews that customers post about your business. Although it may be impossible to delete negative reviews from third-party sites and directories, you can counter their impact by soliciting a high volume of positive reviews from satisfied customers and make sure to respond to those negative reviews in efforts to show online users you’re involved in making a potentially wrong situation right.
Improving your online reputation requires the right technology
Google advises businesses to respond to all reviews (even negative ones) in a kind, courteous manner. In some cases, a sincere response can turn a negative review into a positive one. If it doesn’t, the simple fact that you took the time to respond to the reviewer will build trust with other potential customers and online shoppers.
But while interactions with reviewers are important, it’s important to have a technology-based strategy to significantly improve your business’ online reputation. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of solutions on the market. There are tools that allow you to automatically send review requests via email or SMS messaging to your tenants after they move-in. User a service to help you manage this type of review generation campaign can ensure consistency of outgoing requests and save staff time from having to manually request reviews on their own.
Here are some important steps to take as you create a strategy for managing your online reputation:
- Proactively monitor reviews and use a tool that automatically notifies you when a negative review is posted about your business.
- Use a tool that helps you manage reviews from all different channels in one online dashboard, centralizing all of your operation’s online reputation management activities in a single location.
- Ask for reviews from new and existing customers, and aim to respond to reviews posted on Google, Sparefoot and other sites within 48 hours.
- Promote and display your positive reviews on your website and other marketing materials to help build instant credibility.
In life and business, your reputation is everything. Don’t leave your company’s online reputation to chance. With an online reputation management solution tailored to the needs of the self-storage industry, you can improve the quality and quantity of reviews about your self-storage operation – and gain the trust of Google as well as your customers.