Your Customer Experience and Reputation Are Your Brand

Jon Schepke
Jon Schepke, VP of Strategic Partnerships

For decades, businesses have built brands by defining their values (what do I stand for?), positioning (how do I want customers to perceive me?) and image (how do I express my brand consistently from one channel to the next?). All of those elements remain important, but they need to exist in service of your customer experience and reputation.

As Dipanjan Chatterjee of Forrester Research wrote recently, “The best companies harmonize brand experience (BX) and customer experience (CX). Those that allow these experiences to fragment and fester risk . . . leaving money on the table. Worst case: These brands will be rendered irrelevant, especially in categories ripe for disruption.

The Challenge of Measurement

The ascendance of the customer experience raises a number of challenges, such as:

  • How to properly measure customer experience.
  • How to align your entire marketing operations with your customer experience and reputation, including your location-based marketing.
  • How to treat your reputation as an asset.

Of these, my clients ask about proper measurement the most – by far. That’s because a business’s reputation is defined by every touchpoint in the customer journey. For instance, Facebook and Google are driving business reviews everywhere consumers look. We’re seeing that customer reviews of a business are influencing how high a business ranks in search results, and Google is giving users the ability to sort search results by business ratings.

As a result, ratings and reviews have become like location data: if you don’t have them, you might as well not exist in the online world.

The Reputation Score

We’re seeing the emergence of sophisticated tools to help. Forrester recently published a customer experience index that demonstrates how improvements in customer experience growth provide exponential value in many industries based on the broad range of cross-sell and upsell opportunities. But large, multi-location brands are looking for a single, integrated platform to track the entire customer journey.

With our clients, we rely on Reputation Score as an index to help an industry manage the value of a great customer experience. Reputation Score captures all key dimensions of Internet visibility and customer sentiment for a business.

Reputation Score uses a series of proprietary algorithms to calculate the KPIs of online reputation and drive insights. These include:

  • Star Average (Sentiment): High ratings on important sites are critical to your online reputation.
  • Volume: A healthy volume of reviews represent an established business.
  • Spread: Reviews distributed across all major sites improve search coverage.
  • Recency: Recent reviews create a fresh and vibrant feel for a location.
  • Search Impression: A robust presence on search engines invites prospective buyers.
  • Listing Accuracy: Accurate listings on major sites bring new customers.
  • Response: Responding to reviews elevates your credibility online.
  • Length: Longer reviews are more substantial and impactful.
  • Social: Engaged users on social networks are more likely to convert.

Reputation Score gives a business a benchmark for measuring its performance against its competitors – and a standard by which to measure improvement. My company recently worked with a large multi-location brand that improved its Reputation Score by 60% over a 3-year period — and guess what: The business ended up dominating Google Maps Pack results. By contrast, a business that fails to track and manage its reputation could experience a drop in its KPIs, based on the consumer experience they deliver — or don’t deliver.

The choice is simple: Tracking and managing your reputation will achieve stronger results with your KPIs, and Neglecting your reputation will hurt you. Which outcome do you prefer? You can read our entire article posted on the Local Search Association web site.