For most brokers, your most valuable asset is your reputation. A good reputation is something that takes years to build and maintain. Unfortunately, undoing that reputation can happen quite quickly, especially in the age of the internet and social media.
In August, I wrote a blog post after reading an article in Transport Topics about handling online reviews. The article, titled “The Internet Never Forgets,” appeared in the iTech section of the Aug. 11 print publication. The information was so appropriate for our marketplace. It emphasized how absolutely essential it is to manage your online reputation. The article quoted a study by a search engine marketing firm that showed that 88% of consumers surveyed said that they read reviews to size up a local business, and 67% of those said that they read up to six reviews to fully assess the business.
When we introduced Company Reviews into our load board last year, we knew it would be a game changer. For many of our carriers, reading reviews about a broker on our service is now a routine step BEFORE they pick up the phone.
Online Best Practices
Below are suggestions on how you can manage and improve your online reputation.
1. Have at least 10 reviews – This establishes your credentials and history as a business that is active in the market.
2. Make sure the most recent reviews are positive – Your best defense against a negative review is to have a series of positive reviews. How do you do that? Send an auto-generated email to each carrier after the transaction asking if they were happy with the experience. Offer to solve any issues or mishaps immediately. (See “How to Request a Company Review” below.)
3. Respond appropriately to negative reviews – If you do get a negative review, your response is paramount. Resist all temptation to fire back, even if the review is unsubstantiated. Always take the high road and offer to resolve the issue (offline). Other eyes will be watching.
4. Know what others are saying about you – Check your company profile often to see what carriers are saying about your company. In October we added a new feature that emails you when your company is reviewed. Make sure we have your current email address so you receive these notices.
Handling Negative Reviews
Strangely enough, a bad review or complaint that is promptly resolved can be better for your public relations than a series of glowing reviews that look too good. Most people expect problems to arise from time to time. It’s how you resolve them that can make the difference. The article suggests the following formula for your response: Introduce yourself, thank them for the review, apologize, acknowledge their complaint and explain what you have done to address it. Invite them to respond or if necessary contact you offline.
If you are new to Company Reviews on DAT, I suggest you watch the video and then check out your own profile and request some reviews now.
How to Request a Company Review
- Go to DAT.com/directory (You can also get to the DAT Directory from within your product pages.)
- Log in with your normal name and password
- Click the Search DAT Directory tab at the top of the page
- Click “I want to… Read reviews”
- Search for the company that you want to request a review from, and then open the company’s profile
- Click “Request a Review”