I recently read an article in Transport Topics on handling online reviews and it is so appropriate for our marketplace that I thought I would summarize a few key takeaways.
The article is titled “The Internet Never Forgets,” by Joe Dysart. It appeared in the iTech section of the Aug. 11 print publication, page A14 (I’d link to it, but I’m not finding it in the online version.)
The article emphasizes how absolutely essential it is to manage your online reputation. It quotes a study by BrightLocal, a search engine marketing-services firm. The results that stood out to me were:
- 88% of consumers surveyed said that they read reviews to size up a local business.
- 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 at the beginning of the year, we knew it would be a game changer for many of our carriers and owner/operators. Reading reviews about a broker on our service is now a routine step BEFORE they pick up the phone.
Online best practices
For your business to pass this online sniff test you should strive to have at least 10 reviews. This establishes your credentials and history as a business that is active in the market. More importantly, you want to make sure that the most recent reviews are positive. So how can you go about that? Here are few suggestions:
- 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. Nip any problems in the bud.
- Your best defense against a negative review is to have a series of positive reviews already in the bag. Solicit reviews from the carriers with whom you do business and provide them with positive reviews whenever you feel you have been well served. Let them know that you took the time to write a good review about them.
- Check your company profile often to see what carriers are saying about your company.
- 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.
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 totally new to company reviews on DAT, I suggest you 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”