This guide is your essential companion in navigating the intricate landscape of review management for businesses with diverse footprints. Discover strategic approaches, from crafting a unified review management strategy to leveraging analytics for actionable insights. Uncover the secrets of maintaining brand consistency across locations and learn how to turn reviews into a powerful asset for your enterprise.
Handling reviews poses a considerable challenge for businesses operating from a single location. When dealing with multiple locations or a franchise model, this challenge is further intensified. The act of responding to reviews plays a crucial role in upholding the reputation of your brand. However, by implementing a carefully devised strategy, you can streamline the process and make it more manageable for your team to address the complexities of managing reviews across various locations.
By employing effective tools and establishing a robust plan, the task of review management doesn't need to be as daunting as one might perceive. Whether you're exploring potential strategies or evaluating your existing approach, we will delve into the essential considerations to effectively manage multi-location reviews.
Franchise industry statistics for 2021 say on average, more than 300 companies start franchising every year.
The term "multi-location" can encompass two distinct scenarios: a corporate office overseeing franchise locations or a business with multiple independent locations. Regardless of the situation, the following two models provide options for effective review management, and a potential third model involves a combination of these approaches.
In this model, the offices at different locations are responsible for managing all reviews, whether the business operates through franchises or multi-location. The corporate team, typically within marketing or customer service, handles the review volume across all locations. This approach offers the advantage of centralized control over brand image, communication, and responses. Tracking analytics becomes more straightforward as everything is managed in one central location.
However, a drawback is that the corporate office may not be fully aware of all the dynamics at each location. Depending on the nature of an incident, researching and deciding on an appropriate response may take more time compared to a situation where the local manager could respond promptly.
Each location can manage its own reviews, particularly in a franchise model where locations have autonomy in marketing and customer service. Brand voice guide and help to keep up with the customer expectations to manage your online reviews. Individual locations are the first to assess and respond to reviews. This model ensures quick cutomer feedback for your services, enabling them to quickly correct any mistakes and develop enriching customer experience.
However, the downside is the risk of brand dilution. Even if the majority of locations perform well, a few poorly reviewed ones that deviate from the overall company strategy may disproportionately impact the brand perception, defining it in a negative light.
It's worth considering a hybrid model that combines elements of both approaches, striking a balance between centralized control and local autonomy to achieve optimal review management across multiple locations.
When crafting a strategy for managing reviews in a franchise setting, it's crucial to consider several factors to determine the most suitable approach for your business.
Assess who will handle the review workload. For a small local cafe chain with uniform locations, it may be efficient to have corporate manage reviews centrally. A designated person or team at the corporate level can easily oversee reviews for a few locations. However, if your locations differ significantly or if you have a large number of them, entrusting individual location managers with review responsibilities may be more practical. This requires having trained personnel at each location, factoring review management into their daily tasks, while the corporate provides oversight and monitors trends.
Consider the level of control needed by the corporate office. Review management plays a role in maintaining brand reputation, and increased involvement may lead to consistent responses across all locations. However, allowing franchise locations more autonomy in managing reviews requires them to have the capacity and training to uphold the brand identity effectively. Striking the right balance between centralized control and local autonomy is key to avoiding brand dilution.
Evaluate the potential friction introduced by your chosen strategy. The ideal scenario involves prompt responses to get more reviews and quick resolutions when necessary. A streamlined process is crucial to avoid unnecessary back-and-forth amongst businesses of all sizes. Simplifying the review management process ensures efficient use of time and resources.
Take into account the geographical distribution of your locations. The more widespread your business is, the more vital local support becomes. For instance, a bakery with two local locations might have a single management team. However, understanding diverse cultures and demographics becomes essential when locations span cities, states, or countries. Local teams are often better positioned to comprehend and respond to customer reviews than a distant corporate office.
By carefully considering these factors, you can tailor a franchise review strategy that aligns with the unique characteristics of your business, ensuring effective and efficient management across all locations.
The industry in which your business operates also plays a pivotal role in deciding the level of centralized review management needed. Consider your current approaches to managing social media profiles and addressing customer service requests.
For example, businesses like clothing or technology stores, with consistent inventory and standardized training across all locations, may benefit from corporate-led review management.
On the other hand, the hospitality industry relies heavily on individual locations excelling and closely monitoring variations between them. In this sector, experiences at one hotel location can significantly differ from another's, even under the same brand name. The need for swift responses is also more pronounced; delays in addressing concerns about a guest's stay could have negative repercussions.
Regardless of the chosen review management model, establishing an active presence on various review sites is imperative. Even if your business or location has existed for some time, there might be an existing listing on review sites that has not been claimed. Depending on your industry, platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor are particularly significant for claiming your business and maintaining an engaged presence.
Google Business Profile previously known as Google My Business. Google reviews for multiple locations are prominently displayed across various platforms, including the search results sidebar and Google Maps. When a location is listed on multiple review sites, Google aggregates the star ratings to provide an average. Additionally, keywords extracted from reviews are emphasized. To effectively manage reviews on Google, it is essential to establish and verify your business through your Google My Business account.
Facebook maintains a consistent format for both types of multi-location business models. The structure includes a central company Page and the option to incorporate individual locations. Each location functions as a separate Page, allowing for independent management if preferred. Clicking on each marked location redirects to its Page, facilitating responses to reviews by the local manager. Alternatively, if desired, corporations can still oversee and manage reviews across all locations. This uniform structure on Facebook allows businesses to tailor their review management approach based on their needs and preferences.
By strategically setting up profiles on various review platforms across different locations, companies can effectively tap into local markets, adapting their strategies to cater to regional preferences. Yelp, as a prominent review platform, offers businesses an opportunity to engage with customers and manage their online reputation. This approach not only enhances visibility but also enables businesses to address unique local needs and concerns, fostering stronger connections with customers. Managing multiple location review sites necessitates a cohesive strategy, involving consistent brand messaging, prompt responses to Yelp reviews, and adapting marketing efforts to suit each location's distinct characteristics.
Efficiently managing reviews process at various locations or franchises, especially for a large chain business, can be facilitated by implementing strategies that foster uniformity. Here are a few suggestions to enhance the review management process:
Establishing a comprehensive review management strategy is pivotal for ensuring consistency across franchise or multi-location business. This strategy acts as a guiding framework, ensuring that everyone is aligned on the appropriate responses for different types of reviews. For instance, positive reviews in a Level One category may be managed by individual locations, while severe complaints categorized as Level Five, indicating a potential trend across locations, trigger an automatic escalation to the corporate level.
By implementing a well-defined strategy, you create a unified approach to review management, minimizing confusion and streamlining the process for all stakeholders involved.
In conclusion, the effectiveness of all the review management efforts hinges on a thorough analysis of the collected data. Assessing analytics is crucial to determining the success of a strategy. Through careful examination of reports, valuable insights such as product trends, customer interests, and common friction points can be gleaned. For instance, if multiple stores consistently receive reviews expressing dissatisfaction with a particular pizza topping, it signals the need for an investigation into the supplier responsible for the topping. By leveraging analytical data, businesses can make informed decisions and continuously refine their review management strategies for optimal results.
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