Online reputation management for accountants and bookkeepers
There’s one thing that prospective clients need before making the jump and deciding to use your services: trust. Sometimes, that comes in the form of a personal recommendation from a friend and family member. However, if the prospective client doesn’t know anyone who has used your services, there’s a good chance that they’ll turn to another place: online reviews.
Reviews make a big difference for most purchases. Studies show that 92 percent of consumers consult reviews before making a purchase decision. When it comes to a big decision with a real impact, such as finding a financial professional, reviews become even more important. That’s why it’s important for accountants to pay close attention to their online reputation.
What is online reputation?
A business’ online reputation is composed of how clients are talking about your business on the internet, including review sites and social media. A strong online reputation usually means that you have great reviews on prominent review sites.
How to manage your online reputation
Step 1: Collect online reviews
Your clients are very busy people. Chances are that they turned to you because they don’t have the time to do taxes by themselves. They also probably don’t have the time to look up your business’ profile on review sites like Google and Facebook.
Luckily, there’s a way that you can simplify the process for your clients. Instead of asking your clients to leave reviews in person, we recommend that you send a review request email or text that links directly to your business’ profile on relevant review sites. That way, all the client has to do is click the link and leave the review.
We recommend that you send these review requests when your business is fresh in the client’s mind. Think about sending a review request right after tax season is over. If you wait several months to send a review request, your client will no longer have a clear memory of the experience and might not be willing to leave you a review.
Step 2: Monitor online reviews
Once clients start posting reviews about you online, it’s important that you keep a close eye on what they’re saying about you. Remember, your online reputation is a major factor in getting prospective clients to choose you. If you don’t pay close attention to what’s being posted, it’s possible you might get your reputation hurt by perpetual complainers and steer clients away.
Monitoring your reviews doesn’t just mean looking at bigger sites like Facebook and Google. While they might get the highest volume of reviews, there are tons of smaller sites that clients are using to discover your business. Make sure that you’re staying on top of reviews from all of these different sites.
If you do end up getting negative reviews (happens to the best of us), don’t stress out. There is one thing you can do to limit the damage ….
Step 3: Respond to online reviews
It’s important to respond to every online review that you get, both positive and negative. Responding to a positive review is an easy way to show your clients that you care about their experience.
Meanwhile, a negative review can lead to you losing credibility in the eyes of prospective clients. However, if you take the time to respond and tell your side of the story, you might be able to prevent this. Most of your clients are reasonable and understand that there are some people out there who won’t be pleased no matter what, and some reviewers who might not actually even be clients.
Remember, your tone is crucial here. Clients look at your responses to try to determine the kind of service that you will provide to them. If they see you being condescending and impolite, they might get turned off from choosing your services. Try to be firm, but polite. Here’s an example.
Step 4: Share positive reviews
A great review can highlight the strength of your services in a way that feels authentic to prospects. At the end of the day, any accountant can talk about how they work hard to deliver world-class services to clients. But, having an actual client say the same thing means so much more.
So, when do you get great reviews, make sure that you share them on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Your followers will appreciate the social proof that a positive review provides.
But, don’t stop there. Make sure that you’re sharing your positive reviews on your website as well to build trust with prospective clients. A review widget can display glowing reviews from all over the internet in a clean feed. It updates automatically, so there’s no need for you to go in and manually pull reviews.
Stay on top of your online reputation
Having a great online reputation can help you attract more clients. By following the steps in this guide, you can help prospects understand that they are putting their finances in the hands of a credible and respected financial professional.