<img alt="" src="https://secure.wire0poor.com/215720.png" style="display:none;">
Request a Demo Sign In
May 5, 2021

Key Questions to Ask When Hiring a Reputation Management Company

14 questions to use when searching for the right reputation management vendor for your local business.

When selecting a reputation management company to implement a strategy for your local business, each will vary some in its approach. 

Does its software generate reviews with SMS or Email? 

How does it handle negative reviews? 

Is its review response service automated or run by people? 

Does it offer review response?

Asking the right questions will help clarify what the rep vendor can do well for your business, and where the holes lie.

To get you started, here are the questions we would ask.

How long does it take to see results?

A benefit of rep management over traditional SEO is speed. You won’t need to tinker for 6 months before the results start to trickle in. Somewhere in the 30-90 day range, you should start to notice significant results.

Code Style Club grows Google review volume 573% in 60 days: READ.

John L Sullivan’s Roseville Kia increases review volume 243% in 30 days: READ.

What platforms are you integrated with?

Sending automatic review requests or posting review responses directly to a review site usually will require some CRM integration. And there are a lot of CRMs. Industry-specific CRMs. CRMs for small businesses. CRMs for large businesses. 

Either way, ask specifically what the vendor can do with your CRM.

Do you offer review response services? If so, is it automated or managed by a team?

Although review response is a core tenant of an effective review management strategy, not all providers offer it. Or, vendors may approach it in different ways. One service could be 100% automated, while the other may have a team responding to each review.

Do you have experience with other companies in my industry? How have you helped companies like ours grow?

Nuance exists in every industry. Language and terminology vary. The default CRM in one is used by zero businesses in another. A vendor’s ability to help will be impacted by their industry experience. Case studies and calls with current clients will be useful in this context.

What is it like to work with your team? To what extent will you work with our team?

Fundamentally, this is a customer service question, but in context, the vendor’s execution-style will outline the nature of the relationship. For example, here at Widewail we author suggested responses to negative reviews, but we send the draft to the business for approval first. The content of the review may not fully explain the context surrounding the review. 

Sometimes the customer has selective memory…

Point being, our response team is high-touch, working with the team at the location multiple times a week, if not every day. 

An automated solution may only require a team check-in once a month or quarter.

How will the communication between our teams be managed? Through your platform, email, or other means?

Understanding the experience your team should expect will clarify the details of the day-to-day cadence. Email can be a challenge for organization and record-keeping, especially if your business is doing hundreds of reviews a month.

Given your understanding of our situation, goals, and challenges, what strategies and tactics do you recommend we implement?

A single broad question to cover the major strategy tactics, theory and execution.

We recommend you send a review request to every customer, via SMS. The process from request to leaving a review needs to be quick and easy. Our team of review response experts monitors and responds to every review, promptly and professionally with personalization and SEO keywords. We will work with you on negative reviews to make sure we have the full story. 

What is the onboarding process like and how long does it take?

Will you need to hook up your review accounts for the vendor? How long after signing the contract will the services be active? How involved is training?

What do your services do specifically to enhance my local SEO performance?

At least for us, reputation management is an SEO strategy. Moz agrees, ranking review signals as the #2 local search ranking factor for 2020. Yes, reputation management is a post-transaction extension of your customer service, but the meat of the value comes from SEO. Rank higher for high-intent buyers and convert them with an overwhelming amount of fresh positive review content. 

If the vendor is not all-in on SEO, look elsewhere.

How much do your services cost?

The range is roughly $100-$1000/month per store depending on the scope of services and volume of review activity.

Thanks for reading. These questions will go a long way towards identifying the best vendor for your needs. 

To help further, we’ve put together a Buyers Guide - tools and frameworks you can use to make the best buying decision for your business.

Here are some highlights:

Vendor Scorecard:

  • Add these can’t-miss items to your to-do list before running your due diligence.

Budgeting Resources:

  • If you currently work with an SEO agency, we identify four low-impact tasks that you can pull back on, reallocating that budget to reputation management.
  • If you don’t currently work with an SEO agency, learn why it makes sense to invest in reputation management first (30-60 days to generate initial results).
  • Plus a dive deep into the pros, cons, and costs associated with standing up an in-house reputation management team vs. an outsourced partner. 

- Jake, Marketing


Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

U3GM Blog Post Comments

Other posts you might be interested in

Widewail Featured in Wards Auto: Car Dealers Taking Digital Reviews Seriously

2 min read | August 4, 2020
With the help of Widewail CEO, Matt Murray, Wards Auto explores COVID-19 and updates to business Google rankings are increasing the importance of reputation management.
Jake Hughes Director of Marketing

Reviews more important than traditional ads? AutoSuccess Podcast 676

1 min read | December 4, 2020
Matt Murray, Widewail CEO, joins Thomas Williams on the AutoSuccess podcast to talk about the importance of online customer reviews for car dealers in 2020.
Jake Hughes Director of Marketing

Widewail and EmpowerFi Announce Partnership, Offering a Suite of Reputation Management Solutions to Credit Unions

2 min read | December 7, 2020
Widewail and EmpowerFi announce partnership, teaming up to provide reputation management services to credit unions, big and small. The Widewail team is thrilled to be working...
Jake Hughes Director of Marketing

Local Marketing Insider

Bite-sized, to-the-point, trend-driven local marketing stories and tactics.