Running your own business may be your lifelong dream, but if you're like most business owners, you also find it exhausting. Scanning your overflowing to-do list on Monday mornings, you're overwhelmed with priorities and pulled in a million different directions. As Friday draws to a close, you realize that—yet again—a fulfilling work week has resulted in exciting growth and accomplishments in certain areas, while others once again remain on your list of things to tackle at a future date.
Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so.
Everyone's talking about the importance of online reviews, but is the realm of online reputation management really receiving the dedicated time and attention it deserves for your business? If the answer is no, then it's time to look for a solution.
The truth is that effective reputation management is quantitatively impactful and that there are groundbreaking tools out there that can help you drastically improve and revolutionize your business's reviews and online visibility. If you're here reading this post, you're probably already aware of this reality and searching for the best reputation management software for your particular needs and circumstances. So, without further ado, let's get down to it—so that you can get back to all your other priorities.
To be forthcoming, Podium, Birdeye, and Rep.co are all formidable reputation management platforms with proven capabilities and strong feature menus. Each one has its advantages and may be most appropriate in specific scenarios. Which one is right for your business? Well, that depends on a variety of factors.
For me, there's a personal favorite amongst the three contenders (Hint: It may not be the one you'd expect), but that doesn't mean it'll be the right fit for everyone. Let's take a look at the comparative benefits and drawbacks of all three tools, and hopefully, by the end of this review, you'll have a better sense of which direction you want to head in.
A comprehensive platform that includes robust review generation and management features as part of a larger suite of SEO and personalized customer experience tools. It's well-suited for large companies that want to gain perspective on customer experience and includes standout features such as bulk messaging, social media campaign management, listings management, competitive benchmarking, and real-time sentiment analysis, to name a few.
Marketed toward local businesses that want to gain more customers and provide them with better experiences. As with Birdeye, Podium's reputation management tools are part of a larger ecosystem that also encompasses a wide range of other growth, communication, and payment features. These include text marketing campaigns, web chat, text-to-pay, a customer survey tool, a team chat feature, and much more.
A fully featured online reputation management tool that's exclusively dedicated to review generation and management. Designed by small business owners and SEO experts in the trenches, it alleviates the pain points that other platforms tend to miss. With superior automation and customization options, white labeling services, and excellent customer support, Rep.co is a refreshingly affordable tool that's equally effective for small businesses and agencies alike.
Founded by Jacob Kettner and Nate Fischer in 2021, Rep.co evolved out of their combined frustrations with the online reputation management software on the market and resulting desire to offer a much-needed product. Rep.co has a smaller scope than some of its competitors, but the fact that it's solely dedicated to reputation management also gives it an edge. It does one thing really well and, if high-quality review generation and management is what your business is currently lacking, you'll love Rep.co's dedicated focus and state-of-the-art reputation management solutions.
Rep.co has a straightforward and intuitive interface that's designed around an easily navigable business dashboard with a menu of options. The main options on the menu include: Locations (where users can link their business locations to various review generation sites); Campaigns (where users can set up detailed parameters for designing and monitoring their review generation projects); Reviews (where users can view and monitor reviews from various platforms as they're posted); Team (this is Rep.co's team management feature); and Branding (where users can customize the phone number or email address where requests are sent from and also rebrand Rep.co's software as their own if they're opting into white labeling services).
For me, there are three aspects of Rep.co that really set the platform apart in my mind: Its customization options, its automation options, and its white labeling services.
Podium was founded by Eric Rea and Dennis Steele in 2014. It began as a solution for small businesses frustrated with their excellent service not being reflected in online reviews but quickly evolved into a multi-product platform built around doing business via text message. Today, Podium has reached more than 100,000 businesses and powered more than 17 million interactions.
Podium is based around the belief that "convenience wins", and its proprietary Growth, Communication, and Payments feature categories consistently foreground convenience for business owners and customers alike. The platform's reputation management features all fall under its Growth category, so that's where I'll focus the bulk of attention for the purposes of this comparative review. That being said, if you're seeking text-based communication and payment solutions for your business, it's definitely worth looking more deeply into Podium as a whole.
Birdeye's stated mission is to "help businesses be a step ahead and meet the future of Digital." It touts itself as an all-in-one solution that helps businesses digitally manage all of their customer interactions. Birdeye was founded in 2012 by Naveen and Neeraj Gupta and is backed by a team of innovators from major global tech companies. Of the three platforms in this comparative review, it's the most established and star-studded. It also has the broadest range of features. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will be the right option for your business.
Birdeye's features are continually evolving and include a whole host of personalized customer experience tools. In addition, Birdeye offers superior tracking and reporting capabilities that allow for detailed analysis of the customer journey from multiple perspectives. This may be a definite boon for enterprise-level companies, but smaller businesses are often more concerned with effectively generating and managing online reviews. Birdeye's reputation management features include review generation and management, Google seller rating management, listings management, custom page development, and referral generation. I'll delve more deeply into each of these below.
Birdeye's review generation tools allow you to customize and automate review requests, collect reviews in real time (including the option to send customers directly to your preferred review sites via a custom QR code), and monitor reviews on more than 200 sites. You also have the option to turn survey responses into reviews or turn reviews into ready-made social media posts.
This feature improves the performance of your paid Google ads by connecting those ads with your business's reviews and ratings. It can help improve conversion rates by building immediate trust with potential customers.
Inaccurate or inconsistent listings can negatively impact your business's SEO and visibility. This Birdeye feature scans the internet and alerts you to any listing errors or inconsistencies. It also helps you add your listings to a wide range of online directories.
When customers search for your business, you want them to connect with your brand immediately. This Birdeye feature makes your detailed location and provider information visible on custom-branded pages.
With this feature, you can turn great reviews into referral requests. Ask satisfied customers to refer your business to their friends via text message, social media, or
Podium's review features include campaign customization for specific industries (retail, home services, professional services, healthcare, and more) as well as other review generation services, all tailored for text messaging.
Text marketing allows businesses to quickly design marketing campaigns that are targeted and personalized. Automation options make for streamlined workflow that still provides opportunities for responsive client/business interactions.
Webchat is one of my favorite aspects of the Podium platform. It engages customers via direct website chat, but immediately moves the conversation to text message. This is a game changer because it allows you to stay in touch with customers long after they leave your website and also prevents them from becoming confused or lost as they navigate multiple chats.
Using Rep.co's review generation tools, you can reach out to customers via email or text message to directly request their feedback after they've purchased a product or service. Review requests are totally customizable; they can be set up to be sent directly from your business's email or phone number and can be as general or detailed, complex or concise as you wish. By customizing Rep.co's review request parameters, you can drastically increase your control over what goes public. Ask permission to publish positive feedback from customers while dealing with negative reviews privately and proactively where possible.
Once you've customized a review generation campaign, you can automate and manage the review process so that Rep.co (not you!) does the bulk of the work. You'll have 500 emails and 100 SMS messages per month per location and can trust Rep.co to alert you when an issue requires your personal attention.
No matter how many automation features a platform possesses (and Rep.co possesses quite a lot), you still need to stay on top of what's unfolding for your business in the world of reputation management on a regular basis. Rep.co's customizable real-time notifications keep you in the loop, as do its comprehensive reporting features that empower you to tweak and adjust your campaign strategies in smart and proactive ways as needed.
Birdeye's pricing is calculated according to the number of business locations you have and the features you wish to purchase. You can't see a pricing quote without entering this information, but $299 per month is the platform's base price for a single location...and the cost goes up from there. Birdeye does offer a free trial period.
Podium's pricing can also be a little opaque. There’s a free 14-day trial and also, for qualifying small businesses, a free version called Podium Starter (though rumor has it it's not straightforward to qualify for or access this service). Podium's paid plans range between $286-$689 per month. The Essentials plan has a maximum of 1000 contacts and 3 team members, while the other tiers have unlimited contacts and team members.
Rep.co operates on a disruptive pricing model based on the number of locations you're needing service for. For one location, you'll pay $25 per month. The price per location decreases as the number of locations increase and you'll also save if you subscribe annually instead of monthly.
When it comes to online reputation management, the clear winner for me is Rep.co.
Because while I certainly see the benefits of all three platforms, Rep.co is a dedicated review generation and management tool that's been thoughtfully designed and truly accomplishes its mission of streamlining the reputation management process. As I mentioned earlier, I'm particularly impressed by Rep.co's automation options, customization options, and white label services. It's a software solution that's affordable and can make a huge difference for business owners both immediately and long term.
Read my more in-depth Rep.co review for more information about this product.
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