12 Oct Online Reputation Management Is Essential
Whether it’s your fault or not, there will likely be at least one incident that causes your customers faith in you to waver, or which dissuades potential customers from giving you a try. Your online reputation is a tenuous thing, as a single mistake can haunt your business for a very long time. How do you avoid such scenarios, and how do you bounce back from them if something happens?
Responding to Inevitable Negativity
Nobody wants their company to be thought of in a negative light, but poor online reputation management can be even more devastating than a simple unfavorable opinion. “41% of brands that experienced an event that damaged their reputation said their revenue decreased as a result.” Losing business and opportunities for conversions is something that many companies can’t recover from.
An employee may have had a disagreement with a client on your Facebook page. A competitor may have slandered you on Google without any basis of complaint at all. Whatever the case, damage to the public opinion of your business can be highly detrimental and should be avoided at all costs. If it’s past that point, then you should be doing everything that you can to remedy the situation.
How, then, can you “safely” respond to negativity on your pages? “The customer is always right,” of course, so you have to reply without starting an argument, whether you think the person was mistaken or not. You want to respond politely, promptly, and with something in mind to “make it up” to the customer, whether that means simply continuing the conversation in private and listening in more detail or offering them a discount/coupon for their trouble.
Establishing a Trustworthy and Positive Online Reputation
Worried that you still have negative reviews visible? Think about it this way: would you trust a company of any kind who had 100% positive reviews, where nobody had a single bad thing to say about them? That seems suspicious and inauthentic. Don’t try to have all of your less-than-favorable reviews removed, and instead focus on garnering as many positive ones as possible.
Asking for (favorable) reviews online is a must. Get a process in place that allows happy customers’ thoughts to be shared online, while those who’ve had a negative experience are delicately directed to your customer service department (or just to someone who will take seriously what they have to say). If you’re having trouble getting people to write reviews, then don’t be afraid to offer some kind of incentive! Whether it’s a free sample, a coupon, or something more creative, people love what they see as a fair trade. If they do some “work” for you, then go ahead and give them a reward for it.
Where, beyond your website, can people learn about your company? In a 2017 “Local Customer Review Survey,” The most-trusted sites for local reviews were Facebook and Yelp, followed by Google and BBB. Keep this in mind when considering your online reputation management, but also know that no single site stands far ahead of the crowd. Rather, you’ll need to create – and manage – profiles on each… and more.
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