A company’s reputation is as important as their products and services. Often times it takes one disheartened customer to voice their disappointment and suddenly, you’re seeing a drop in business. With the channels by which people may learn about your organization growing by the day, it’s vital to stay ahead of the chatter and in control of how the public at large views your business. Here are some best practices you can implement to be sure you’re reputation remains in good standing.
Your business reputation isn’t just your rating on a review site. It is the general feel of the public toward your business, based on your actions, that gets expressed by the public across online and offline channels; and those same channels by which others express their feelings toward your business are the ones you use to generate those feelings.
Is your head spinning yet? Your business reputation is an entity in an of itself, neither fully in the public’s control nor fully in your control. This is why it’s so important to monitor your business reputation and be proactive in managing it.
Consider setting up a Google alert for your company name. Any time your organization is mentioned in an article, blog post, a webpage, etc. Google will send you a notification. This will enable you to respond to both negative and positive feedback promptly and accordingly.
Google alerts (or some alternative) will also help you discover if you’ve been added to an online directory without your knowledge and keep you informed of any reviews posted in these forums. It’s not uncommon for listings to be generated automatically, and an inaccurate listing will hurt your reputation.
Your digital reputation can and will follow you for years because remember, the internet is written in ink! Even if the information was posted long ago, it’s important that you address it once you’re aware of its existence.
Unhappy reviews and unfavorable remarks left on your blog can be very harmful if not responded to appropriately. In order to mitigate any damage to your reputation or avoid adding fuel to the fire, you need to reply to negative comments with caution.
First, be respectful. The person you’re responding to is not likely taking a personal jab at you, so treat them with a high level of professionalism. You’ll need to acknowledge their point in a way that lets them know you’ve heard what they’re saying and understand where their grievance stems from.
Addressing and apologizing for a customer’s negative experience is only part of reputation management. Now you need to identify next steps to make it better. Whether or not you agree with their viewpoint is irrelevant. You either need to offer to rectify the situation if you are in fact in the wrong or offer a coherent explanation of why they may be making an inaccurate assumption.
Social media is a very public platform and you don’t want negativity about your business being bandied about. When responding to social media feedback, people expect you to do so quickly. According to Convince and Convert, 42% of people expect a response within an hour and 32% of people want in in thirty minutes! (Source: Convince and Convert).
Setup a reminder several times a day to do a quick hashtag search for your business name and to check your notifications. It’s also helpful to assign a dedicated employee to this task since it could become quite time-consuming. Having a single person responsible for these responses will also ensure that every comment is attended to.
As with negative reviews and blog comments, your goal is to respond politely and professionally. Take this a step further and offer to take the conversation offline and out of the public eye by inviting the commenter to send you a private message. This will help the commenter to feel as though they are being treated as an individual and that your interactions are genuine, and not just to put up a front for the public eye.
Negative reviews hurt the most. It’s someone who has actually experienced your product or service and just didn’t get what they expected. Help Scout says that 91% of unhappy customers will not do business with you again. But, resolve their complaint and 71% of those people will be back (Source: Help Scout). Silver lining.
In this circumstance, simply responding isn’t sufficient. You must fix the problem. Ask for a second shot! If you’re able to make them happy the second time around, kindly ask that they either remove their negative review or update it to reflect their changed perception of your business.
The most important thing to remember is this: You won’t be able to satisfy everyone. No matter how hard you try, there will undoubtedly be people out there that are just unhappy with you or your company or for no good reason at all. Always do your best to get back into people’s good graces but don’t beat yourself up if that still isn’t enough. Others will see your efforts and the fact that you care enough to interact with your customer base on a person to person level will do wonders for your reputation.
Follow these best practices to ensure that online reputation management and monitoring is as stress-free as possible.