Reputation, in simple terms, is what people think about a brand or person. Influencing the way people perceive your brand or business is reputation management. Often, you can sway opinion in your favor by communicating well with customers. Because this is the digital era and much of the communication with customers takes place online, reputation management and online reputation management have become virtually synonymous.
WHY IS ONLINE REPUTATION IMPORTANT
The way people perceive your brand and talk about your brand plays a significant role in shaping your brand’s reputation. This in turn affects your product sales and business growth. Positive reviews on your products and positive conversations around your brand will boost sales and drive growth. Pretty straightforward, right?
On the other hand, bad reviews can build upon any perceived negativity and can adversely impact your business and your bottom line. There's nothing like a bad reputation to stifle growth. So, as a business, it is extremely important to address any negative reviews in the initial stages to keep the situation under control.
In this article, we will share some tips on how you can build a positive online reputation and grow your business.
LIST OF AVENUES TO CHECK FOR MAINTAINING A POSITIVE BUSINESS ONLINE REPUTATION
As a business, it is important that you know where your business appears online. After all, these are the sites that have the most power to influence a brand, either negatively or positively. If you know where your consumers are searching for reviews of your business or leaving comments about your business, it can go a long way in helping you get ahead of the reputation management game. Fortunately, you can use these sites to your advantage by working to promote a positive image.
Reputation management manifests itself in many ways. However, we are most interested in business review/rating sites, product review sites, and social media platforms because they have the greatest impact.
Business Review Sites -Keep an eye out for these sites to help you best manage your brand's online reputation:
- Google Map Reviews – Consumers write reviews for places they have visited on Google Maps. Here, they can recommend shops and write reviews.
- Facebook Ratings and Reviews – Facebook users give star ratings and reviews on local businesses.
- Glassdoor Reviews – This site allows employees to anonymously review jobs, work culture and other important aspects of companies.
- Yelp – User reviews and recommendations of best restaurants, shopping, nightlife, entertainment and things to do.
- Foursquare – Foursquare’s purpose is to help you discover information about businesses and attractions near you.
- Yahoo Local Business Listings – Consumers can post reviews of local businesses online.
- Better Business Bureau – BBB customer reviews allow customers to post positive, negative or neutral reviews.
- Yellow Pages – This is a directory of all businesses where users can write useful reviews.
- Quora – Users can post questions about businesses and businesses can respond to queries to help build a positive image.
- TripAdvisor – Travelers can post reviews of various shops and businesses in various tourist locations.
Product / Service Review and Rating Sites – These review sites allow consumers to rate and review product features based on their user experience.
- Amazon Customer Reviews
- Angie’s List
- Pissed Consumer
- Trust Pilot
- Trust Radius
Apart from these generic business review and product / service review sites, it's also a good idea to research and identify the most relevant review sites for your industry. For example, Finances Online is an amazing review site for B2B SaaS marketplaces, while PCMag is a complete listing of computer reviews, as well as internet, wireless, gadgets, and windows upgrades.
Monitoring both generic and specific review sites will help maintain a positive online reputation, so they should certainly not be ignored!
ADDRESS COMPLAINTS WHEN THEY SURFACE
Unfortunately, angry customers are the ones that can have the biggest impact on your brand's reputation. Bad reputations start like small fires with the smoldering discontent of a single customer. If not snuffed out early, that fire can grow into an inferno. Therefore, it's not enough to simply know what users are saying. Businesses must also address complaints when they arise.
Firstly, the customer service team should handle all requests and complaints with the utmost care. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to satisfy all the service requests of every single customer. Sometimes consumers make requests that are beyond the scope of your products or services. However, businesses can satisfy customer needs based on brand promises. One of the quickest ways to start the inferno of customer anger is to forget the promises you made to your customers.
Secondly, businesses can and should focus on satisfying consumer interests by keeping track of their pain points and working hard to solve them. If you ignore your customers' pain points, you may be sending them straight to a review site to damage your business with a complaint.
Also remember that complaints should be handled swiftly. No one likes to be stuck with a problem, so even if a solution is found, a customer may still be angry if that solution arrives too late. A slow response can also land you in bad review territory.
CONTROL YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
If you know that a customer is upset, try to catch them before they turn to the world wide web. Send them an email, shoot them a message, or even give them a call to resolve the issue privately. You or your customer service team should certainly have a protocol in place for reaching out to angry customers before they take their complaints public and damage your online reputation.
REPAIR YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
If your online reputation is already in the red, no need to panic. There are plenty of ways you can work to repair it. First start by monitoring and addressing every single negative review, comment, or support issue on both generic and industry-specific review sites. Don't forget to also monitor social media channels for negative comments and discussions about your brand and products.
Secondly (and most importantly) respond to negative reviews. If you work to pacify angry consumers by providing a solution, you may convince the customer to take down the bad review they posted previously. Remember that no negative review should go overlooked. After all, you never know which unaddressed negative review may catapult you into the land of bad online reputations.
BUILD YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT ENGINE
A reputation management strategy should be a part of your organization’s customer support process. To achieve this, businesses can build their own online reputation management engine. One of the most important things is to solicit feedback early and often.
Using intelligence and predictive analytics to identify attrition indicators, you can easily get ahead of potential issues and address them quickly when they do inevitably arise. Some attrition indicators are infrequent logins and minimal usage of services. Furthermore, providing periodic surveys for your customers will also help you understand their happiness quotient.With this kind of business intelligence, your customer support team can proactively contact customers to investigate and provide a customer-centric resolution.
Remember that proactivity is key. If a customer has a complaint and your customer support team reaches out passively, this will quickly damage your online reputation. On the other hand, reaching out proactively helps to minimize customer distress and maximize customer satisfaction, leading to excellent online reviews.
Managing your online reputation is of the utmost importance. Businesses would do well to monitor reviews and ratings across review sites and social media platforms to stay in the know. Remember that being aware of bad reviews and ratings is not enough; businesses must also proactively work to respond to complaints. One of the best ways to do this is to have a trained customer support team. Your team can use predictive analytic insights to understand customer pain points, and can actively reach out to customers before they post negative reviews.