Reputation Management for Small Businesses
Your online reputation can be your business’s most important asset. What people say about you online can impact decisions on how potential customers interact with your business. While Reputation Management can have a variety of names and definitions, when considering the digital marketing landscape, it can most simply be thought of as how you interact with customers and potential customers, and how you are perceived by them. Bad reviews can have an impact on your business’s health and growth. When a disgruntled customer leaves a bad review about your products, services, customer service or anything else it’s important to realize that this is almost unavoidable. However, it can be managed and even useful in how you handle these situations.
When looking through reviews we all understand that there will be some isolated instances that are unavoidable, so most consumers won’t hold this against you. They will look for any responses from the company and how you handle these. This not only allows the company to defend itself (when necessary), but a simple “I’m sorry this happened, email me at ‘___’ so I can make it right” shows that you do care about the customers (even previous customers) and are aware of the problem. Thank them for the feedback, apologize and leave it at that. If customers perceive that you are trying to make excuses for poor service or quality, it can further alienate them.
This communication can have many effects, which is why it is so important to respond to every review, good or bad. Sometimes the company has it in their power to make things right with store credit or even just an open dialogue or even apology can change the attitude of the potential customer. When people leave these bad reviews they simply want to be heard, so listen, and sometimes you can convince them to take the negative review down, or even better, upgrade the review to a positive message.
These reviews are a gold mine for high listings on search engines, which is why you should never leave this power in the hands of the customers. Disgruntled customers are much more likely to leave a bad review, than a pleased customer is to leave a good review. Therefore, don’t leave this decision for them to make, instead send an automatic email to every customer to leave a review (good or bad), which will be driven toward the good reviews since the bad reviews will be written regardless. Once a customer transacts, we recommend sending them a feedback request to see how likely they are to return. If the answer is positive, ask them for a review. If it’s negative, at least you will be able to discuss what you can do better before they air it on the internet.
Finally, use these reviews to improve your content on your webpage. Look at the reviews left for your competitors and see what words their customers are using repeatedly. If they are generally talking about customer service, make sure you mention your top-notch customer service on your front page. Consumers’ buying decisions are highly based on reviews, so it can be helpful to have an insight on what these consumers are seeking out and afraid of when making a purchase.
Don’t underestimate the cost of a poor reputation. When potential customers search your name, let them see an accurate reflection of your business, your values, and your priorities. Control what you can control and make sure your online presence is a positive one!