Managing the Reputation of Your Business
The continued growth of social media has subjected businesses to a great deal of publicity, some good, some not so good. If consumers are not happy with any product or service, they can very easily go online and vent their anger on a business Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Twitter, LinkedIn pages, and let’s not forget Google. Even if you’ve done your everything that you can to provide amazing customer service, you won’t be able to please everyone, every time. That’s why as a business owner, it’s critical for you to have a comprehensive business reputation management strategy in place so that when the bad publicity hits, and at some point it will, you already have a plan outlined to minimize the damage.
Business Reputation Management
Here are some of the key online reputation management do’s and don’ts you should be aware of:
Be sure to claim your business on Google, Yelp, and other important industry-specific platforms that could be relevant to your business like TripAdvisor, Vitals or OpenTable — and if you don’t already have one, create a Facebook page. Even if you haven’t taken the time to setup these social accounts yourself, customers have the ability to do it for you, so the pages may already exist and you don’t even know it. When you claim your business, make sure the pertinent information like your phone number, address and other contact information associated with it is accurate. After you have claimed your business profiles you are going to want to start optimizing them on each of these platforms. Make sure to add your company description, high-quality images, videos, contact information and a link to your website.
Check out our blog on how to create your Google My Business listing.
This might be obvious, but it’s a frequently forgotten step: understand who your target audience is before trying to market to them. This includes everything from location, demographics, purchase behaviors, needs, and any other characteristics that you need in order to construct a specific buyer persona. Knowing your target audience is going to help you set the appropriate tone, subject matter and content that you plan to share with them. This will help you to obtain maximum results from your online channels.
Advice here is the same as with the advice above. Once you understand precisely who your target customers are, be sure not to waste time and resources chasing ones who are unlikely to frequent your business and most importantly convert. Plan out your communication strategy and review so you’re not just throwing marketing fluff into the wind, not to mention your hard earned money. Targeted, data-driven campaigns with clear, tangible goals are the most likely to succeed.
Customer engagement is crucial. Take full advantage of the online interactions by having conversations with your customers, in real-time, wherever they are. Comment on their social media posts and publish interactive posts of your own that get them talking to you and each other. Regularly ask for their input and feedback, and be sure to respond promptly and productively to their complaints. The more authentic conversations that are out there and available, the better; customers are going to rely more on the opinions of their peers than learning about your brand from advertising.
When consumers make noise about a business, it often means they either love it or hate it. Although negative feedback can be frustrating, don’t make the mistake of turning your back on it and hope it goes away. It not going anywhere so take advantage of the potential opportunity to turn it around. Instead, make a point of sympathetically responding to customer complaints regarding negative experiences. This can stop complaints from turning into catastrophes and turn negative reviews into positive interactions that won’t steer prospects away but instead draw them to you. People know every business makes mistakes, it’s how they positively remedy them that counts most.
Check out our blog, Negative Online Reviews – Don’t Ignore Them.
When you engage with an angry customer, let them know publicly that you are fully committed to resolving their issue — this way, other customers who are watching the post or review, and trust me they are watching, know you care about your customers. However, working through the whole issue in one long public thread is hardly ever the best approach. This usually just escalates into a heated argument that solves nothing. Instead, provide the name and contact information of the employee who will work with them to resolve their issue, and make sure that person is available immediately to provide comprehensive support. Handling problems in this manner has even shown that it can lead to the customer deleting or editing their original post or review.
Check out our blog, Turn Your Negative Online Reviews into a Win for more insights on why you need a Reputation Management Strategy.
Don’t add pushy marketing messages when responding to customer reviews. The simple fact that you are responding to customer feedback is the positive message — just let them know that you appreciate the fact that they took the time to share their experience.
Most importantly, always be thankful. Your brand’s success and reputation depends upon your customers, so wherever possible, show your appreciation for them. Responding to positive feedback is as important as managing the negative.
Always be professional, sympathetic, and avoid disagreeing with the customer, even if they are actually in the wrong. The best route is to always try to clear up any misunderstandings with patience rather than getting defensive, remember other customers are watching. This demonstrates confidence and authority, strengthening trust in your brand.
Happy customers are the ones who enthusiastically promote your brand without expecting anything in return. You are going to want to try and show them some appreciation on a regular basis, whether this is through a customer loyalty program or special promotions based on their past purchases. Little gestures of gratitude like these keep your business at the forefront of their mind and reminds them why they do business with you in the first place.
Don’t forget, negative reviews are still honest, genuine feedback on how your business is doing, and that is very useful. Consider them constructive criticism, and work on improving in certain areas based on their comments. Negative reviews also lend credibility to all the good reviews you have, providing transparency that customers value. Nobody expects you to be absolutely perfect, at some point you’re going to make a mistake. It’s all in how you deal with it and learn from it.
Check out our blog on Review Responses and Local SEO for more insight on a Reputation Management Strategy.
In closing the reputation of your business is by far one of your greatest business assets if it’s managed effectively. It can be a lot of work, but there are ways to make it manageable. If you are looking for help or guidance with defining your Reputation Management Strategy or are wondering how you manage and improve your business reputation, make your customers happy, and get more customers — the answer is super easy. Just book a call with us for a free discussion, we can talk about your challenges, where you are doing great, and how we can help you streamline everything.
Take charge of your business’ reputation and show people that your business is active, reliable, and trustworthy.
As always, drop me a line if you have questions and be on the lookout for our next blog.