Research shows that online reputation management is more important than ever, with online feedback and reviews directly impacting the chance of a prospect becoming a customer. Having your digital presence managed by someone else or with your own efforts; you will strive for a positive light thrown onto your company’s reputation. However, realistically it won’t always be the case.
Handling Negative Reviews
When users start leaving feedback for your business, the initial reaction is probably excitement — people are not only buying your product, but they’re inspired to tell others about it! The first review is a good sign, but not all feedbacks will be positive.
Most online review sites allow businesses to directly address customer reviews, and how you respond to your critics says a lot about your brand’s attitude towards its customers. Proactive online reputation management means facing criticism as well. While it’s not always easy, tactfully handling negative feedback can not only neutralize them but can also leave readers with a positive impression of your brand.
Here are a few tips for responding to online criticism:
- Is the complaint true? If yes, acknowledge it and address the issue as soon as possible.
- If the review is false or subjective? Try to engage the reviewer to get to the root of the problem. Sometimes a resolution is easily found via communication.
- Don’t take an offensive stance towards the reviewer. This will amplify the negative effect of the feedback.
Employees are Your Image
Your brand’s vision should be accurately reflected in your online presence. Further the employees in your company are representatives of your business. In order to maintain a constant high level for your online reputation, everyone needs to understand the core principles of the business.
People might say the wrong thing all the time, often with good intentions. In addition to hiring people who align with your brand, you’ll also need to set rules and guidelines that give them actionable steps for how to manage your brand’s presence.
For the employees directly engaging with the customers, it helps to having a list of talking points that they can use when responding to comments or reviews.
Monitoring is Intensive
Finally, it’s important to understand that managing your online reputation is an effort-intensive activity.
People could write their complaints about your business at any time of day. Naturally you will want to look out for negative feedback, comments or news even on nights and weekends.
It is tough to keep up, but you can also use an automated solution, a specialized agency or ask your staff to check regularly. Be sure to set a Google Alert for your business name and other names associated with your brand so you get a notification anytime someone online mentions your company.
With processes in place and a clear strategy, it’s easy to gain a positive online reputation so that you can focus on delivering your products and services — and not on fighting the detractors.