In today’s day and age, the online reputation of a business is considered as important as any other aspect of running a successful company. These days, prospective clients and consumers have the ability to check out a business’ reviews right at their fingertips. With a majority of the population now using smart phones and checking places such as Yelp, Yahoo, and Google to investigate a business, managing your online reputation is a must.
With all of the review sites and social media platforms available, reviews reach a much larger audience – and more quickly – than ever before. One bad review or one negative Tweet can do more damage to a company that’s just getting on its feet than dozens of happy local customers spreading their good experiences via the old fashioned way: word of mouth.
Unfortunately, an unhappy or dissatisfied customer is more likely to leave a review than a happy client. So, how you do you manage your online reputation, encourage your satisfied clients to leave positive reviews, and do damage control on the unhappy clients?
Managing Your Online Reputation
What you can do is monitor review sites and social media platforms on a consistent basis. Interact with your clients and customers, thank them for positive reviews and immediately respond (in a positive fashion) to any negative comments. Show you customers that you care. Demonstrate that you care about them, as well as their experiences with your business.
Ignoring negative reviews looks shifty, like you have something to hide. By openly and directly responding to any complaints, and coming up with ways to make the customer happy, you’re creating transparency for your company, as well as creating a history of excellent customer service.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Never be afraid to ask your clients to leave you feedback online. The worst they can say is no, but you would be surprised at how many of your loyal customers would be happy to drop a few words about their interactions with your business. This is most important when you or any of your employees receive positive feedback or praise from a customer.
It only takes a second to ask, “Would you mind saying that on Yelp?”
Put the links to your social media accounts and online review pages prominently on your website, and print them on your business cards. Add a signature in at the end of your emails asking for feedback with a clickable link for simplicity.
Stop “Negative” Feedback BEFORE It Hits the Internet
Remember earlier when we said that unhappy customers who have something negative to say are more likely to get online and leave – possibly damaging – reviews? The trick here is to encourage a constant, open, relationship with all of your customers. By always asking for feedback and encouraging customers to come to you with complaints, you might be able to stave off having negative reviews left online about your business.
When customers feel they can come directly to you with an issue – and are confident you’ll do your best to solve their problem – they’re less likely to be angry or frustrated and leave scathing remarks about your company online.
Transparency is the key. When the lines of communication are left open, clients will come to you with all of their comments and complaints. Then it’s up to you to encourage the positive commenter to post a review online.
With a little bit of proactive attitude, you can garner a lot of positive online reputation for your business.