How To Manage Your Business’s Online Reputation Successfully

Posted on April 25, 2013 by

If a single happy customer tells ten of their friends about your product, you can bet that an unhappy customer will tell many more. With the always-on nature of social media, people can post their dissatisfaction anywhere at any time. Online reviews aren’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you view the online world as a real-time form of public relations. Below you’ll get some valuable tips on strategically and correctly managing your business’s online reputation.

Small-Business-Online-Reputation

  • Strive for the best in customer service. Use the ‘Net Promoter Score’ to gauge your customers’ level of satisfaction with your products and services. Just ask ten random customers how likely (on a 1-10 scale) they’d be to recommend you to friends and neighbours, and the reasons behind their rating. A rating of less than 7-8 means that you may have a bit of cleaning up to do as far as customer relations are concerned.
  • Make it easy for customers to give feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. It’s much better to hear about problems straight from the customer than to read an anonymous posting on a review site like Angie’s List or Yelp. Give your clients a simple way to offer feedback; if you have a brick-and-mortar location, leave out a suggestion box, or offer a survey on your receipt. If you’re exclusively online, put up a feedback form so customers can tell you how you’re doing. Social media is important too; build a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook so your customers have yet another way to engage with you.
  • Do everything you can to earn positive reviews from satisfied customers. If you’re planning to be around for a while, you’re likely to have a higher percentage of happy customers than dissatisfied ones. When a customer tells you about their great experiences with your service, product or staff, ask them if they’d leave you a good review on a site like Yelp or Google Places. Positive reviews not only help you solidify your online reputation, they let potential customers know what great service you have.
  • Constantly market your business online. Getting the word out is about more than just asking customers to post glowing reviews online; you’ll need to engage in a proactive and ongoing marketing campaign. Consistently put out info on the good things your company has done, and you’ll build a positive online reputation which will help to ‘cancel out’ any negative feedback you receive. Marketing channels can include press releases, blogs, videos, expert articles and social media participation. Your marketing program should enable you to “listen” for mentions of your company name and services—so you can take action immediately when you get a not-so-positive mention.
  • Keep calm. If you receive a negative comment, don’t panic, but address the issue quickly. Find out what happened by getting all the facts, and post a reply explaining the situation and what you’re doing to fix it. Your response to negative comments will do more to manage your online reputation than all the great reviews you get; people know that no one is perfect, and your handling of things when they don’t go well is effective in showing your business’ character.

An online reputation is a very powerful thing, and you should think twice before reacting to an online comment or review. Along with other factors, customer feedback is a great way to learn how to improve your business; in order to make those improvements, you have to successfully manage your company’s online reputation by taking the good publicity along with the bad.

Written by Crispin Jones who has previously worked as a reputation management consultant and  is now offering desktop exercises.