Reputation Management in the Information Age
The information age – or digital age as some refer to it – has made everything so transparent that you can’t post anything without thinking twice. In our highly-connected world, ideas, thoughts, and musings – when put to print – can have far-reaching implications. As a business owner, you have to make careful and conscious decisions every day to protect your online reputation. One slip-up can damage how you’re perceived in the community.
Here are some tips to ensure your reputation stays positive and stands the test of time.
Listen Before Speaking
Before you tweet or post on social media, research your target audience and get to know them. What type of language do they use? Are they easily offended? Are they casual and low-key? How do they feel about your brand? Start by listening, and you will have a better idea of how to respond on social media or online review sites.
Resist the temptation to remove negative posts about your products or your business. It can have the opposite effect than what you had intended. When you try to stifle online discussion, you unwittingly intensify the spotlight on the review. When people feel they aren’t being heard, they may screen-shot the original review and post it over and over again, sometimes in multiple places. Best to just address it head on and avoid the mess.
Respond Promptly to Client Complaints
People want a response from a brand when they complain online. It’s more than just blowing off steam or alerting other customers to poor service. It’s also a plea for you to address the problem, make it right, and promise to make them happy the next time. Especially in cases where they really love your brand but didn’t like an experience, you need to win back that person’s trust. This in turn will help build your reputation as a caring, responsive brand.
Don’t Get Angry
Our first instinct when seeing a negative review is to take offense, get upset and fire back in kind. Take a few minutes to calm down, read through the review, recognize the truth to it, and craft a simple yet respectful response. Never go on the defensive in crisis communications, as this will only anger the original poster and start a back and forth war online – for everyone else to see. Take the high road and don’t personally attack the person who complained, which would only serve to make your brand look bad. Instead, respond calmly and helpfully, so you can turn that problem into an opportunity.
It may have taken you many years to build your reputation but all it takes is one post to threaten the foundation. Information online travels fast. It’s like gossip on overdrive. Every interaction you have with one customer is like having an interaction with all of them. Practice effective reputation management, treating each interaction as an advertisement for your company. Do your part to minimize unhappy customers, any one of whom could bring your reputation down. Be quick in your response to strike at the source before the rumor mill has a chance to start cranking.
Have a Plan
A good crisis management plan is important for any business. As we said, a bad review can happen in a second, and each second after that is critical. Do you have a strategy in place to deal with customer anger? Do you have a team who can handle the issue quickly? Come up with a variety of cookie cutter responses that you can use to customize for each customer on the fly. Remember to inject personalized details into your responses. Act quickly, even if your first response is just comprised of a quick assurance that you have become aware of the issue and are in the process of handling it.
Managing and gathering online reviews can be a daunting process. Get help when you need it with Boost Reviews. Get started now on a reputation management plan for your online reviews.