When it comes to business, your reputation is one of the most precious things you have. Businesses today must make a point of managing their reputations as well as their business operations. The Internet makes it too easy for people to get quick vindication when they perceived they were wronged by any business today. Your mission is to make sure your business comes out of a bad situation looking as though you’ve at least attempted to make things right.
Don’t Ignore Negative Online Reviews and Comments
When you go online and read negative reviews or things taken out of context, you don’t have the luxury of ignoring these things in hopes they will go away. You can either take the time and respond to individual customer online complaints yourself, or you can hire one of the growing number of reputation management firms to address negative publicity about your company.
Accept That There are Things Beyond Your Control
There are some people in this world you simply cannot appease. Reaching out to disgruntled customers and attempting to make things right makes a big difference in public perception even when the issue is something you cannot resolve or that is beyond your control. Make the effort and then move on.
Evolve When Mistakes are Made
Sometimes negative experiences are born of legitimate mistakes in product design, customer service, or implementation. Learn from these mistakes and change policies, plans, and so forth so that these same mistakes do not happen in the future. Share how you’ve learned from this experience and what you’re doing to make it right to avoid repeats down the road.
How Do You Manage Your Small Business Reputation?
Now that you understand why managing your reputation is so important, it’s wise to have a plan in place for actually managing your reputation.
1) Search for negative reviews and comments about your business on Google, Facebook, blog comments, Twitter, and other social media avenues.
2) Reach out to the person who feels wronged and ask what you can do to make it right? Sometimes people just want someone to listen to their complaints. At other times, it may be a discount, replacement product, or a simple apology for a bad experience.
3) Flood the Internet with useful, relevant, helpful, positive information about your company. Post “how to” segments on YouTube. Provide relevant information on your business blog. Offer helpful hints and tips in your Twitter feed. Start lively conversations on Facebook and participate in them. This “positive” information can outweigh a (or a few) lone negative comments, at least in the search engines eyes. In addition, Forbes reports that 83 percent of consumers are influenced by customer reviews so make sure you invite happy customers to posts their own reviews online.
Don’t wait until things are out of control to begin managing your online reputation. Keep in mind, while you can’t control everything that goes wrong, the right business insurance policy can help you manage many issues that may arise.