A Guide for Businesses to Manage their Online Reputation
No business wants to have a bad reputation online. Seeing embarrassing photos or negative reviews over the Internet not only makes the customers turn away. This also leaves a bad impression to interested clients.
Like individuals, companies also want to maintain a good reputation to achieve success and generate more sales. They need this to become industry leaders in their chosen fields. However, it’s difficult to achieve these things if that reputation turns bad in the eyes of the target market.
Why Do Companies Get a Bad Online Reputation?
Inactive Online Presence
Setting up social media accounts is vital in keeping the interest of customers and assessing their satisfaction levels. Potential and existing customers will always have some negative things to say about a certain product and they will express these things on different social media channels.
Inactive online presence across various platforms will limit the business to address concerns directly over the Internet and interact with various customers.
What can be done instead? Build a strong online presence by responding to negative customer reviews and comments. Create a thread to further discuss customer concerns – this will make them feel that the business focuses on keeping its good brand reputation and customers.
Ignoring or Deleting Reviews
If being inactive leads to getting a bad online reputation, what more if the company is intentionally deleting and ignoring customer reviews? Failing to acknowledge their reviews will only make them feel more upset. Ignoring or deleting comments implies that a business doesn’t care about its unhappy customers. Other social media users will notice this.
What can you do instead? Respond to their comments and reviews immediately. A short, unique reply will always make the customers feel more valued.
Confronting the Customers with Negative Messages
It is frustrating to receive negative or irate reviews every now and then, but don’t let the emotions take over the situation. Responding with confrontational messages, sarcasms and insults will only worsen the situation.
Always apply the saying “customer is always right” even when dealing with bad customers. Make sure to respond with positivity and respect by not using negative words. Instead, respond in a more positive and professional way. Have a genuine and honest reply, but avoid putting the blame on someone.
Keeping a Back-And-Forth Online Conversation
When negative reviews are posted on a company’s Facebook page, the best solution is to take these to offline conversations. It’s not good for a company’s reputation to argue with customers over the Internet, try to open up a conversation with them offline. Most of the time, customers find it more convenient to speak over the phone or via email.
It’s best to start the conversation with an online response and provide details on how they can contact the company offline. This way, they will definitely feel good, knowing that someone from the company is reaching out and attending to their concerns.
Giving the Same Response to Each and Every Customer
Generic responses won’t help in maintaining a good brand reputation as they are deemed effortless on the customer’s perspective.
Changing responses and coming up with more distinct replies will make them feel that the business is genuinely interested to know more about their feelings. Mentioning their names when addressing their concerns will make the conversation even more personal. Aside from making up for negative reviews, this can also help you gain customers’ trust.
Paying to Get Fake Positive Comments or Reviews
It’s always tempting to pay someone to retain excellent brand reputation online. However, this is not always a good option. Avoid hiring someone to post fake reviews on different social media platforms as this can backfire.
Normally, Google punishes those websites that are paying to get good but fake reviews by lowering their ranks in search results page. This can damage the company’s online reputation and may also result to a decreasing number of followers.
One of the best ways to get good reviews about the product is to encourage customers to write their reviews on various social media platforms. You may also run a contest where they can win prizes for their short testimonials.
Engaging into a Fight with Trolls
Trolls are not actual customers. They are considered as Internet mainstays who constantly look for opportunities to post defaming or harmful comments. They do this to get a reaction from others. A lot of company reputations are ruined after getting a fight with these trolls.
If they post damaging comments or reviews, treat them as regular customers and acknowledge their feedback. Offering some help on how to fix the issue will always make the business look professional. Provide them with details, such as email address or phone number where they can contact the business for an offline conversation.
This involves making anonymous accounts on various sites for the purpose of creating positive reviews, posting false advertisements and lashing out against the negative reviews.
Just like paying to get fake reviews, this can also backfire in the long run as it defeats the true purpose of product reviews – to reflect the actual state of the product or service on the customer’s perspective.
While it is considered improper and unethical, a lot of companies are still trying to cover up many things about their products. It’s easier to lie online as people only see the product on the computer screen. This causes them to only find out that the post shows fake promises once they get a hold of the item they purchased. This is where negative comments from customers come in.
Instead of lying, go for being transparent and open to customers. It may make the business look bad at first, but it is one sure way to gain more trust from customers.
Ways We Fix Your Brand’s Bad Online Reputation
Identify the Cause of a Bad Reputation
Before fixing a particular problem, it’s essential we know what causes it. For instance, if poor customer service is the main cause, then ordering a set of better quality items won’t solve it. We would recommend re-training your staff and/or replacing negative employees with more positive-centric staff.
Announce Any Changes No Matter How Big or Small They Are
One way to earn the trust and interest of people in your product is to spell out any positive changes. We would advertise on your social media platforms and let the customers know that the product went through changes to improve with the aim of improving their customer experience.
Volunteer in the Community and Post it Online
Willingness to give back, such as donating cash to charity websites and sponsoring online events can always improve the company’s reputation, especially when you do it consistently. We will be soliciting your charity work to post on your website as well as on your social media accounts.
Get User Feedback
We could initiate Facebook or Instagram contests that allow the customers to win a prize after submitting their captioned photos while using the product. We could also send out survey links to your customers and if there are complaints, we would log those in a report so you can make the necessary changes to meet their expectations.
Train the Online Staff
As mentioned above, we recommend you help your online staff develop a positive and welcoming attitude. The Internet has millions of users every day and it’s essential for your company’s social media account moderators to avoid rudeness and negativity. This is crucial in connecting to customers better.
We Do Not Give Your Competitors the Chance to Further Destroy Your Brand
There are instances when competitors will play foul games upon hearing a negative review about their rivals. It could be in the form of negative promotions, fake business pages and false advertisements. We ensure that your company’s social media pages, blogs and business listings are easy to recognize from the fake ones created by these competitors by including things such as trademarks and patent logos for each campaign.
We Constantly Monitor the Brand Mentions
It’s essential for a company to know where online customers will use the product’s name. To avoid damage in reputation, we make sure all brand mentions are monitored, analyzed and interpreted.
Additionally, by adding the name of the product to various reputation monitoring tools and getting notified for each online mention, this can help protect the company’s name.
We Take Advantage of Offline Marketing
Strengthening the efforts in doing PR activities also helps in developing a more solid reputation online. Through word of mouth in every real life event, more and more people will notice the brand. Remember that some people love to post everything they do on social media. Hashtags or mentions about the product’s name on their social media profiles can boost the brand’s reputation online.
We Move Negative Search Results Off Page One of Searches
Often, sites with negative feedback about your products or services will end up on page one in searches right above or below your actual website pages. These need to moved down to at least page two. Most customers searching don’t go to page two or three in their search.
We work to get your web pages dominating page one in order to move those negative pages out. This takes time and a lot of effort because we have to compete and outrank every negative site that appears in these searches.
Hire a Professional Online Reputation Manager
If a flood of negative reviews and chronic pattern of illegal activities are pulling down the brand’s reputation online, seek the help of a lawyer and various reputation management tools.
Usually, these activities are done by competitors, disgruntled former employees and trolls acting as angry customers. If not addressed immediately, they can make the reputation of the business drop significantly in search engine results page.
The importance of online reputation management tools is that they can generate reports that can track incorrect information, collect various customer feedback and capture social media activities of customers. That way, it’s easier to come up with decisions to improve the name of the business online and its overall reputation.