You might think it is just a buzzword, but reputation management is something that all businesses, entrepreneurs, and sole proprietors should be involved in. This is not something that should just be thrown to the wayside or forgotten. According to Nielsen, 70% of global consumers trust online reviews when making decisions. There are so many choices out there for today’s consumer, and these reviews can make or break their decision.
Reputation management is the act of managing your company’s reputation, whether it is online, in the press, on tv, on a review site. It is important to stay on top of what people are saying about your business. Some accusations may be true, and in those cases you should be apologizing and offering compensation or a refund in exchange (if necessary). If the accusations are false, you need to address them and get on top of them before they spread like wildfire.
People love sharing negative gossip and news. Positive news gets shared, we don’t doubt it. But if you turn on the local news, you are more likely to see crime reports than feel-good stories. This is because people react more strongly to negative news (well, most of us do).
Let’s give a fictional example of a perfect change to engage in reputation management. You own a nail salon, and recently, the New York Times came out with a scathing report about the poor working conditions and abysmal pay that takes place in these types of establishments. Someone decides to go to your company’s Facebook page and write a long rant about how nail salons don’t treat workers right and that “you should be ashamed of yourself” (everyone loves using that phrase when they’re upset).
Luckily for you, you are on top of your social media game. You get the notification that a new post has been put on your page. You see the long rant, and know you need to address it before your loyal customers (and future ones), see it and think that you aren’t paying your workers well or treating them fairly. You compose a well thought out reply, addressing the issues in the nail salon industry, and then explaining that you pay your workers $x amount of dollars per hour. You offer free training for your employees and ensure that they are not in contact with chemicals, and wear masks when needed.
The most important thing to remember in an exchange like this is to keep your cool. Complaining, ranting back, or getting angry at the person who posted will only make you look bad. Do not argue back. Instead address their issues and offer rebuttals. Your customers will see your calm response and know that you handled the situation professionally. The key is to respond! Don’t let this comment sit there, you need to stand up and address it before it truly becomes a problem.
This is just one example, but there are plenty of times when you need to be engaging in reputation management. It is especially important on review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, Reseller Ratings, and other sites. It is a good rule of thumb to check these sites once a week and respond to any reviews. If you are overwhelmed with reviews and can’t possibly respond to them all, it may be time to find a reputation management firm.
These types of firms are skilled in the art of conflict resolution. You can bet they have responded to their fare share of negative 1 star reviews. They know the best ways to approach these tense situations with upset customers. They also know that responding to all reviews is the best way to go. Just a simple thank you reply to a 5 star review can make all the difference.
When you are ready to up your reputation management game, or need some help getting started, contact MARKIT Group at 239-676-9756.