If you’re running a business online, you need to take your online reputation seriously. The wrong news or review about your business could leave you scrambling to pick up the pieces. While it’s not the end of the world to experience an unhappy customer occasionally, taking the initiative to proactively improve your online reputation will help further along with your business.
Today, the power of your online reputation can’t be emphasized enough. A startling 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Similarly, 15% of consumers won’t trust a business with no reviews. All of these numbers show just how valuable your reputation can be, and why you need to protect it.
How do you actually reduce the impact of those negative reviews and experiences? It all comes down to your online reputation strategy. Being prepared will always help, so here are the 5 ways to proactive improve your online reputation.
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1. Ask Your Best Customers For Reviews
One of the best ways to start to build a solid foundation of positive reviews is to simply ask for them! A lot of times customers don’t leave reviews because it seems like too much work or they don’t know it’s even an option. Being proactive by helping make this process easier is key.
How do you do this? If you have an in-person presence, asking directly is a great step. For online businesses, email is an effective strategy. After a customer completes an order or has experience with your business, ask for a review online. Including a link directly to Google reviews or another reviewing platform makes this much easier for everyone.
2. Be Active on Social Media
One of the most popular places for customers to interact with brands is through social media. It’s not enough to set up social media profiles for your business and never touch them again. You need to be active and available on these platforms.
Not only does not posting in a while reduce your credibility, it also leads users to forget about you. More importantly, if you do get a negative response or comment, you’re not able to rectify the situation quickly. Always set up alerts to your device so you never miss a comment, message, or mention.
3. Use a Live Chat
Live chat is one of the best ways to meet your customers where they already are. If you’re not able to solve a problem or answer a question quickly while a user navigates your website, they’ll likely just go to the competition. Luckily, there is a lot of live chat software already available according to Accu Web Hosting.
In addition, live chat is becoming smarter than ever. It’s not unusual for these chat software to be run by chatbots or automated software that can help users for you. This eliminates the need to have someone available at all times.
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4. Listen to Customers
Hopefully, it comes as no surprise that it pays to listen to your customers. If they’re communicating in the first place, they likely have something to say. It can be intimidating to read through those negative comments, but there’s value in it. While there will always be hard to please customers, sometimes they have a specific concern or some validity.
If you notice a trend with online comments or reviews, this is a sure sign there’s something wrong with your business. Instead of feeling upset or defensive, treat this like the opportunity to grow that it is. When customers value their feedback and make real changes, customers notice. The way you deal with this criticism has the possibility to turn the experience around or drive your customers to the competition. Which do you choose?
5. Make Real Amends
Last but not least, you need to accept that problems happen and that you can do something about them. If you don’t admit to mistakes or make changes, your business won’t get very far. If you do notice a mistake has been made, take action to rectify it. Owning up with a genuine apology followed by unconditional amends is a great way to repair a negative experience with a customer.
Even if the customer doesn’t take you up on your offer to amend the situation, having your apology and attempt to make amends publicly with the review will go a long way. When prospective customers read negative reviews with no company response or, worse, an aggressive response, this is a sign that things aren’t going well.
Remember that no good comes from online arguments. It doesn’t matter whether your business or the customer is in the right. This always comes across as unprofessional, and it will tarnish your online reputation if you’re not careful. Always try to fix problems offline when possible. Offering to contact the customer via email or phone will help avoid any online arguments.
It’s Never Too Late for Your Reputation
A lot of companies have completely turned things around after having gone to the brink with their online reputation. This just goes to show that it’s never too late. If you use these 5 tips above, you can make a difference in how people perceive your business both online and in- person.
As a business owner, you need to take customer criticism seriously. In addition, you need to be proactive about getting reviews that speak highly of your business. A poor reputation affects you more than you think. In fact, a bad reputation can cost a company at least 10% more per new hire. That’s not something you want on your plate.
Because your reputation matters online, create a strategy today to keep it in check. A bit of proactivity goes a long way. Both your customers and your business deserve respect and professionalism online. With Google and social media being used a customers’ sidekicks more and more, you can’t afford to ignore your online presence. There’s no excuse for not knowing your online footprint, so take these tips seriously for the sake of your business.
If we missed out other tips. Please feel free to tell us in the comments box below.