On the internet anyone can make a disgruntled remark on your business, an unhappy or unsatisfied customers, or perhaps even a disgruntled staff member, former staff member, or even your competition writing fake negative reviews about you. Unfortunately this practice is made easier by the internet, and can be very harmful to your business brand, so it is important to have a reputation management expert.
The internet also makes it a lot simpler for businesses to manage their reputation by connecting with their customers through web 2.0 social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. You can easily find both positive and negative reviews about your business, and offer feedback, which can be out in public, read by any potential customers or anyone else considering using your services or buying your products.
Andy Beal, from one the top reputation management professional firms in the United States recently made some important statements in an article by Matt McGee entitled “Why Reputation Management Matters for Little Businesses”. When asked what companies could do to improve their online reputation he gave a few solid pointers on the subject. Make it easy for your biggest fans and evangelists to post a positive review. You must also provide a motivation for them to provide such feedback, without a cash incentive. This ensures their review is ethical, honest and fair. People are good at spotting honest reviews. The most credible reviews offer feedback on the best points of the business, as well as some constructive criticism.
If your customers know that by providing good quality feedback they are supporting your business, which they need and value the quality of, then providing such feedback will allow your business to continue in the same fashion, and at the same level of quality, and as such allow you to keep providing the same level of quality to them as the customers and clients.
The most compelling and beneficial reason for customers to provide feedback is usually to give them a purpose to do so. They need to know that such feedback is critical for the continued sustainability of your business.
“Make them feel like a valued customer and that their support will make your firm better. This guarantees they benefit, and rewards them by giving them the satisfaction of knowing that they did their part.”
Unfortunately in the reputation management sphere it is easier to obtain a damaging consumer remark. Research shows people are much more likely to vent their anger than praise your business, even with the same amount of satisfied customers. Reputation management firms help to bridge the gap, which can combine well with a Search Engine Optimisation strategy.
Using social media to manage your reputation, you must first understand your audience and take a skilled approach towards the online community. It is essential that you pay attention to the feedback of customers, both positive and negative. Complaints are often realistic and can identify problems in your business model and customer service, and create an opportunity for the reputation of your business to be improved.