What do you do when your business has a poor reputation online or received a poor review?
A lot of businesses and individuals often wonder how they can better their online reputation. The call to TechWyse for help is often precipitated by the feeling of helpless because a disgruntled customer has decided to go off the rails, be unreasonable, and speak poorly of their experience online.
First, let me tell you how NOT to address negativity online.
Don’t create fake reviews. Fake reviews, especially the kind that are paid for, are easily identified by your potential consumers and that will break their trust in you. In addition to being caught by potential consumers, you will likely be caught by site owners and/or Google. For sites like Yelp, they have publicly shamed businesses that they have caught.
The Lesson: Keep things above board and avoid short cuts!
Three Ways to Counteract a Poor Online Reputation:
1. Create a culture of asking happy customers for reviews. Whether that means having a omputer in your reception, sending your service people out with tablets to collect reviews for a job well done, or a simple email from the owner asking about the customer’s experience. That way, you can get real reviews that reflect a good reputation for your business.
2. Dilute negativity on Google’s first page by getting other domains to rank above any poor press. I’m not advocating spam, but perhaps your business sponsors a charity or has a job board. Instead of having that as an integrated part of your website, you might decide to break those focuses into their own re-purposed domains that show up for branded searches. The support of your local community, charity and being a provider of jobs for a growing and thriving business is something you can highlight and showcase when your business name is “Googled”. That may counteract or push down the negative stuff.
3. Register your business for every single social media network out there. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc… have a lot of clout with Google. In addition to the business name, this is especially important and effective if you’re looking to push down anything negative that could come up when your first name and last name are Googled.
Managing your online reputation is not easy and it can require a lot of work unless you already have a ton of natural positive press already in existence online.
As you may well know the process of removing negative commentary online is either very difficult or impossible so it’s much better to be proactive opposed to reactive.
Have you been offered a video for your business? Consider getting one and put it on YouTube. New social media platform have opened up? Register! Is there a place where your competitors are always actively involved? Get involved too! The point is to get ahead and occupy space where negative commentary may exist by putting your own mark there first.
Besides, it is not as if doing good and investing in yourself isn’t it’s own reward. It is! The time to invest in your image is before you have an image problem.
Most importantly, it’s important to be proactive in person. This may mean having to do something unfair to the business do the the unreasonableness of a customer. Sometimes this happens and it’s merely the cost of doing business and we refer to it as ‘good debt’. Perhaps appeasing the customer means that you took a loss on the job. As much as they are wrong or it aggravates you to have to acquiesce, as not doing so may result in bad mouthing, online and offline. You may be in the right, but these people can still hurt you.
After all of this you may still be spoken about negatively online, and when this happens the best approach is professionalism, courtesy, and to address the customer directly and promptly. Remember, when it comes to online, it’s like you’re speaking to a crowd of strangers for a long time. Maybe three people read the exchange today, and two tomorrow, and so on… Your reasonableness and professionalism will be evident all throughout the life span of the website where those words are written. You may not be able to control their emotions and message, but you can control yours!
Hope that helped! Share and Comment Below!
I also think being active on forums that are related to your niche can also to get your name in front of those who matter in your industry and thereby giving you really good Klout. Eventually when bad reviews come the good deeds you have done will outweigh a negative review from a disruntled customer.