After obtaining a small business loan and working around the clock to grow your company, the last thing you need is a bad reputation sinking your enterprise. There are many different ways to manage your company’s reputation, and there are several pitfalls you need to avoid.
The proliferation of online business review websites has caused an increase in customers voicing their complaints, which can potentially ruin your reputation if you do not deal with them accordingly. Like just about everything in life, there’s a right way and wrong way to handle your company’s online reputation. Your reputation can leave a significant impact on your company’s revenue stream, whether it’s a positive or a negative impact is up to how you manage it. Instead of letting a few angry customers dictate how the rest of your potential customers view your company, take a proactive approach to the situation and manage expectations.
Here are three tips for small-business owners who need to manage their company’s online reputation:
- Implement a strong customer service policy
Some small businesses fail to incorporate and develop a customer service department until it’s too late. If you spend all your time simply viewing customers as cash dispensers, it will lead to poor online reviews. Ensure everyone in the company approaches each transaction as a person-to-person interaction and that they treat each customer as a unique individual who wants to get their money worth. SearchEngineLand noted how applying these caring principles can significantly improve a company’s reputation. Even if your company already has a customer service department that you think is fair and accountable, take that extra step to guarantee as much customer satisfaction as possible.
- Respond immediately
Letting a bad review linger can have a devastating effect on your company. The longer the complaint stays up online unanswered, the more people will see it and believe it. You need to move quickly to respond to any criticisms or negative reviews. Business2Community recommended setting up Google Alerts for your company’s name and any associated terms. In addition, frequently search places like Twitter or Reddit to see what people are saying about the company. This allows you to react quickly so you staunch any potential damage to your company’s reputation.
- Use the negativity as an opportunity
No matter how hard you and your employees strive to provide total customer satisfaction, people will always find something to complain about. The rise of online review sites only emboldens these dissatisfied customers and provides them with a forum where they can launch into a diatribe about poor service or subpar quality. Sometimes customers might even be telling the truth. If you come across a negative review, instead of telling these people they’re wrong or they don’t know what they’re talking, offer to comp them a free product or service. Use the bad review as a way to show how much your customers mean to you, and in the process you can illustrate to all your current and prospective clients that your company is willing to go above and beyond for their business.