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In a world where anyone can share their personal experiences with a few taps on a screen, businesses have much less control over their reputation than they used to. Information is so freely available and easy to share online that it can be difficult to manage. Negative opinions of your brand shared online can do serious damage to your reputation. It is said that news of a bad customer service experience is heard about by twice as many people as a positive experience.

So, what can you do to manage your reputation online when your customers can instantly tell millions of people about a bad experience?

Managing online reputation

Monitor the chatter

People could be talking about your business online right now. Without some way to “listen out” for mentions of your company name, negative talk could be going unchecked. You should monitor social media and online review sites to keep track of what people are saying about your company, so that you can respond.

People are more inclined to take to social media after a negative experience with a brand than a positive one. There are plenty of tools online that notify you when your brand name is brought up. A few are Google Alerts and Mention, so you can stay on top of these negative comments.

Your response

The way you respond could change the entire situation. Out of all the stories that people share about great customer service experiences, 71.5% of these started as negative experiences. If you respond quickly and thoughtfully to complaints, people will think much more highly of your brand. Be sympathetic towards the person’s situation and come up with an effective way to solve their problem, or compensate them.

Hide the evidence

If there are webpages containing negative information or reviews about your brand, or perhaps another brand with the same name as you, you don’t want these to be the first thing people find when they search for you. If these pages are ranked highly on search engines, you need to create positive content that outranks them.

Work on the SEO of your website and other online profiles. Controlling a page that’s optimized for keywords such as “your company name reviews” is a good way to hide the negative reviews. Services such as Reputation.com help you manage your search results and online reviews.

Add positivity

When you do get positive feedback for your brand, make sure they are seen and heard. Respond to positive comments online as well as negative ones, thanking your customers for their feedback. Share positive tweets and other social media posts on your profiles so people see the good side of your brand. Encourage your satisfied customers to write reviews of your business on online review sites.

Obviously, you should be trying to minimize the number of bad experiences your customers have, but when they happen, these tips should help you with managing online reputation effectively.