3 Ways businesses Can Improve Their Online Reputation

Your business has worked hard to build a solid online reputation. Your name is synonymous with trust, as you’ve earned a strong following of loyal customers, who tell their friends to come to you. Business is going well. But, tomorrow the tide may change. Are you prepared if your reputation comes under attack? In today’s market, it is vital for businesses to be involved in creating and sustaining a positive online reputation. This is a continuous, ongoing process that includes more than just monitoring review sites. It requires engaging and interacting with customers, backing up your claims, honoring your promises, and putting your customers first.

Customers are more informed than they’ve ever been. Studies show that over 80% of consumers are researching brands online before making purchases. They want to know what you can offer them, if your product is worth their money, and if you are a business they can trust. “They read reviews, sit in on webinars, watch social media conversations, and visit websites. In short, they control the process, forming opinions about which solutions and venders can help them.”

Don’t let poor reviews, misinformation, and negative social media conversations destroy your reputation. Your customers need to see that they can count on you. Be proactive by implementing these three key steps to managing and improving your online reputation.

1. Find Your Business Online.

To see what is being said about you online, you have to identify where consumers are finding your business. Not only are they visiting the sites you’ve created–your Facebook, website, and blog, but, they’re also checking Google and clicking on links that are attached to your name. When you’re checking search engines to see where your business is listed, copy and save all the links and pages where it appears, especially consumer review sites. Visit these sites often to ensure information written about you is correct and current. If you discover negative reviews, be ready to respond courteously and professionally.

You can also visit yext.com to see where and how your business is listed. Once you’ve located those sites, you can monitor them using Google Alerts or TweetBeep. These apps will notify you each time your brand is mentioned.

2. Track And React To Online Reviews.

It’s important for businesses to regularly check review sites, especially as 76% of customers visit them regularly. Customers care about other customers’ opinions when they’re deciding whether or not to buy from a business. Positive reviews can help build a good reputation, while just one negative review can tarnish, and even destroy, a company’s good name. “Failure to track what is being said about you online is asking for trouble. If you don’t know what is being said, you can’t respond, and if you don’t respond and help to solve the problem the next thing you know is that the problem is out of all control.” You can’t stop people from writing negative things about you, but, if you’re aware of what’s being said, you can quickly address those complaints.

Negative customer reviews are important opportunities for businesses to show the world they care about their customers, as they proactively work to right wrongs and repair customer relationships. When responding to negative reviews, your language and tone should be warm, professional, and non-defensive. For example, “We are deeply sorry that you received your shipment 5 days late, and that is was a huge inconvenience for you. We’d like to make it up to you as soon as possible. What is the best way to reach you?”

You should also respond to positive reviews. For example, “Thank you for your feedback. We’re glad that you had a good experience with us in purchasing your new air conditioner. We hope it keeps you cool during these hot summer months. We value you as a customer and look forward to serving you again.” That extra touch never gets old and never goes unnoticed. Those customers will stick with you because you are a company that cares about them.

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3. Be Truthful And Transparent.

Transparency isn’t just a “buzz word” in today’s marketplace, it is an expectation that customers have for companies they do business with. Gone are the days of faceless businesses that hide behind their logos, websites, and commercials. Customers today want to connect with real, approachable, and transparent companies. Studies show that transparency builds trust and is good for business. In fact, 84% of U.S. consumers have more trust with transparent companies.

How Can Your Business Be More Transparent?

– Share your successes.

Share your company’s accomplishments and awards, as a whole and individually. Your customers are your greatest supporters. Let them celebrate with you, as your success is their success. Let them know that any awards or accolades you receive wouldn’t be possible without the support and loyalty of your customers.

– Share your passions.
Show your customers who the people really are behind your brand. Talk about your interests outside of the office. What activities does your team do together? Talk about the race your team just ran to support breast cancer awareness or your recent office party at Lake Tahoe. Invite your customers to participate with you in a good cause, possibly serving meals at a homeless shelter or volunteering at a community fundraiser. Showing that there’s more to you than just running your business, makes you more interesting and relatable to your customers.

– Share your corporate culture.
Pull back the curtain and let your customers get a peak of what your office does on a daily basis. Let them see how your operation runs, how products are designed, made, and shipped. Let them see how well you and your employees work together as a team. Display pictures of your office, employees at work, daily operations, meetings, and office celebrations.

– Show your imperfections. 
Transparency isn’t all about your successes. From recalls of anything from aspirin to automobiles, to airlines losing luggage, things go wrong in every industry. Companies that try to hide it or act like it didn’t happen are the ones that lose customers in a major way once the truth gets out … and it almost always does.” Being honest and owning mistakes isn’t always easy, but it shows that you’re authentic and humble. It also means that people can trust you and that you won’t try to hide anything. You are a business with integrity, and if by chance a mistake is made, they know you will make it right.

Don’t Despair, Go Repair.

Creating and maintaining a positive online reputation is vital to running any successful business. If your reputation is in need of repair, don’t despair. Use these tools to help you turn your reputation around. Don’t let years of hard work, developing a solid brand, go down the drain. Businesses who earn good reputations are committed to exceeding their customers’ expectations by consistently providing excellent products and service.