Whether you know it or not, people are talking about you online. From blog posts and social media comments to user generated reviews, your business’ online reputation can directly influence customer satisfaction and loyalty. And having a not-so-great reputation can mean the difference between a customer choosing you or your competitor. Master these six reputation management basics to build a stellar online reputation.
- Know What’s Being Said about You
First, you need to know where consumers are talking –and what they are saying about your business. Search for “your business name] reviews”, or “[your business name] complaints” on top search engines and review sites. You can also use tools like Google Alerts, Twitter, and Social Search to monitor your business name, and don’t forget check them regularly – at least once a day.
- Respond to (Some) Reviews
Some reviews—even negative ones—can work in your favor if you respond the right way. Negative reviews can’t be deleted, but you can apologize for the customer’s poor experience and ask them to contact you offline to resolve their complaint. Don’t just respond to the negative reviews, though. Genuinely thanking customers publicly for a positive review can also encourage repeat business and elicit positive reviews from other happy customers. Yelp offers these tips for responding to reviews.
- Ask for Positive Reviews
Want more positive reviews? Ask for them. You can send loyal customers a postcard or email, or simply ask them after a store visit or service call to go online and leave a review of their experience on a site such as Yelp or Google Places. Give it a try – chances are pretty good your customers will respond with a positive review.
- Join the Social Conversation
Once you know where consumers are talking about your business, you can join the conversation. Add new consumers to your network by following them on social media. Then reply to, comment on, or share their content – in addition to creating your own. Don’t just use this as an opportunity to push your products or services; also share helpful tips, interesting stories, photos, videos, and more to engage your consumers. Sometimes people are more interested in what you have to say than what you have to sell.
- Claim your Local Listings
What do local online listings have to do with your reputation? A lot! Claiming your listings on local directories and review sites ensures consumers find accurate and consistent information about your business. You can even use your listings to highlight customer reviews, special offers, or photos and videos of your products and services. Doing so will increase the amount of positive content people see about your business when they search for you online.
- Turn the Tables on Customer Complaints
Customers aren’t just complaining – they’re giving you valuable information. So take action! Use the feedback you get from online comments and reviews to improve your product offerings, customer service, and other business operations. For instance, if you see a lot of negative comments about the long lines at your store on Saturday mornings, you might increase the number of employees working that shift. Let your customers know you’re listening, and you care about what they have to say!
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