Why Reputation Management Should Be Every Business Owner’s Priority

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As a business owner, you must have spent years building your business. You must have invested time, money and energy creating products and building a reputation. You finally feel as though you are established and secured, until the day when the leads decrease, and new customers vanish. You cannot understand why.

You are still providing unmatched customer service, and your existing customers seem to love you. However, your business is struggling. Finally, you learn from one of your existing customers that your business has scathing reviews posted online. This is when you realize that your online reputation is showing an unpleasant face of the reality that is killing your business. Unfortunately, this scenario is true for hundreds of businesses across the country.

Online reviews = Business reputation

What people say about your business online is the most important reflection of your brand’s quality, trustworthiness and expertise. It does not matter if you are a new business or an established one, more than 50 percent of your customers are likely to trust online reviews when making a buying decision.

As a marketer, your priority should be to establish and maintain a 5-star online reputation for your business. This is because the rest of your marketing activities, such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay-per-click campaigns, email marketing or traditional forms of marketing will eventually lead the customer to the Internet to learn more about your brand and offerings. Once a customer starts searching online for your business, your poor reputation will drive him or her away.

Most businesses fail to realize that customers are looking for information that will make them feel confident that they are making an informed decision. Today, customers feel confident when they read positive online reviews of your business.

Tips for protecting your online reputation

Regardless of the size and location of your business, reputation management should be your priority. It is a fact that every business experiences conflict with customers at some point. However, when a dissatisfied customer decides to make his opinion public on third-party sites like Yelp, it can be damaging to your business. Unfortunately, it is impossible to please every customer. It is possible to maintain a positive reputation even when a dissatisfied customer is posting bad comments about your business, just by keeping the following points in mind:

1. Do not ignore bad reviews: We all make mistakes, but sometimes a customer may get so annoyed that he or she might post a scathing review online. This review, if ignored, can result in a significant loss of new customers and business reputation. If you are at fault, it is best to contact the reviewer and resolve the complaint as professionally as possible. Often such customers, after their issues are addressed, not only return to you for future business but also recommend your business to their family and friends.

2. Be polite, but professional: At times, we all tend to let our emotions overpower our thoughts. However, as a business owner, you should act professionally. When you come across a negative review or customer complaint, look at it from the customer’s perspective, and think through the strategy of addressing and resolving the complaint.

3. Post informative content: Posting useful and fresh content is one of the best ways to establish your business as a trusted brand in your industry. Always use a friendly and conversational tone when replying to customer comments instead of jargon. Sharing useful insights about your products and employees can humanize your brand and allow you to relate to customers.

4. Interact with customers on social media: Being active on social networks is an effective way to establish and improve your online reputation. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter attract millions of users every day. Posting useful content in the form of news clips and blogs on these social networks can help you reach out to wider audiences.

5. Track online conversations: Even if you are not posting much content about your business or products, others are. It is critical to know what visitors are saying about your brand and how they perceive it. For instance, people could be posting rude comments about your offerings on social networks or popular review sites. If you were not aware of this, you would never realize how critical the problem is and how much it is harming your reputation.

When it comes to online reputation management, awareness is power. Even if your reputation is not what you would want it to be, it is a good idea to be aware of where you are instead of ignoring the ground realities. Staying on top of your condition can help identify and address any potential problems before they spin out of control.


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