For companies that attract customers and employees via the Internet, it is important to manage their online reputation. Responding quickly to negative reviews, publishing in the media, creating a good brand impression and, in general, monitoring what people think about the product. This can be done both independently and with the help of specialists from a reputation management agency.
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Five Steps to an Online Reputation Audit
Conduct a business reputation audit to find problems and growth points. This can be done in several steps.
Identify key phrases related to your personality, company, or brand. This can be the name of a store or brand, or keywords that are relevant to the business.
Type keywords in Google to find information and reviews about the company. Analyze the search results and see what they write about the company on the web. Pay particular attention to negative comments, complaints, or scandals. They may indicate potential problems that need to be addressed.
Evaluate the reliability and relevance of the reviews and articles found. To do this, look at the dates of the entries, sources and authors who published the information. For example, a person writes about a purchase on a day when the company was closed or the specified product was out of stock. This way you can detect fake reviews from competitors and detractors.
Make a list of problems and threats to the company's reputation. Determine which ones need immediate attention and which can be delayed. For example, delivery issues or website downtime need to be addressed as soon as possible, as they directly affect sales. But reviews that the client did not like the color of the walls in the office can be left for later.
Make a plan to improve your reputation. We recommend not dwelling on negative reviews. But to carry out a comprehensive work on the image - order publications in the media, speak on the radio, work with clients, and improve service. If you're having trouble creating a business strategy, contact reputation management experts.
Who is it important to control the reputation on the Internet
Those who attract customers, partners or employees on the Internet need to constantly monitor the image on the network. In other cases, online reputation cannot be controlled - it will not have a strong impact on the business.
For example, let's compare a small bakery near the house and an online store selling confectionery. The first business does not need to attract customers via the Internet, since its audience is the residents of the nearest houses. For such a company, word of mouth among local residents is more important than reputation on the Internet. For an online store, the main source of customers is the Internet, so its online reputation will directly affect sales.
Why Negative Reviews Happen
In most cases, a negative review occurs when a user's expectations and reality for a service or product diverge. For example, the company promised one thing, but in fact it turned out differently. The courier was late, although they promised that they would definitely arrive on time. The online store does not have some of the goods in stock, although the site indicates the opposite.
Not always a bad review is associated with poor quality service or product. Sometimes a client writes a negative message simply because he is in a bad mood:
- Did not pass a job interview for objective reasons - wrote a review that the company is bad;
- Quarreled at home with his wife, everything around is annoying, the consultant in the store looked wrong - a negative review of the store;
- The restaurant asks to pay in cash, and the client only has a card, he is in a hurry - a bad review about the restaurant.
There may be hundreds of such examples, but they have the same result - a negative review in the piggy bank, a decrease in the rating, and subsequently the company's reputation.
How to Avoid Negative Reviews
The only way to completely avoid bad reviews is to stop online activity. No business, no negativity. In other cases, it is possible to receive an angry review from a client or employee, even if you have excellent service, excellent products and working conditions.
All you can do is minimize the chance of negativity as much as possible. To do this, monitor the quality of goods / services and treat the team with care.
To track down and quickly work through negative reviews, implement quality control at key sales stages where there is a high risk of getting a bad review. For example: at the stage of delivery.
For this you can:
- Hire an employee who will call customers and conduct a survey about the quality of services. This option is suitable for online stores, pizzerias and any companies that sell goods/services via the Internet.
- Make a newsletter via SMS or instant messengers so that the client will rate your work. In case of receiving a low score, the employee responsible for conflict resolution is promptly contacted by the buyer. This method is used by many banks, mobile operators and online stores.
How to deal with Negative Reviews
If a negative review has already been written, it can be worked out in several ways:
Resolve conflict with client/employee: If you understand that the person is right, then it is better to make concessions and solve the problem. Sometimes it is enough to apologize or pay a couple of thousand extra to resolve the conflict. The author of the review will most likely delete the negative after the issue is resolved. If you don't feel like negotiating or feel it's useless, then seek advice from reputation management experts.
Remove false information through lawyers: If there is no way to find out who the author of the review is, the negotiations have reached an impasse and you are firmly convinced that you are right, involve specialists in the case.
Write a formal response on behalf of the company: If the client is real and you understand that the company has made a mistake, then it is better to write an official response in the comments under the review. Apologize and offer to resolve the conflict. In disputable situations, it is better to give an official answer after consultation with reputation management experts.
Replace negative with positive feedback: If there are few bad reviews and they are not critical, then you can cover them with new positive comments. The best way is to ask real customers or employees to share their impressions about the company.
Conduct a full reputation audit every three months to keep abreast of any changes. Track information about the company on the Internet, collect feedback from customers and work out bad reviews in a timely manner. All this will help you quickly respond to negativity and build a positive business reputation online.