When someone wants to research a company, their first port of call will be to do a Google search on them. You - as a business owner - want to make sure that what they find is positive. Managing your online reputation will not only help you acquire new customers but will also help you keep your existing ones.
What is online reputation management?
The internet is no longer passive. Users are encouraged to interact with websites and social media. As most people have access to the internet at work or home, interacting with brands online has become a lot easier than going to a mall. So if they cannot find you, there are hundreds of other choices out there which will fulfill customers’ needs. This means that you need to be online as well and have a sterling brand reputation. A brand management course will help you figure out how to do this.
The experience you provide customers online will heavily influence their opinion of you. Give them a good experience and they will have a favourable opinion. Conversely, give them a bad online experience and their view of your company will be negative.
The opinions that people post about you online is your online reputation. Whether these are good or bad, you need to manage this reputation so that people can see you care about their opinions and are actively making sure that you tailor make your service to respond to their needs. You are showing the customer that they matter.
Everyone likes a great comment
If a customer leaves you a great review, accept it humbly and thank them. Do not comment that the great service is just as a result of your company being incredible. This type of arrogance will quickly turn your existing and potential customers away.
“Another tip for great comments and reviews – especially on social media – is to contact the poster privately and ask them if you can use their review on your website,” says Lisa Schneider: managing director of the Digital School of Marketing. “Having this great feedback on your website is extremely valuable as here your brand message is not diluted. This is opposed to social media where you are competing with others for exposure.”
Do not ignore negative comments
Customers see social media – especially Twitter – as a way of complaining about a company. This is because they see it as an avenue to communicate directly with the company and get an almost instantaneous response.
If you are faced with an unhappy customer’s negative Tweet or Facebook Post, do not message them and ask if you can take the conversation offline. Address their problem publicly. If you do so privately, the public will assume that you have something to hide. Always be polite and – if the case warrants – apologise and offer to refund the customer or replace their defective item.
“This will go a long way to making sure that the customer stays your customer. Acknowledging their feelings will tell them that their opinions matter and that you value their business,” concludes Schneider.
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