Now and then almost every business has to deal with customer complaints. The reputation of a company can be negatively affected even if it often strives to offer exceptional customer service and thrives on prioritizing customer satisfaction.
While some complaints can be resolved amicably via communication channels some customers may be hell-bent on leaving damaging reviews about a business online. If a business is established locally an online name search may come up with negative reviews that can hurt such ranking. And because the internet has dramatically reduced the distance between customers it is much easier for negative reviews to be spread like wildfire and exposed to many online customers.
The results of a lot of negative feedback and business reputation online may include damage to the business name and reduced sales and revenue. For that reason every business that wants to enhance visibility and maintain a generally positive reputation online must invest in Online Reputation Management (ORM). Consequently below are ways for managing and improving the reputation of a brand online.
1. Avoid Ignoring Dissatisfied Customers
Businesses are often tempted to avoid responding to negative reviews and posts from customers as they do not want to give them more attention. But the fact is that almost 97% of customers who read negative reviews also look for and read the reply provided by the business.
All the time provide a consistent, prompt and polite answer to a negative review or comment from a customer to avoid further harming the business reputation.
2. Apologize For A Mistake
It is a usual occurrence for a business to make a genuine or perceived mistake. In such a situation owning up to a mistake can safeguard the business from the potential negative effects as the relationship with customers is strengthened by being apologetic.
Any apology made must be sincere and show how the mistake is being rectified. Also when making an apology ensure communication is done on the same channel such as Twitter receiving plenty of negative feedback.
3. Enhance Brand Visibility
A business must always strive for placement on top of online search results. Achieving higher rankings is one sure way of countering negative customer reviews and comments.
The result displayed on the first page of search results receives an average of 31.7% organic Click Through Rate (CTR). The website ranked first on search result pages also hasten times the chance of receiving a visitor than one found in the 10th position.
4. Avoid Online Arguments
When engaging in online arguments with a customer or customers it is much easier to do or say something because of emotions which may exacerbate the situation. A business that engages in public arguments always seems petty and unprofessional even in the case a customer is wrong.
In the face of an escalating engagement a business must remain composed and provide only professional feedback. The best way of avoiding messy online arguments with customers is by encouraging offline communication to resolve an issue.
5. Invest Time And Money On Online Reputation Management
Management of the online reputation of a business requires money and time investment. For that reason most small and local companies avoid investing in reputation development until a need arises as they do not understand it is usually worth the investment.
Because working towards a positive online reputation can consume a lot of productive business time and be frustrating the work can be undertaken by a hired professional.
By following these strategies the business is better positioned to deal with any damaging customer feedback and brand reputation professionally. While reputation management may not wholly shield a business from biased criticism it can still significantly assist in limiting the extent of reputation damage.