More consumers than ever look at the reviews about your business to help them make major buying decisions. If your target customers search for your service, will you come up? And if you do, will it be positive? Let's take a look at the best ways to take control of a bad reputation.
First, consider this...
Searchers might find little to no information about your business reputation, in which case they may either rely on your sales writing skills and guarantee(s) listed on your website. Or they may keep searching to find another service offering what you’ve got.
With a bad reputation, you might not even get the option.
People might find you have a bad reputation based on glancing at your online reviews.
They also might find negative feedback from past customers on your BBB profile.
Ignoring a bad reputation can cost you thousands of dollars in lost sales..
It’s not just the bad Yelp reviews you shouldn’t ignore; it’s also the good ones. Customers want to see that you care about how your business looks. This means responding to positive reviews as well as the bad ones.
You can use good reviews to showcase your abilities and instill confidence to your customers.
You can use bad reviews to learn where to improve, and to show anyone following you online that your company cares about customer service and satisfaction.
How? Act on negativity in a productive way, wherever possible.
Read: Successful Online Review Management
When you get good feedback posted publicly, acknowledge it and show your appreciation.
Not only might you get a chance to thank the person who left the positive feedback, but you’ll often draw attention to it with your reply, which can help get more eyes on the positive.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and feedback. Many companies list review requests on invoices and email communications and post positive reviews on a section of their website.
You can allow customers to post a review directly on their site.
Some companies even go as far as to offer incentives in exchange for feedback.
For most of 2017, UrthBox ran an incentive program to encourage consumers to post positive reviews about its snack boxes on the Better Business Bureau website. For example, when people called UrthBox’s Customer Service line with an unrelated issue, UrthBox representatives offered to send them a free snack box if they posted a positive review with the BBB.
A prime example of the consequences of incentivized reviews.
Where possible, respond to negative reviews offering to make it right.
Transparency can foster trust with your customers. Respond to public social media comments in a helpful way that strives to take them private.
If you can, take the conversation private so there’s an opportunity to fix problems without a public eye on the particulars.
Example: "We’re sorry you’re not happy. Please PM us or call this number ***-***-**** so we can make things right."
Search engine optimization works well in fixing a bad reputation by showcasing your product or service when people search for reviews.
SEO is a key factor when trying to bury negative search results.
While ongoing SEO could help bury the occasional negative press in search engines, you can’t necessarily get rid of it.
Yes, leveraging inbound marketing techniques can help you showcase the positives, but be aware that negativity is just about impossible to completely hide.
The good news is consumers are more forgiving if they see you trying to right a wrong and will often overlook a few negative reviews if the vast majority of what is being said about you is positive.
No matter what, you can’t ignore a bad reputation, and if you don’t have time to manage it, it’s advantageous to get some help, either through a new hire or a reputation management service for small businesses.
Draw attention to good feedback and reviews.
(Avoid the urge to post fake reviews. Wherever there is concrete back-up to your statements, this lends credibility and helps with your online reputation.)
Set up a Google Alert with your company and brand names. You’ll get emails when something new with those keywords is indexed by Google, giving you an opportunity to look at it and, if necessary, take action on it.
Regularly monitor your brand name on social media by searching hashtags and reviewing content.
Claim your business listings wherever possible on review sites and directories so that you’ll have an opportunity to see what’s being said and/or take action.
Make reputation management a part of your ongoing digital marketing strategies, either by carving out time in your schedule regularly for it, hiring someone who becomes responsible for it, or outsourcing reputation management to a company that specializes in it.
In today’s digital world, a bad reputation online can cost your business thousands in lost sales.
However, while most companies today know that they should prioritize digital marketing, many are still neglecting their online reviews.
Don’t leave your reputation up to chance; instead, make sure you are actively monitoring and managing your reviews, mentions, search results and all other facets of your online reputation.
To learn more about how to control your business reputation, call NewReputation today for a completely free and confidential consultation.
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