Your reputation online is just like your reputation in the real world; it can make or break your business or even your personal life.
If you have a reputation for providing poor customer service, word gets around the internet faster than who the quarterback is dating gets around a high school. Conversely, great reputations and reviews will breed more business.
We have always had business reviews. In the past, you didn't usually see or hear them, but they were there. Your business was reviewed over a kitchen table, over the water cooler at work, or over beers in a bar. If your business had a good rep, business kept rolling in. If you had a bunch of people mad at you or that you’ve given bad service to, business would decline and eventually you’d go out of business.
Today, because of the internet, everyone gets to read everyone else’s opinions. Through Google, Facebook, Yelp and lots of other sites, people will put their opinion out there and the next person to search for your business will get to read it.
The most important thing to know is that you can repair a bad reputation. There are, in fact, two major ways to do fix a bad rep.
1 - Do it yourself. It takes a lot of time and attention to detail, but you can fix your own online reputation and reviews.
2 - Hire a reputation repair company. They can take care of everything and they will do it every day, while you take care of your business.
Some business owners will panic when they get a single bad review. It can feel like the end of the world. It’s not!
Coach Lombardi is right. If you’re trying to do great work and give your customers what they want, you’re going to miss the mark sometimes.
It’s not about being perfect, but about how you recover from mistakes.
Other than hiring reputation repair companies, there’s a lot that you can do on your own. Here is a bit of a crash course in some of the steps for online reputation repair and bury negative search results.
The first step is to track what’s being said about you. Set up a Google Alert with your company name, your name, and any other terms and phrases that someone searching for your business. There are other services like Rankur and Free Review Monitoring you can use, too. You need to know what’s being said to effect a change.
You can try to get them deleted. For example, if you get fake reviews, you can appeal to the sites that they’ve been posted on. Let the site, like Yelp, know that this person isn’t your customer or that this a disgruntled former employee.
Handling the fake reviews. One business we worked with was getting negative reviews posted by the owner’s ex-boyfriend. There was an offline discussion where we pointed out that he wasn’t just impacting her business but everyone else who worked at the business as well. He took down all of his negative reviews and the business’s reputation went up in a day.
Create quality content that Google, Bing, and other search engines will find before they find your negative reviews. Write white papers, blogs, social media posts, and more to push the negative information down on the search engines.
Search engines love the new and novel. If you start creating new content, the search engines will see the new stuff and the negative reviews will move to the back pages.
Nearly everyone expects you to make mistakes. Consumers and other businesses know that you’ll have an unhappy customers. How you recover from a negative review is 99% of winning new customers.
If you get a negative review, you need to post a response that is professional, measured, and offers to help. The first thing to do is take your conversation to private space. Either have them direct message or email you or have them give you a call. Talk to them about their concerns. Fix it the best you can. Then go back online and update their complaint with how you fixed it and that you hope that their satisfied. Apologize again.
Don’t do this! One business we worked with was run by a guy who thought that striking back is a great way to fix a problem. When a customer wrote a negative complaint, he would lash out at them, telling the world what he hated about that customer and why he was right. Never do that. You would never do it face to face in a brick and mortar business; don’t do it online where everything is forever.
The easiest way to bury negative reviews is to ask customers for reviews. If you get a lot of great reviews, the negative reviews will have much less impact. Do great work and you’ll see that your overall reviews grow.
Your customers will be willing to give you great reviews if you do great work.
The most important way to get great reviews is to ask for them! Ask all of your customers to do a review.
Repairing your reputation will take months, even years, depending on how bad it is. It’s a long-term project. If you do it by yourself, it will take hours of content creation,
If you work with a reputation repair company, you’ll find that it takes a lot less time. They can work full-time posting new content, monitoring your reputation, and even intercepting negative reviews.
Many business owners are concerned that they can’t afford a reputation management company. The reality is that, once your rep is repaired, you’ll make all of that money back and more.