From the moment you open a business to the day you close it down (and beyond), you will have a reputation. Whether that is a good one or a bad one will change overtime, depending on how your customers feel about you. If you have strong customer service, good products, and a friendly attitude, then it is more likely to be a good reputation. But a single disgruntled employee or customer can change all of that in an instant, and you have to be ready to engage in some serious reputation repair.
How to Deal with an Online Reputation
- Make sure that you know what is being said about you, particularly on social media. You need to know how you are being hashtagged, who is contacting you, and who has commented and what about.
- Earn your customers trust. Respond to them in a friendly manner at all times, and try to focus not so much on selling products or services, but on building relationships with your customers and other stakeholders.
- Make sure you know that you will get some complaints. Nobody is perfect and if you were, someone would likely complain about that. What you have to know, therefore, is how to respond to a complaint. By being courteous, professional, and timely, and by not getting emotional, you show your customers that you appreciate and listen to all types of feedback, and that you take things on board.
So how do you do all of this? The best way is to enlist the services of a reputation management consultant. They will spend all their time on monitoring what is said about you, and on making sure all the good things about you are being brought to the foreground. They will do more than that as well. Essentially, they will perform search engine optimization for you, so that your site is easier to find, so that you have an up to date blog, and so that you have an active social media presence.
Is this work that you can do yourself? Absolutely. But it takes up a whole lot of time, and you need to know a lot about how the internet, and particularly search engines, work. You are in a certain type of business, and that is unlikely to be the business of reputation management, search engine optimization, and search engine page rankings. Hence, it is better to make sure you can continue to concentrate on what it is that you actually do, and let the professionals do the rest.
A good reputation means increased sales. A bad reputation means your business could go under. While it takes years to build a positive reputation, it could literally take minutes for it to be destroyed, particularly if a complaint about you were to go viral. Luckily, there are things that you can do in order to keep your reputation positive, particularly the steps outlined above. Most importantly: don’t ignore the importance of your online reputation.