With instant access to an internet full of reviews and complaints it doesn't take much for your business to get a bad reputation online. If this starts happening to your company, responding the right way makes all the difference between getting a permanent black mark on your record and coming out on the other side looking better than ever. Use these tips to protect your company’s reputation and keep your business growing.
We live in a digital age, which means your customers can rant or rave about your business online through sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp at the touch of a button. With so much access to commentary on your business, it’s important to be actively engaged in how your company is presented to protect your online reputation online. If you're not sure how to get started with defending your business's name online, here's a quick overview of the reputation management tricks you'll need.
If you’ve never Googled your business before, do it now. You’ll be able to see your reviews and get a feel for how others rate your work. As you keep digging, you’ll be able to find more reviews, tweets, articles, and even some Facebook posts about your business. You might be surprised about what you find, or you might be grateful. Either way, take online reviews and posts (and your choice of response) seriously. They can dramatically help or hurt your business.
Set Up Notifications
It’s easy to get lost in the internet when you’re looking for reviews on your business. Fortunately, you don’t have to scan every page of Google weekly to monitor your business reputation. Set up notifications through Google Alerts and you’ll get an email every time your business name is mentioned. For a broader perspective on your business's place in the industry input words that reflect your field. If you’re a landscaper, you might want to put in landscaping or tree removal. If you’re a plumber, you might want to input bathroom remodeling or plumbing repairs. This will keep you up-to-date with all the big news in your field and keep you ahead of your competitors.
The great thing about social media is you can be instantly alerted anytime someone tweets at you or mentions your business in a Facebook post. Whenever one of your customers sends you a message, do your best to respond to it as quickly as possible and always be professional.
Every time a customer complaint appears regarding your business, your workers, or your services you have the opportunity to help make your company look better than ever, as long as you handle the situation properly. There are a few different ways you can respond that will either help your business grow or keep any new customers from coming your way. Specifically, you can choose to:
- Not respond, completely ignoring the complaint.
- Write a professional and polished response.
- Resolve the issue with the complainer by offering a discount on his or her next project.
- File a lawsuit against the complainer if the complaint merits it.
In most cases, a professional public response (possibly sent alongside a private message trying to resolve the issue) will be your best course of action. Never write responses while angry. Offering a discount is also a wise move, but only if the complaint is legitimate. For instance, if the results of your service quickly proved to be unreliable, the client might run to social media and say you did a horrible job. You might be able to quickly resolve the issue by openly apologizing and offering to take a look at them for free, fixing them at a discounted rate when the mistake is found.
Encourage Positive Reviews
It may seem counterintuitive to ask people to review your business online, especially when you’re trying to protect your reputation, but the best way to get unsatisfied customers off the front page is to fill it with customers who are delighted. If you ask your most recent client to review the job on Yelp when the excitement of the project is fresh in their mind, they’ll most likely leave a positive review. Getting more positive reviews will outweigh any negative ones you might receive.