Reputation is everything in business. Without a good one, you’re doomed. Think about it. The last time you considered trying a new restaurant or purchasing a hotel stay, what did you do? Googled it. If all that research pulled up too much negative, you skipped without batting an eye.
While managing reputation is essential, it can be difficult to control. Much of your online presence stems from outside influence. However, there’s good news. You can easily protect your reputation, keep customers coming back for more and pull in a few new ones along the way by avoiding these four mistakes:
Mistake #1: Ignoring Online Reviews
Online reviews are a powerful currency in reputation management. What you say about your business matters little compared to what others say. After all, you’re a tiny bit biased and consumers know it.
Engaging with online reviews is an important reputation management strategy, true for both good and bad reviews. So what should you do? Express gratitude for the good and resolve the bad.
When it comes to good reviews, thank users enthusiastically for their time and their review. Let them know how much you appreciate them. This proves how intentional you are about maintaining positive customer experiences.
For negative reviews, respond genuinely. Apologize for the poor experience and follow up for more information. If someone from the customer support team has already resolved the issue for the customer, state that. If not, inquire further in order to solve the problem directly. This shows that you’re dedicated to customer support and will do what it takes to make your customers happy.
Mistake #2: Deleting Negative Reviews
We’ve all felt that pit-in-the-stomach, heart-sinking feeling that comes when we see a negative review of our business. Our first instinct is to hide it. Why would we want anyone to see that? But before you do, take a deep breath. Do not delete. Here’s why:
First, it shows a lack of transparency. Customers notice when their review has been deleted. This has the potential to cause an entirely new set of problems. Often they broadcast their story louder and more widely. If word gets out that you censor reviews, you’ll be seen as untrustworthy, if not downright fraudulent. Don’t delete.
More importantly, there’s documented evidence proving that people like to see non-perfect reviews. It’s seen as more realistic and honest. Further, 95% of customers will suspect censorship or fake reviews if they don’t see anything negative. So as long as you’re addressing negative reviews and have a strong positive presence, this can actually work in your favor.
Mistake #3: Inconsistent Online Presence
Have you ever visited a brand’s Facebook page and noticed that it hasn’t been updated in four months? Or checked out a company blog and realized that they only have three out-dated posts? Not a good sign.
You’re likely using a number of different marketing channels to connect with your target audience. It’s imperative that you stay consistent and present on each. Otherwise, potential customers assume you’re out of the game.
With that said, try not to add new marketing channels until you’re ready to maintain them consistently. You want to send the message that your business is thriving.
Mistake #4: Thinking No Reputation is a Positive One
Some brands straight up don’t invest in their reputation management because they think it’s not important. We haven’t had a crisis so we’re good, right? Wrong!
Unfortunately, no news isn’t necessarily good news. You need to have a reputation. Just make sure it’s a good one. Hence, invest in reputation management.
Actively reach out to your customers or clients and ask for reviews. If you don’t, the ones you’ll most likely get aren’t quite the ones you want.
Engage with your customers authentically on visible platforms, respond to social media messages, public comments, and even blog post responses. Potential customers will take note.
Connect with other members in the industry or key influencers, like journalists and bloggers, who can start to spread the word about what you have to offer and their experience with you.
Developing a strong brand takes a lot of work. Reputation management is an ongoing endeavor that should be carefully and consistently nurtured. Avoiding these 4 common traps is a good start, especially in conjunction with offense-driven strategies, to ensure you’re putting positive forces out into the world.