The internet has given the power of knowledge to customers. Customers just need to enter your name in the search engine such as Google and they will get information about your business. This information can be in the form of your official website link and/or customer/product reviews. The customers find this information very useful as it aids them in decision making and reducing their risk while shopping. As this information influences the customers in your favor or against you, it can quickly become a major hurdle for your business. Therefore, it is important to manage your online reputation when you are dealing with online public relations.
All business persons realize the power of Word of Mouth (WOM). Just one customer spreading bad WOM about you can ruin any strongly created image built through extensive marketing campaigns. WOM, especially negative WOM spreads like the wildfire spreads in a forest. A customer’s negative posts about your business will surely damage your image; even if it is your competitor pretending to be a customer and using deceitful means to damage your image.for the fix bad google reviews In today’s competitive world, image is everything. Therefore, it is essential that you practice reputation management to create a good image.
In order to protect the image and protect themselves from losing their market share to competitors, it is important that the businesses keep a track of their online reputation and work on managing and improving it.
The following are some guidelines that you can use for image and online reputation management:
Find Out Exactly What People Are Saying About You:
Ignoring the problem or pretending it does not exist does not make it go away. Remember, knowledge is power. So, always be knowledgeable about what people are saying about you. In this case, what you do not know may harm you. Only when you are aware that a problem exists would you be able to fix it. You never know you might find good things being said about you which you can share with others and use to your advantage.
Nobody can be perfect. Do not be afraid to find out what is out there. Face your fear and ‘Google’ your name to see what is being published about you. Take in what is good humbly, but, do not react irrationally to any negative comments about yourself. The negative comments will not do much harm as long as you handle them responsibly. Handling negative criticism positively may actually win you more customers. Trouble will be increased, if you do not handle negative WOM professionally. You will end up driving customers away.
Respond To The Negative Reviews In A Professional Manner:
Do not give your piece of mind to a customer who has published a negative review about you, even if you feel the review is unjustified. Handle it as a professional. Falling down does not matter as much as it matters how you get up and going. Customers might not react to a negative review, but they will be on the lookout as to how you respond to it.
If someone is trying to portray you as negative or having made a mistake, do not prove him or her right. Remain calm and deal with it professionally. If you will try to take revenge by insulting the customer publicly, the complainant will gain sympathies of potential customers. As a result, your potential customers will avoid doing business with you. You will end up damaging your online reputation.
This is how you should deal with the situation:
- If you have made a mistake, admit it and apologize. Even if you have not made a mistake, apologize for inconvenience caused
- Show empathy with the customer and make them feel you understand and care
- Take steps for fixing the mistake and communicate these steps to the customer
- Express your interest to continue doing business with them so that they realize they are valuable to you
- All in all, deal with the situation very professionally.
By following these steps, you will build trust not only with the complainant but you will prove to potential customers that you are responsible and trustworthy.
Never Ignore Negative Reviews:
Not reacting at all is not a good way to react. Ignoring the complaints will communicate that you lack care for customers. Ignoring customers will have the same effect as reacting angrily would – you will lose customers.
Not responding to a complaint might make other customers feel that the complaint is in fact true and that you have no answer for it. Again, remember that negative WOM spreads like fire. One negative comment can persuade your customers to do business with your competitors. You should be ready with a strategy to deal with online complaints. Ignoring is a bad strategy – being prepared to deal with the situation is a safer and recommended option.
(as outlined in the tip above).
Invite the Customer to Amend Their Review
To show other customers that you are a responsible business, try to get the complainant declare that you have fixed the issue pointed out by them. Upon resolution of the issue, try that the customer removes their complaint or at-least get them to post that you have handled the issue.
Although clearing the negative review may have some immediate costs, but it has long term benefits. Try to assist the customer as to how they can remove or amend their negative review. If they refuse to do so or are unable to do so, try to tactfully publish your follow-up of how you resolved the problem. Do not offend the customer. If they react further, it will just lead to more damage to your reputation.
For instance, you might apologize, saying that there are uncontrollable factors involved, which lead to the problem. However, the customer was re-funded or given a replacement or whatever action that you have taken to resolve the problem.
Public display of affection towards your customer will benefit you in the long-term. Rather than losing business over a bad review, you might end up gaining more customers by showing your care and concern towards customers.
Encourage Positive Reviews from Satisfied Customers
Bring the other side of the picture to the forefront. Try to get reviews of satisfied customers publicized. This might also have some immediate costs but will get you long-term benefits. Encourage satisfied customers to give positive reviews. These positive reviews will help you to overcome the bad ones.
Remember that prevention is better than cure. So do not wait for a bad review before you start encouraging positive reviews. Satisfied customers are willing to share their experiences. They just need a little push in the right direction. So encourage them and assist them in doing so. Guide them as to how they can leave a positive review about their experience with your business. If you have prepared yourself in this manner, a bad review might not have as much damage.
Satisfied customers are not as vocal as those who have a bad experience with you. Assist the satisfied customers and make it easy for them to post a positive review. Depending upon your industry, conduct research to identify your target market and understand who they are (e.g. mothers, youth, business professionals, etc.). Guide them to the sites of their interest so that they become willing to post their experience.
By guiding the customers, you can have some control over what is being said about your business. Show the customers the proper sites where they can drop their reviews and where business-owners can provide feedback on customers’ review (maybe even offer a reputation management program). This will allow you to avoid entering a situation where there is a war of words. It will also allow you to control the damage a bad review can cause.
Never leave fake positive reviews for your own business.
Do not try to cheat the customers by publishing fake reviews. There is always a risk of getting caught and you might end up causing even more damage to your image then what a negative review might have had.
It is difficult to make everyone happy. Where there will be happy customers there will always be ones who are unhappy. Unhappy customers can allow you to bring even more business by offering you an opportunity of fixing a problem. Fixing a problem will bring you two advantages. Firstly, you will fix the issue so that it does not happen again and secondly, by fixing the issue you will prove to potential customers that you indeed care for your customers.
Customers know that there is room for mistake when conducting business. They do not expect you to be perfect but they expect you to be professional and take responsibility for a mistake. If you accept the responsibility and make amends, they will feel safe working with you, respect you and trust you. You will be able to win potential customers as well.
It’s Time to Get Social
Realize the power of social media and use it to your benefit. People are spending more time, and are also, relying more on social media. If you use this medium and make accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc., managing online reputation will be even easier. If your interaction on social media gains popularity, there will more chances of that coming up in the search engine rather than any site containing bad reviews. Moreover, you can use the social media to get your side of the story heard, in case a bad review does come up.
There are other sites, which you can use to enhance your image and online reputation such as YouTube, Blogger, Squidoo, WordPress etc. Try to make accounts on as many platforms as you can easily manage. Get on your plate as much as you can handle because mishandling social media will end you up in deep waters. If you mishandle social media, you will end up harming your online reputation. Try to make yourself visible as an active member of the social media. This will not only allow you to interact with customers and make them sense personalized attention, it will also allow you to have some control over your reputation.
Join Industry Specific forums
Try to join forums specific to your line of business. Customers try to get information about your image from these forums and try to determine your ranking as compared to your competitors. So, it is a good way of introducing yourself to customers who previously might not have known about you. You can even gain credibility by giving guidelines related to the product or service in your industry. This will enable you to gain reputation and respect in your industry.
Use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Management
Try to gain your position in key search ranking so that there are increased chances of a search engine pointing towards you when a customer searches on the search engine. If you make your online presence strong, it will build your online reputation. So, focus on getting your website and social media sites optimized for search engines and allow the customers to find you easily.
You can use SEO to establish trust amongst your customers by getting those sites ranked, on which you are blogging. If a customer searches your name and is directed towards a well-respected discussion forum with your participation on it, it will allow them to see that you are well respected in the industry. It will ensure them of your presence in the market. Of course, you will have positive words written on your own website or social media sites. In comparison, if a customer is able to see you in a positive light on external sites, it will prove to be even more effective in building your online reputation.
You can even get more advanced, and use SEO to get those sites ranked which have published a positive press release about you. For instance, you can get a site ranked high, which shows a positive product review published in the national press. This can act as a curtain over any other bad reviews published elsewhere.
Dominate The First Pages By Paying To Rank Higher
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is one of the popular ways of effective online advertisement.
You can use PPC for getting two advantages at the cost of one. PPC gets you dual advantages: it will increase your popularity and gain you greater visibility and probability of coming up in a search engine. It will also benefit you by dealing with the possible effects of negative online reviews. The ability of PPC to create hyper-targeted Ad campaigns provides the advantage of using the advert to address online reputation difficulty.
Through a PPC campaign, all you need to do is pay a decided amount each time a customer clicks the Ad related to a key word of phrase. For instance, if you were in the business of selling flowers, you would want that when someone searches for florists in your area of business, your Ad would appear before them. In order to be able to do this, you will decide on keywords such as the name of your area of business and the word florist in the PPC campaign. By doing this, when customers will search for florists in the local area, your Ad will pop up and they can place an order with you.
Due to the effective combination of public relations and advertising, PPC can prove to be an influential means to neutralize or offset the effects of negative reviews and increase business.
Communicate Through Photos And Videos
To create a strong affiliation of customers with your brand, a good technique would be to familiarize customers with the faces working backstage. This way, when customers think of your company they do not picture a building but they picture a personality, just like customers associate late Steve Jobs with Apple and Richard Branson with Virgin. When you create an association of a face with your brand through photographs and videos, customers tend to form stronger bonds and relationship with your business. You can even build online reputation and improve your search engine ranking if you use key words to tag your pictures and videos.
Think Before You Post:
Act responsibly when using social media. If you post carelessly, anyone can take advantage and use your words to damage your online reputation. You might feel annoyed at some post about your business that you feel is unfair or false. You may be tempted to lash out. Remember your words will have consequences so chose your words carefully. How will the readers perceive your words? Will it bring more damage than good to your reputation? It would be a good idea to note down your words and review them once you have calmed down. You will be able to edit your words so that they do not have a negative impact on your reputation. Do not post anything that has the potential of harming your reputation. You goal is to improve, not destroy your image. So do what it takes to achieve your goal.
Above all, stay on top of things.
Use tools such as Google Alerts to remain vigilant of your online reputation. The speed of online communication is difficult to cope with, especially if you have adopted a relaxed attitude towards following the information. Continuously watch your online image so that you are able to react in time when required. This way you will be able to minimize the possible harm to your reputation.
Due to their emotional attachment, companies find it hard to face negative criticism professionally. At times companies do not have enough time and/or resources to follow and manage online reputation. This is not because they do not recognize the importance of managing online reputation. It is because they are busy with day-to-day business. They are not able to find spare time. Running your business and securing your brand, both have to go hand in hand. It takes years to build a positive brand image but it could take just one bad review to damage it. So, you do not want to risk your profits by leaving your brand insecure.
We Can Protect Your Online Reputation
If you give us an opportunity, we can assist you with managing online reputation by creating a positive hype around your brand. We can influence the search engine results of first few pages by using our expertise in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques.
Every company has to be treated differently based on the number of negative reviews they have. You can place your confidence in us that we will have a customized approach of reputation management. This will enable us getting quick and accurate results for your business.