Reputation management isn’t just a simple buzz word for marketing and social media types to extract cash from troubled businesses. In the world of online business, reputation matters. I have spoken to restaurant and hotel owners who are almost scarred by their most recent encounters with a Trip Advisor review or a spiteful attack on their Facebook page. Mike Blumenthal gives the issue a third degree going over in his blog.
Reputation management, at its most basic level, simply involves encouraging more of the positive to show up. However, too many businesses just leave that to chance. The unwanted negativity stays in view for far too long exerting a corrosive effect on your visitors, while some well loved companies simply never move beyond the two stale reviews they picked up 5 years ago. This is a significant mistake as the lack of social proof can now undermine your efforts to get your main website ranked for local searches.
How many reviews and testimonials have you generated in recent months? How many have you actually tried to encourage? Like the marketing text books say, the best advertising is good old word of mouth and if you can translate that into “word of mouse” and have those positive words appearing on your web site, then some new ones on a Google Plus Local listing… with a smattering through the directory and business listing sites that have proven to be so powerful for local online marketing then you are a long way towards being able to limit the damage, from a negative review.
It’s worth bearing in mind that in terms of ranking in search engine results, a bad review is sometimes better than no reviews: as it shows that there is something happening at the business. The real poison though is that it obviously colours the opinion of visitors to your website or listings. So what’s to be done? Lots… is the simple answer!
Developing a system which encourages the happy customers to drip feed those good vibrations into your business will soon drown out the chatter from a few malcontents. Malcontents? Supposing the complainer has got a real grievance and isn’t just trying to screw something out of your business? Well it happens to us all. The reputation manager will take the approach of responding first of all to the individual’s problem and where appropriate also responding online to the complaint. Always doing so in a professional manner, even when you and the client cannot agree comfortably is the way you can show how seriously you take customer service.
Most consumers and customers know that… “you can’t please all the people all of the time!”… to pinch a well known saying. They are mostly fairly adept at smelling a rat planted by an underhand rival or a purely spiteful review, from one of those Trolls that are lurking in the online ecosystem. So how are you going to improve your odds of picking up good vibrations and boosting your reputation online?
At Consulting Cumbria Ltd we think we have come up with a simple economical system that can increase the rate that businesses attract customer’s reviews. It doesn’t involve anything that’s dodgy or outside of search engine guidelines. Contact us to find out more.