Many businesses are directly impacted by customer reviews and opinions put forth online. Local small businesses are in many ways very vulnerable when the barriers between customer exchanges are reduced. The ability to make an impact on others after a less than positive experience is often the motivating factor for the release of negative criticism online. Whether or not you would like for it to be the case, you’re being assessed from every angle, and simply one negative criticism can cause damage to a well-developed reputation. There’s hardly a single business that doesn’t have the occasional issue arise with a customer, but if you’re prepared and have planned for the situation at hand, you can greatly reduce the impact which could otherwise pose a major potential threat.
Small business owners can be in a precarious position if you have not developed proactive management of your online reputation. When something negative has been posted online, whether that is on social media or on any general webpage, it can negatively affect your Google search listing. Your website may appear on the same page that includes the harmful criticism, in turn jeopardizing the credibility of your business. Neglecting these remarks will only make the situation worse. Always remember that no one can damage your reputation as seriously as you can yourself if you are not prepared to handle the situation properly.
Here are some tips when dealing with your online reputation:
1. Be Prompt and Active on Social Media
Be on as many different social media platforms as possible. You will need to develop a strong social media presence with your audience to vouch for your business. This will further extend your influence. It is simply not enough to have these resources without utilizing them to the best of your ability. Remember to accommodate and protect the individuals loyal to your brand. When a negative comment is made about your business, be quick to respond. Don’t try to hide the comment, but express almost instantaneously that you would like to continue the conversation offline. You should apologize and rectify the situation, but not in the public eye.
2. Listen and Respond
When people complain about the product or service you are offering, it’s important to listen and identify potential weak areas in your business. This will not only prevent the issue from reoccurring, but will also allow you to address the problem at hand. Remember that the customer is always right. Find clever and creative ways to provide what is missing to your client so they are satisfied. Remember to genuinely apologize for the mistake. Own up to your shortcomings. This will diffuse transparency, you will seem real and people will trust your business to a greater degree. You will want to try to make amends to the best of your ability so you can resolve the issue at hand before it blows up like wildfire online. You will also want to consider compensation. Remember that it is an investment you’re making to set your business on the right path.