Reputation Management Conveying Your Business Image Through Online Reviews

All successful businesses rely on customer satisfaction and subsequent feedback they receive from their target audience. Ideally, owners and sales representatives will want to focus on consumer reviews and use them to create or evolve the goals of the company.

As you know, the end goal for every business should be delivering a pleasant and profitable experience to their consumer base. In today’s era of smartphones and automated services, it’s easy for companies to forget what quality customer service used to be like. From the buyer’s perspective, it is just as simple to access a website like Yelp or Google and leave a lasting impression on your company; whether it’s negative or positive.

What about the negative?
In the case of negative reviews, you want to manage them in such a way that they’re simply a “drop in the bucket.” Having a handful of negative reviews can add up quickly if you don’t have enough positive ones to balance them out. If you notice a negative comment left by someone you believe to be a rival outfit or disgruntled employee, don’t wait to address the situation. Most websites that provide review services also have claims dispute options. As a business owner, you should maintain a professional attitude and remember to provide proof of your suspicion.

“The customer is always right” seems like a repetitive statement, but in most cases it can be true. If the reviews written are not from a malicious source, listen to their advice. Turning a negative situation into a positive one is the most effective way to help improve your company and prevent the mistake from happening again. Reach out to the person who wrote it, if they have left any contact information on their profile. Phone calls and emails work best, as they provide a more personal and up-front approach. Ask them about their side of the problem; do not try to talk them down or cut them off.

A classic example of incorrect reputation management is Amy’s Baking Company, which was the focal point in two episodes of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Instead of reaching out to their diners, the owners insulted their customers through the review sites and through social media. Their bad habits grew into an inability to see their faults and they even began physically attacking people inside of their restaurant. The business has since been closed after years of bad publicity in 2015.

Turning Positive
After hearing what your unhappy customer has to say, try implementing what they have suggested in your everyday routine. This should be taken seriously if you have many people complaining of the same issue. Oftentimes, these issues can be problems with your employees’ attitude or a part of the ‘working machine’ that is overcomplicated or unnecessary. Remember to base your company off of strong personal interaction; consumers vastly prefer dealing with other humans rather than automated services.

One final thing to keep in mind for a successful business is to keep a vibrant social media presence. In the age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, people constantly look to these sites to gain some sort of idea about what your company represents. It also allows them to find other important information like your location, times of operation, and how to contact you. These social outlets can also be another way for consumers to access reviews and give you their personal opinion about their experience.