You can only make a first impression once. That’s a common sentiment held by business owners and their managers when describing the need for great customer service. And, it’s true. If your business delivers amazing customer service, that will result in returning customers and great buzz. However, if a customer feels neglected or slighted, they might not come back and they might share their story with other consumers.
Businesses use to only have to worry about bad word of mouth reviews. In the digital age, a business needs to be aware of their positive and negative reviews online too. Finding out about negative reviews and working to restore consumer faith in your business is a struggle every business owner will battle. Finding and dealing with these posts is called reputation management.
Here are four ways you can start managing your online reputation.
1) Set up a Google Alert
Did you know Google has a system in place that will allow you to receive updates on anything you find interesting? Google Alerts may be one of the most useful tools the internet giant provides. You ask to be updated any time a term or phrase is found online and Google sends you an email with a link to the web page when your search request is used.
In typical Google fashion, creating an alert is also extremely easy. Go to https://www.google.com/alerts. Write the word or phrase you want to look for. Click on the “Show Options” button and select the parameters for the search. When would you like updates sent to you? What languages would you like to search in? What region would you like to look in? How many results would you like to receive? Once you’ve selected these click “Create Alert” and you’ll immediately start receiving updates whenever Google finds your search results online.
2) Check Your Facebook and Twitter Account
Creating social media accounts for your business is a necessity in today’s digital marketplace. It allows you to communicate and engage with customers instantly. You can update them about new products and promotions. You can share fun videos and photos that shows your company’s personality. It also allows the public to interact with you.
Of course, every business strives to be a part of positive customer engagement. However, people are more likely to share a bad customer review than a good one, which is a shame. Always check your Facebook and Twitter notifications to see if you can find these negative comments. The faster you can find out what people didn’t like about your business, the faster you can act to change their opinion. Always reach out and see if you can help them. Not only will you be able to help your relationship with that customer, but other consumers will see you are attentive too.
3. Check Online Review Sites
It’s great to receive notifications from Google or social media sites, but sometimes you need to do some novice detective work. Visit ratings sites like “Yelp” or “Angie’s List” to see what customer are saying about you.
If you haven’t claimed or built a business profile on these sites, start one. Creating an official account allows you the opportunity react and communicate with customers. Also, encourage customers to visit these sites and post positive reviews too. That way future customers can measure the good reviews against the bad ones.
4. Moderate Comments
If your website or blog allows customers to comment on posts, products, or promotions, make sure you are keeping an eye on what’s being written. It’s very easy to let comment notifications go ignored in your email inbox, but those notifications serve a purpose. They let you know if your website’s comment system is being abused or spam.
I’m not referring to negative or critical reviews, but the comments that can be full of vulgarity, nonsense, or other bloggers looking to spread information about their product on your site. Having an unmoderated comment section makes it appear that you don’t care what people write on your website. That can make a future consumer wary of trusting your business. There are tools you can use to help block comments that are vulgar or advertisements for other businesses.
One thing to keep in mind about the 21st century shopper, is that they want to trust the brand they do business with. They know that we all have bad days, and that one bad reviews doesn’t mean that your business doesn’t treat customers without respect. When they read Tweets, Facebook messages, online reviews, and comments they don’t want to see you defending yourself, they want to to see transparency. They want to see you making an active attempt to try and fix the situation. This shows your attention to detail and your desire to run the best business possible.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.