Recently, I had a customer come to me asking about some reviews people had left for them on Google. It seems their competition had left a false review on Google.
In today’s world, businesses have to worry about more than bad word of mouth. Anyone can go online and write a review that damages your reputation – whether they have a legitimate issue or not. With over 90% of searches for local goods and services starting in a search engine, and those reviews being posted right next to your contact information in the search engine, this can be huge for your business. Let me give you a few steps to maintain a positive online reputation.
- GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE – I have had bad customers. They are rare, but I have had them. In one such instance, an established customer (we’ll call them customer A) referred me to a new customer (we’ll call them customer B). Customer B was gruff on the phone and less than helpful. They hired me to manage their website and help with SEO (including online reputation management). This customer refused to deal with their online reputation (which was very negative). I began to realize that his online reputation was a reflection of how he treated his customers. He may have been great at what he did, and he may have had great prices, but he wasn’t good with people. After a year, in which I built him a new responsive website and got him on the first page of Google for his keywords – I chose not to renew my services with him. I fired Customer B because he wouldn’t deal with his online reputation. Customer B then contacted Customer A and basically told him how horrible I was and leaned on Customer A to fire me. Customer A knew that customer B was a bit of a jerk and knew that I gave him the best customer service he had ever experienced from someone in my industry. Customer A continues to be one of my best customers to this day.
MORAL – Great Customer Service – treating people right, doing business by the Golden Rule, will win out in the end.
- HANDLE YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION – Here are a few tips:
If you don’t have time for this – hire someone. Yes, it is that important.
Make sure to respond to every review that you can – positive and negative.
When dealing with negative reviews – don’t take it personally. Focus on the issue and resolving it if possible. If you are being harassed by someone (competitor or disgruntled customer or whoever) take it up with the company hosting the review. Chances are they have a way to resolve the issue.
Check your reviews at least monthly.
Listen to your customers. Do they have legitimate points? Do you need to make some changes?
MORAL – If you don’t handle your online reputation, someone else will.
- BUILD A SOLID BRAND – This point can’t be overstated. Not so long ago a documentary was made about a well established hamburger joint. You probably heard about it. And no doubt you know the hamburger joint. This documentary would have sunk a lesser brand. But, although the hamburger joint made some changes, their brand continues to serve millions of people all around the globe today. Solid branding is worth its weight in gold.
Some of you may be asking what is branding? For now, let me say it this way – taking your business message and making sure it is consistently and clearly delivered.
Entrepreneur.com defines it as: The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products . (My issue with this definition is it ties the concept of branding to what other people are doing – and it shouldn’t be.)
MORAL – A solid brand will weather many storms.
- QUALITY MARKETING – Whenever a new business opens in my area, I ask around to see what people think. Sometimes I get mixed reviews. So, I go online and checkout their website. This usually makes up my mind for me. When I go on a website that is well designed and maintained, with videos (a commercial or instructional videos) and updated social media – I know that this business cares about potential customers. Its as if they are hanging a sign on their virtual storefront that says, “Yes. We want your business!”
And the opposite is true – if they have no website or a business card website that has limited information – they just told me, “Keep looking, because we don’t really have it together yet.”
MORAL – Quality marketing efforts tell their own story.
These are not conclusive, however they are a great start.
As always if you would like more information on this subject, or would like help with any of these services, please let us know. Thanks!