As any business owner knows, reviews can make or break your reputation. This is particularly true if you have an online presence. People love to make comments about businesses and websites on forums, blogs, review sites, and even online directories. While it may be great to read all the positive things people have to say about you, the negative comments can hurt. In addition, they can be extremely damaging to your business if they are not handled properly. Online reputation management is all about taking those negative comments and making them work for your business.
The first thing to do when you come across a bad review or negative comment is to stop and think before reacting. There is no need to panic or get defensive, as this may only hurt your business more in the long run. Take a few moments to think about what the reviewer is trying to say, and think about how you can rectify the problem.
Realize that the majority of people who leave negative reviews do so because they have actually experienced a difficulty with your product or services. Do not just assume that people are trying to sabotage you. Take your clients seriously, and address their concerns accordingly. Never simply delete a negative comment as this will just look shady to other readers online.
Try to think of what the client’s problem was and how you can provide a solution. Come up with a plan of action for how to fix the situation. Once you have done this, you can respond to the client. Express your regret that the client was dissatisfied, and suggest your solution to the problem. By responding quickly to the situation and offering a solution, other clients and potential customers will see that you care about their concerns.
Once you have communicated with the client and suggested a solution, act on that solution. Do not make empty promises, as this will damage your reputation even more. Remember also that if one client experiences a problem, there may be many others who had the same problem, but just did not voice it online.
One way to improve your online presence is with social networking media. Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Digg to increase your fan base and create interest in your website and business. The more fans and followers you have, the less impact negative comments or complaints will have on your overall online reputation.
Finally, use a service that allows you to monitor when people leave comments about you. Google Alerts is a great tool that will let you know whenever someone mentions you or your business online. This way you can respond to comments and complaints immediately, before they get out of hand.
No matter what type of business you have, you are bound to get both positive and negative comments from your clients. Online reputation management techniques can help you make the most out of negative feedback, and improve your business; online presence, credibility, and popularity.