In 2017 there isn’t much that you can’t do as a business in the “online world.” From running ads on social media to reaching more customers than ever before, your business is a mere click away from your next big account or highest paying client. Being visible online is a crucial part of marketing in the 21st century, and for better or worse, you never know who’s checking you out- virtually speaking.
But for as many possible new customers reading your online social bios, checking your photos and leaving amazing reviews, there are others who “troll”- possibly leaving you with a bad reputation. And while some people think it’s better to just ignore the petty remarks, or unfounded comments, it is actually the exact moment you need to act. The difference between handling a negative remark and leaving it for the whole world to see is actually your business’s reputation on the line.
Handling Negativity Online
Customer service doesn’t start or end when your customers walk through your business’s front door. In fact, with many businesses running a majority of their operations online, your first chance at excellent customer service possibly starts with a virtual ‘hello.’ Using this opportunity to not only be a welcoming and gracious business owner, eager to answer questions and engage in conversation, is a great way to show your customers that you care.
But what about the negative naysayers and Debbie Downers? Believe it or not, this can work in your favor, too- if you play your cards right. The key to turning a complaint into a shining example of customer service is to answer promptly, efficiently and respectfully. By responding with an apology for their experience, a solution for their issue and without trying to make excuses for what went wrong, you are showing that you are truly a stand out company. You may- or may not- be able to bring that customer back, but the truth is, that this goes a long way towards influencing potential new customers that are reading the reviews. This goes for every site from Facebook to Yelp to your website comments; so keeping a pulse on the good and bad reviews- and responding TO THEM ALL- will help your business stay a cut above the rest.
A Wealth of Business Background History
While you can control what information goes on your business website and social channels, the vast amount of information out there is still overwhelming. From review sites to articles that mention your business to blogs unbeknownst to you, everything- and we mean everything- is available online these days, to give your customers a comprehensive picture of who you are, what your business is and the reputation that proceeds it.
Potentially False Information
So we know that keeping your online reputation intact is important- and you’re doing your part by interacting with customers, answering complaints in a proactive way and keeping your social channels full of important and positive business-related information. In truth, managing real life and authentic issues is easier when you have something tangible that you can actually fix. But what happens if disgruntled customers- or even sneaky competitors- decide to have some fun at your expense? The normally beneficial and awe-inspiring online world does have the potential to lead to false information, possibly damaging your reputation.
There are solutions to combat these negative comments, reports or falsified information, however. Addressing the issues, determining their validity and having the information corrected are imperative to maintaining an impeccable reputation. The last step to managing fabricated information is to have it removed from the sites all together. While this process differs from platform to platform, for the most part there are procedures in place to ensure that misleading and damaging information is gone for good.
Don’t shy away from the catch-22 of the online world. For the few pitfalls it may have, the wealth of actual information and accessibility to current- and potential- customers is a no brainer for businesses. Knowing how to look for negative feedback, verifying and addressing the issues and making the most of the social aspects will help you maintain a reputation that is full of integrity and dedication to your clients.
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It’s amazing how fast one negative review, or fabricated comment from a disgruntled troll, can put your reputation in a tailspin. Before you know it, you’re spending most of your day arguing with a person behind a screen, on hold with customer service robots trying to have the comment removed and banging your head against a wall because of the amount of times this review has been seen- or worse… liked! This isn’t where you shine as a business owner, and it definitely doesn’t sound like you’re doing yourself any favors by being emotionally invested. Leave the reputation management to professionals, like us at 2Ten Marketing, who specialize in building, maintaining and fixing your online reputation for the world to see.
Let's work on that reputation of yours!