Why “Reputation” is The New Buzz Word for Businesses
First of all, to dispel any notions, bad advice, trickery or pure BS, no one can get rid of a bad review online that appears on a third party website, period. What can be done to legitimately and ethically combat them is to have a strategic Reputation Management Plan in force for your business, whether a Fortune 500 or a small enterprise.
Prior to the digital media and smart phone era of today, the 800lb gorilla for business reviews or evaluating business “trust” factor was the the Better Business Bureau (BBB). A consumer protection and business self-industry regulation non-profit organization founded in 1912.
In keeping up with the times, today the BBB operates entirely online. It collects business information and provides free business reviews on more than 4 million businesses to over 124 million consumer requests. In effect making the BBB’s website rank among the top 1,000 most visited websites in the United States.
In essence the BBB today operates, as is did when it began in 1912, in the realm of offering business reputation and reviews to consumers. If a business fails in whatever matter to live up to certain standards then it receives a not-so favorable rating from them.
While the BBB still has recognition and a force with the growth of social media and an explosion of online crowd-sourced review services/sites (e.g., Yelp, Yahoo!, Facebook, Google My Business, Angie’s List, Amazon, Consumer Reports, etc.) it is super-easy for happy customers to give you a thumbs up and just a easy for disgruntled consumers or, in some nefarious cases, competitors to give a business the thumbs down with a bad review. Collect too many of them online and BAM you’ve got problems!
So now consumers can find out the ins and outs, thoughts, opinions, and experiences of businesses or services frequented previously by others.
Welcome to the world of online reviews and reputation. These insights and “reviews” can be very telling, informative, positive, or i other cases can easily become a deterrent, problematic and very negative for a businesses viability.
Therefore, whether you are a C-level manager of a Fortune 100 or an entrepreneur of a small business enterprise you must have a pulse on the online reputation of your company.
These are the 5 critical reasons your company should consult with a marketing or reputation management consultant in regards to the management and clean-up of your reputation. Sort of like when a politician or public-figure is caught in a bad situation or dilemma and they run to a public relations firm to help them deal with the bad press and public sentiment. As a business owner you need to have someone in your corner ready to help defend and clean up a mess from bad reviews.
1. Reputation management builds credibility and trust.
How can you show a potential customer that you’re the trustworthy business that they’ve been searching for? Being active and prompt on review websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, and more, shows that you take customer service seriously. Don’t be the proverbial ostrich and stick your head in the ground ignoring what’s happening around.
Even if it’s a less than a 5-star review, you must publicly demonstrate your concern by replying to them. It gives you the opportunity to fix a bad experience and publicly show others that you’re willing to go above and beyond for customers by offering a discount to the unhappy reviewer. Bad reviews happen, it’s best to be ahead of them and use them to build trust with consumers.
2. To constantly monitor your public profile, image and persona.
The public image of your business can shape the way you’re perceived from others, even if it isn’t the most accurate representation. If you aren’t constantly monitoring your online presence, then you have no control over what’s being said. In order to build the brand image you think fits your business, you have to be willing to work for it.
3. Reputation management lets you observe competitors.
Don’t you wish you could know what your biggest competitors are saying about you? There’s a large chance you can, by simply being active on review websites. It’s not hard to spot a disgruntled person who’s leaving comments directing other to their business instead of yours. Having reputation management allows you to catch these people and set the record straight.
4. Keep up the image of your brand or service.
Nobody is perfect, and it’s rare to have a flawless online image. The choice to be proactive about how you’re perceived, and actually choose to run your business, will resonate with the online community.
Use negative reviews as a constructive way to better your business and publicly let others know you’re taking steps to better customer experience. Most people will value the fact that you take their opinions to heart and in turn bring more business to you.
In the digital age, the Internet rules. Don’t ignore it, don’t pretend it’s a fad that will go away and don’t let a situation fester. You have the ability to increase your sales, better your customer service, and gain insights into your consumers.
5. It Allows you to be Proactive and in control of your Reputation.
Just like you need to be making sure your customers, clients or patients are giving you stellar reviews and making sure there is’s an EASY process to post reviews for you. You also need to be vigilant, diligent and protective of your online business and professional reputation. Whether a multinational involved with a problem product, a hospital involved with a lawsuit or a plumber with bad reviews, you must be proactive!
Reputation management requires time and strategic approaches to solve. It requires experience. If you want to have a ‘Schakadelic’ 2 Thumbs Up Reputation, get more serious and proactive about your online presence consult with a professional internet marketing management consulting team!