Do you know what your reputation is?
As a business owner, your reputation is your most valuable asset. No matter the size of your store, it is important for your brand and business to be known for reliable, trustworthy services. Maintaining your reputation is important for securing new customers and keeping existing ones. As more areas of our life move online, it’s increasingly important for businesses to take a proactive approach to building your brand both online and in-person.
- 97% of consumers use the internet when researching local products and services.(BIA/Kelsey)
- 98% of searchers choose a business that is on page 1 of the results they get and
- 88% of consumers consult online reviews before they purchase local services. (BrightLocal , Local Consumer Review Survey)
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (BrightLocal , Local Consumer Review Survey)
What can you do to manage your online reputation?
I. Understand Reputation Management
The first thing you need to do is understand what reputation management is. Anything that you do to shape public perception of your business or brand is reputation management. You should also understand the consequences of a bad reputation:
- Businesses lose 70% of customers when 4 or more negative reviews are found online
- 41% of companies that experience a negative reputation incident report a loss of brand value and revenue
II. Dispute Resolution
Knowing how to quickly and professionally resolve any disputes that arise is key to the success of any reputation management strategy. It is likely that your business will come across a disgruntled customer from time to time, so if there is a dispute resolution policy in place which clearly outlines how to tackle such situations, the matter is more likely to be resolved quickly with minimal damage to your business’s reputation.
III. Staff Training
Your employees are the face of your business, so if they aren’t trained properly in customer service, dispute resolution and your core brand values, they might not be representing your business in the best possible way. By implementing engaging staff training sessions and including a social media usage policy within your employees contracts, you can minimize any unintentional harm staff members might do to your brands reputation.
IV. Online Reviews
When you consider that 88% of consumers do online research before they make a purchase, it’s clear to see that the world wide web is one place every business owner needs to protect their reputation. Whether it’s on social media, review sites like Yelp.com, Google.com or on forums, you have to address what is being said about your business online. Here are a few tips for successful online reputation management:
- Use Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your business online
- Respond to reviews on social media and review sites, whether they are good or bad
- Avoid confrontation online, try to take the discussion offline
- Ask happy customers to review you online
- Get involved with forums. Answer questions and become the thought leader in your industry
By getting proactive and following these steps, your reputation is sure to flourish. This isn’t, however, a strategy you can do once and forget about. It is an ongoing process which needs constant attention.
Need some advice regarding Reputation Management? Give Freshley Digital a call today!