Your online reputation helps build a strong foundation when it comes to potential customers choosing your business over competitors. In fact, according to one survey, 88% of respondents’ purchasing decisions were affected by the positive or negative reviews they read. But if you aren’t doing everything you can to ensure that what’s being said about you online is positive, then you could possibly upset potential customers before they even get to experience your business for themselves.
Here are four telling signs that you need to take a hard look at your business’ reputation before it’s too late.
You haven’t addressed customers’ questions or comments online, ever.
Hopefully, this isn’t the case for your business, and you have addressed critical issues in the past. But in order to maintain a good reputation for your business, you should at least try to acknowledge comments and questions as soon as you see them online, even if you don’t have a complete resolution. A recent survey indicates that of consumers who leave comments for businesses online, 42% expect to get a response at least within an hour. So, in order to show these customers that you are listening, consider setting up alerts for your business name and critical keywords like “complaints” and “reviews” so that you are up to date on any new mentions that matter for your reputation.
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You address your online feedback, but you’re never to blame.
Chances are if nearly every comment about your business online is negative, blaming customers for their own negative experience will only result in more negative feedback, and very bad PR. There are many examples of business owners who cyber-attacked reviewers who by all means had legitimate frustrations about the business, on online review sites. These attempts at justifying bad customer service and bad business practices resulted in more negative reviews from people who would likely never become a customer. So if there’s one thing you should remember about these incidents, it’s that you can’t erase what you write online. The lesson to be learned here is to keep your cool when you see negative reviews, and respond only when you can do so with professionalism and a clear head.
You have a lot of one-time customers.
There are different reasons why customers may do business with you once and not return: for example, if they aren’t from your local area. But if your business doesn’t have loyal customers, then you might have a larger issue at hand. As a business owner, you might not always know the various problems your business is having. But by inspecting your online reputation, you may be able to identify problems that you didn’t know existed. Maybe your online advertisements are dated, creating a false representation of your business. Perhaps your customer service is not up to par. Whatever the case may be, customers are very likely to share negative experiences online, so make sure you know what they are saying and do what you can to fix it.
You have one mad customer whose goal in life is to bring you down.
The saying “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch” can often be applicable to your online reputation. And if you have that one unhappy customer who consistently rants about you online, then you probably understand the phrase a little better. While their continuous complaints may stem from actual problems, the fact that they continue to scorn you online may be a sign that they just really want to be heard. If you have a reviewer like this, ask about the details of their experience and do your best to right the wrong. If anything, this will show other potential customers that you are listening and attempting to make up for any less-than-satisfactory experiences. And remember, while a timely response is important, a professional response is critical.
Have you dealt with any of these situations? What did you do to resolve them? Let us know in a comment!