Words spread very quickly online. It’s great if someone is raving about you in a positive way; not so great if the word being spread about you is a derogatory one. Previously when you received a poor service from a solicitor such as poor communication, constantly having to chase them for action, or missed deadlines, you would merely complain to the office manager or the partner. Truth be told, not a lot would happen.
These days you can tell the partner that you will be posting your comment on Yell, Yelp, Qype, Google+ Local, Thomson local or other legal specific review sites as well as on your own social networks complaining about your experience. That should have a far greater influence on the company making positive changes for your situation and also improve things for the better for other clients.
That’s because people trust customer feedback. So, just as glowing recommendations are better than any sales spiel that you have, negative comments and damaging reviews can drive customers away by the bucket load and act like a ticking time bomb for your brand online. If you don’t want your business to suffer then you need to think long and hard about your online reputation management strategy.
Reputation Management is All About Trust!
The way people make their buying decisions has changed and Social and Buzz now play an important role in the marketing mix. We are now more likely to read restaurant or hotel reviews online before booking a table or a hotel, or read book reviews on Amazon before we enter our credit card details.
The power of community and conversation is back, we are now more reliant on recommendations from friends and reviews, just as we were before the internet phenomenon where businesses relied on word of mouth marketing to assist their business growth.
Today we share what we like and dislike and post freely about our good and bad customer experiences. This gives all business owners the opportunity to use good feedback as collateral and negative online business reviews as means for improvement.
So how can you manage your reputation when anyone has the ability to say anything about you even if it is not true? You need to invest the time to find out how your business is positioned online, i.e. what customers are saying about you, and you need to use all the tools available to act fast and limit any lasting damage a negative review about your business could cause.
Reputation Management Top Tips
Optimise a Page on Your Website for Your Company Name
If you optimise a page for your company name or product name then Google should pass authority for that page in the search engines listing meaning your business should be displayed in the top positions.
Create an Online Portfolio
Google likes to provide their users with choice in terms of the media they serve. Therefore think about using video, images, pdf’s and other forms of content optimised for your name to appear in the listings.
Monitor Your Reputation Regularly
Set up a Google Alert for your company and product names. By setting up a Google alert you will be sent an email every time someone mentions your name or whatever search criteria you asked to be alerted about, every time the phrase is mentioned on websites that are in the Google index.
Reach Out to Negative Reviewers
There is only one thing that is worse than a negative review and that is a negative review with no response from the business in question. By ignoring the review it won’t go away, assess the review and respond accordingly, giving the reviewer every opportunity to contact you so you can put the issue right.
Act On the Review
Once you have showed people that you are listening then you need to show people that you care by finding the root cause of the problem. If the review said staff were rude then you need to make it clear to the staff that any further reviews will not be tolerated and to help the staff you may introduce customer service training. If waiting times are unbearable then you need to look at systems or staff in order to improve times. Problems are there for a reason, find out what it is and rectify it so it does not happen again.
Reputation management merely highlights the importance of giving your customers what they need so that, rather than shouting about how you failed them, they shout about how you delighted them and far exceeded their expectations.