Some things never change. And one of them is the importance of good worth of mouth advertising. A good reputation amongst your pool of consumers can make the difference in profitability or the poorhouse.
In a pre-internet world, a bad review or experience could take a while to make the rounds before it had any real effect. However these days, we are blessed with the ability to share our views and complaints instantly, and that’s why you need to be extremely proactive when it comes to managing your online reputation. One bad review mishandled can have a magnified effect that can a long time to reverse, if it can be at all.
A look at the numbers…
Don’t think it’s all that important? Let’s take a quick look at the numbers.
Here are some sobering statistics:
72 percent of consumers report that they regularly investigate companies through social channels before making purchases (Cone Communications)
59 percent will use social media sites to air their frustrations about your customer service (Cone Communications)
89 percent of consumers are of the belief that these online channels are trustworthy sources (Society for Communications Research)
80 percent changed their minds about purchasing after reading a negative comment or review (Society for Communications Research)
Now that we have your attention as to how bad online reviews can hurt your business, let’s look at 3 ways to head them off at the pass!
Make stellar customer service a priority
Probably the most important thing you can do to make a difference is to take customer service very seriously. You may think you do that, but in a world where a negative review can be shared thousands of times in a few hours, taking a week or so to try and rectify the problem could be the death knell you hear ringing. Contact the customer, privately if possible, (most review channels like Yelp have this facility) and subjugate your ego. The customer is always right, especially when they can do so much harm.
Encourage and reward positive reviews
You can’t please all the people all the time, and one of the best ways to help negate the effect of the occasional poor review is by encouraging and rewarding good reviews from your happy customers. This has several benefits, among them creating a positive culture surrounding your online persona, as well as by pushing the negative reviews further down the search results, where they most likely won’t be seen. You might even go so far as to social bookmark positive reviews, giving them links that the negative reviews won’t have.
If you’ve done all you can do and the customer still won’t amend their review, you can make a public entry to state your side. Use this wisely, and only to present the facts. Don’t flame, and don’t use this as a way to appear as anything but humble. Just the facts, Ma’am. Getting defensive and unprofessional will only make the situation far worse.
Make it your business to deal with your online reputation just as diligently as you would any other aspect of your business. It’s that important!