Your online reputation is more important to your business than ever before. As social media continues to quickly evolve, your reputation can easily suffer at the whims of trolls or even just one angry customer who didn’t have a good day when they interacted with you. You may have thousands of happy customers, but if they’re not backing you up, that one angry person can have a very damaging effect on what potential customers think of you. You could lose nearly 30 potential customers just from that one bad review. And it takes about 40+ happy customer reviews to cancel it out. Maybe you’ve even experienced this yourself and are wondering what you can do to stop the revenue bleeding. It’s important, first of all, to know where you’re making mistakes so that you can correct them. These are the top 10 worst online reputation management blunders that can cause you the most damage:
1. Not Tracking Your Online Reviews
First of all, you can’t possibly fix a reputation problem if you’re not paying attention to it. And yet, so many businesses don’t devote any resources to monitoring online reviews at all. One bad review might sit out there on Yelp or Google Reviews for months before anyone in your office sees it and deals with it. By that time, your reputation has soured with potential customers and the one angry customer who posted it will never speak to you again. To solve this problem, make sure you’re using an online reputation management tool like Reputation Builder that automatically tracks your online reviews and alerts you when new ones go live. If there’s a negative review out there, you’ll get quick notification and you can promptly deal with it. If you handle negative reviews the right way, in fact, you may even win a fan for life, with more fans to follow.
2. Ignoring Bad Reviews
The perception online when you ignore a bad review (whether you just didn’t know about it because you weren’t monitoring your reviews, or because you didn’t feel like responding) is that you don’t care about your customers. This is what potential customers think as they watch you interact (or not) with the person who wrote the negative review in the first place. It’s absolutely critical to respond as quickly, personally and positively as possible to every negative review. Hopefully you don’t have that many, but each one needs to be addressed—correctly and promptly. Reputation Builder can also help here because the “Feedback First” tool captures feedback (negative or positive) at the point of sale or transaction, while you are still with the customer. That way, you can thank your customer for a 5-star review, or you can help the unhappy customer to have a better experience, which can prevent a negative review from ever happening in the first place.
3. Posting Fake Reviews
Some businesses out there have given in to the temptation to generate fake positive reviews to either drown out negative reviews or make themselves look better artificially. This never ends well. First of all, search engines like Google have very clever algorithms that can sniff out fake reviews, which will then lead to a loss of SEO ranking. In other words, when a customer searches for your product or service, your competition will be more likely to go to the top of the list, while you fall to the bottom, and therefore, become invisible to potential customers. Worse still, today’s customers are savvy. They know about fake reviews and can generally figure out which ones are legit, and which ones aren’t. This directly damages your reputation with potential and current customers. The best thing to do is honestly collect real, genuine positive feedback from actual customers. Not only will you rank high in authenticity and improve your SEO standing, but regularly requesting feedback from your customers gives you valuable data that can help you improve your business.
4. Not Actively Asking for Feedback
It can be hard to always remember to ask every single customer for feedback during every transaction. But it’s absolutely necessary if you want to build that honest-to-goodness cache of 5-star reviews that will show your real reputation and boost your SEO online. This is where Online Reputation Management Software like ReputationBuilder gives you an edge. With a few simple taps at the point of sale or transaction, it will automatically request feedback, either via your kiosk or by sending an email or text - whatever you know works best for your customers. This helps you in two ways. First, by automatically reminding customers to share their good experiences, and second, by helping you catch a customer who’s not having a good experience so that you can intervene to make things better.
5. Not Keeping Online Directory Listings Up-to-Date
If your business moved, changed phone numbers, added social media listings or made any kind of changes that could impact the way customers find you, it’s critical to make sure that these changes are all correctly reflected on all of the online business directories that you’re listed in. First of all, you want it to be as easy as possible for people to find your business and get in touch with you. Second of all, incorrect or confusing listings are a surprising sleeper cause of a great many negative reviews! One simple way to avoid negative reviews is simply to keep all of your information across channels up-to-date and correct.
6. A Lack of Consistency
There are several aspects of consistency that your online followers or potential customers want from you. First, they want a consistently high-quality product or service. But they also want consistent branding and consistent messaging across all of your social media channels. Psychologically, people’s brains like consistency, and when they see a company that is consistent in its messaging and branding, this builds trust. If you’re all over the place with branding and messaging, it will damage your ability to gain that trust.
One other critical way to maintain consistency is to update your content and post new material on a regular, frequent basis. With social media, your posts can disappear from one day to the next, which is why you need to make sure you’re posting regularly.
7. Ignoring Social Media
Speaking of social media, you cannot ignore it and expect to bolster your online reputation. Your customers and potential customers are hanging out on social media and following influencers and brands that are important to them. If you’re not putting yourself out there, you’re risking invisibility. Even if you have a profile on several social media platforms, if you don’t check them and post regularly, you may miss customers who are trying to contact you through those channels. If they get no response, they’ll go elsewhere.
Read also negative impact of social media on business.
8. Not Having a Strategy for Responding to Negative Online Reviews
Ignoring negative online reviews is a huge mistake. The other huge mistake is reacting the wrong way to a negative review. If you lash out, blame the customer or write an aggressive (or passive-aggressive) response, you are not only alienating that one customer, but you’ll also alienate all of the other potential customers who are most certainly watching how you react under pressure. In general, you want to respond promptly (within 24 hours), but only after you’ve had a chance to calm down. Better yet, have a strategy for dealing with bad reviews that can be tailored to each individual customer’s situation. This can take some of the stress out of handling a negative review. When you respond positively, show sincere willingness to make things right and then follow through on that promise, you will more than likely gain a life-long fan and show anyone looking on what a real professional you are.
9. Tossing Out Canned Responses
Another way to lose reputation points fast is to just send canned responses to any inquiries on social media or when dealing with a negative (or even positive) review. Although it can take a little extra time, the investment is more than worth building a good customer relationship, especially when you’re building those relationships in the glare of social media lights where other potential customers are watching. When a customer has a question, respond quickly and helpfully. If they have a concern, do the same. If someone raves about your awesome products and customer service, a humble and grateful “Thank you!” should follow. Be honest, authentic and personal.
10. Not Getting Help from an Online Reputation Management Professional
The fact is, avoiding all of these mistakes takes a lot of time, effort, strategy and expertise, some of which may be out of your wheelhouse. You need to focus on doing what you do best creating products, services and customer service that keeps your clients coming back for more. While you work on that, get a professional to help with your online reputation management. Sign up today for Reputation Builder and get easy-to-use, extremely-affordable, highly-effective reputation management tools that you can control with just a few taps and no steep learning curve. We are here to help: Reputation Builder works!