Reputation management is central to any businesses online success. Most businesses often see reputation management as a cleaning drive, where you ward off the negative and hope to have a positive image online. But then, there’s more to it. In fact, it’s more about ensuring that you are prepared against any reputation crisis your business may face. For instance, if you have a unhappy customer and they post negative review on Google Places listing, and this review is found by a prospective customer who may be looking to hire your services, it could have a negative impact on their decision to engage with your business. Even one such review can make you look bad online, driving the customers away. Does that mean if you remove the reviews, the customers would come back? First things first; it’s not easy (and in many cases, not possible) to remove the reviews that have already been posted.
So, if you want to achieve online success, review removal is not the right approach. However, responding to the review, showing genuine concern to resolving the customers’ issues will be more helpful. You have to be very careful about how your response projects you in front of the prospective customers who may read the review and your response to the review. For starters, if you lose your cool or try to prove that the customers are wrong and you are right, you will make the matter worse. You need to remain calm and composed, address the issues, if any, apologise for anything that may have gone wrong and work with them in resolving the issue. When your prospective customers see that you made a mistake but also made an honest effort to resolve the issue, they will be more than willing to give you a chance. However, if the review is the work of a cyber-bully you are better off leaving the review alone and not responding.
Businesses that engage in pro-active online reputation management will always directly engage their customers through different channels like blogging and social media. You need to give your customers a chance to vent. Tell them (and also support with your actions) that you care about them and if you make a mistake you are more than happy to resolve the issue with them. You are the first one they should contact if they have a problem. It is preferable that they contact you if they are not happy with your product or service rather than venting their anger on Social Media channels that you have no control on.
Every small business must find a way to engage with their customers online and must communicate to them that they want to listen to their customers. Customers should feel that the business has a genuine concern for any problems they face and is keen to resolve those issues. This will lower the risk of a customer venting their anger online.