The reputation of a business can determine if it succeeds or fails. Sadly, too few business people respect the effort necessary for reputation management. Fortunately, what follows is a compilation of expert tips to help you with the process.
Set realistic expectations with your customers. If you own a small business, let your customers know when you will respond to their questions. If you cannot answer every question immediately, place a banner saying that all questions will be answered within a certain amount of time, such as within 72 hours.
When offering promotions and private sales make sure it is private. This tip can be especially important if a deep discount meant to rectify a problem is involved. You don't need to post what's going on with a complaint and then receive tons of them demanding free stuff from you.
If you are going to use anyone's ideas, you should always make sure to give them credit for that. Everyone out there can learn a little from others, so giving due credit will show people that you don't think you are above that. This is a great way to earn their respect.
Remember that your offline presence also affects your online reputation. This is generally the start of your reputation. People will trust you more if you provide good customer service, offer good products and services, and maintain good relationships with your customer base. Happy customers generally will not post bad reviews, so do what you can to keep them all happy.
Post moderation guidelines on each of your websites and social media sites. By posting guidelines, your visitors will know what is and what is not acceptable responses on your website and social media sites. If someone posts something that is not within the guidelines, remove the post and give an explanation of why the post was removed.
Some people are simply impossible to please reasonably. If you believe your customer has a irrelevant or untruthful complaint, do what you can to make them happy. As a business owner, sometimes you have to suck up your pride and think about how your customer or client is always right.
If you offer a private sale or promotion, keep it private. This is important if you are trying to rectify a bad situation. One tip is to never post the steps you are taking to resolve a particular complaint, because you are bound to get other complaints seeking the same gestures.
You need to plan out your business moves online. You can't just start replying randomly to all of your customer's posts. You need to take some time to plan out how you're going to approach them and what you're going to say. Not doing this may cause some problems for you.
Social media can sometimes seem like it gets out of hand if you're not looking. It can blow up in a good way, but the wrong people can gain access to the wrong things or put something out there that makes you look bad. So, you don't want the liberties of social media showing your business up.
If you want to improve the reputation of your company, consider getting more involved with your community doing volunteer work. Consumers like companies that take social responsibility seriously. By donating your time or money to your local community, you are putting a positive spin on your company's reputation, and customers will see that.
Even if a customer contacts you with an unfounded complaint against your company, be sure not to dismiss his complaint so readily. You should always acknowledge and thank the customer for taking time to contact you. Offer to investigate further. Offer to give him something extra for his troubles. This will lessen the likelihood that he will bad-mouth your business around his social circle.
Check to see if your company is listed on Wikipedia. This is a very good thing for your reputation because Wikipedia entries consistently rank high in the search engines. If your company is not listed, it may be a good idea to find a journalistic writer who can create a Wikipedia entry without bias to write one. You shouldn't write it yourself as this would not present a neutral picture of your company.
If you have a trade organization in your industry, sign up for it. Anyone looking for a company to do business with in your field is likely to use trade organizations as sources for potential leads. Having a membership in professional organizations gives your business credibility. There may be a small fee to pay, but it is worth it.
Without knowledge of reputation management, it is hard to become successful. It can be crippling if you don't know how to shape the opinions of others. Apply these suggestions to ensure that you are not one of those who fall victim to poor reputation management.