Does your business have a reputation strategy? If you think that only large brands need to worry about their reputation, you’re mistaken. Today, businesses of all sizes must be concerned about what their customers are saying about them. Whether you have a restaurant, spa, dental office, pet supply store or any other kind of business, you need to diligently monitor reviews, comments on social media and other content that affects your reputation.
In my own business, I provide marketing services to many types of businesses. I often tell my clients that when you plan your marketing strategy you should also consider how everything you do reflects on your reputation. Naturally, this includes the quality of your products and your customer service as well. A sterling reputation can carry you far and help you build your business quickly. A poor reputation, on the other hand, can be fatal. Let’s look at some innovative ways to build a strong reputation. Building and maintaining your reputation is more complex than it first appears. If you have the attitude that all you have to do is provide great products and customer service, you leave yourself open to problems. Below are some of the key areas to consider for creating an effective strategy for reputation management.
Monitor Online Reviews And Comments
Every business needs to track online reviews as well as comments on social media sites, forums or anywhere customers may be talking about you. The simplest way to do this is to set a Google Alert for your business name. You can also use more advanced reputation management or social listening tools. If you aren’t already listed on review sites such as Google and Yelp, make sure you set up accounts. On Google, for example, you need to claim your listing on Google My Business. This not only lets people review you, it makes it easier for them to find you on Google Maps.
It’s a good idea to respond to reviews and comments. You always want to address complaints even if it’s uncomfortable to do so. Not all negative reviews are fair or even rational. Some are written by impossible-to-please customers. Others could even be placed by unscrupulous competitors. In some cases, you can point out that you have no record of a customer’s order. Never get into arguments with customers. No matter how rude the comments, always respond in a reasonable manner. Remember, you’re a public business and have a lot more to lose than a relatively anonymous customer posting a review.
Also, don’t forget to thank people for leaving positive reviews. I see some businesses that only answer negative reviews. While you need to address complaints, you also want to show your appreciation when you receive compliments. Take the time to comment on all reviews even if it’s only a brief: “Thanks, we look forward to seeing you again!”
Your Marketing And Content Affect Your Reputation
Reputation management overlaps with the fields of marketing, PR and brand management. All of these have an impact on your public image. You may have noticed brands getting into trouble by offending people with insensitive ads or inappropriate tweets or other social media content. Your ads, blog posts, tweets, videos and everything else you publish all contribute to your public image and reputation.