Wow, how times have changed! Googling on smartphones, sharing opinions on social media and reading online review sites all play a large part in who your customers are, and what they’re expecting from your business.
As a business owner, it’s important to keep up with these changes, especially when it comes to monitoring your online reputation. Maintaining a great online reputation can seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think.
Check out these three simple ways to maintain, improve and leverage your online reputation to capture new business.
Monitor Online Reviews & Respond
Set aside a designated slot of time each day (or week) to look into your online reputation. Check review sites, your website, social media profiles and Q & A sites like Yahoo! Answers for any customer feedback, reviews or comments. This alone will help you keep a finger on the pulse of your customers’ satisfaction level. If you know what they’re saying, you’ll know where to make improvements. Go beyond monitoring and respond to customers on these mediums, as well, by answering questions and thanking customers for positive reviews or comments.
Use Positive Feedback as Marketing Material
Did you discover a great review of your business? Use that to reel in more customers. With permission from the original customer, incorporate that review into your marketing materials. Post their review on your website, social media profiles, or even put it on your direct mailers. Using positive customer reviews in your marketing materials can help your business establish credibility.
Handle Negative Feedback Properly
Occasionally you may come across a negative review of your company. That’s ok. You actually have an opportunity to turn the situation around and gain that customer back. You might even get new customers as a result of properly handling a negative review. Follow these tips:
- Be Timely. Craft a helpful response that tries to rectify the situation, and do it quickly. The shorter time between comment and response, the better.
- Be Calm. Now is not the time to get defensive. Present a calm, non-defensive and understanding response throughout your interactions with the customer.
- Get offline. Attempt to take the discussion with the customer offline. Give them your phone number or invite them to come by your business. So much can get lost in translation online, so a phone call or face-to-face meeting can do wonders at smoothing things over.
- Leave it alone. If you have tried to turn the unhappy customer’s experience around with no success, know when to cut your losses and leave it alone. The last thing you want is for your interaction to turn into an ongoing argument. Ultimately, one or two less-than-glowing reviews won’t hurt you in the long run. Focus on getting good ones to show the real you.
How do you make your online reputation work for your offline small business?