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In the present age, customers know what their value is. They’re very well aware of the fact that they’re the reason a particular business is booming. And for this very reason, companies have started to invest their time and budget to deliver good customer service.
Happy customers are equivalent to a booming business.
Today, almost every business has made its way online. They’ve started to facilitate their customers as much as they possibly can, including a comfortable brand experience from the comfort of their homes. Customers are a lot smarter today. Before they invest in any brand, they go through customer reviews to make sure they aren’t in for any surprises.
And the one thing that every business dreads is a bad online reputation. One bad review and you lose a potential customer. As Warren Buffet’s famous statement goes – It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it and couldn’t be truer.
It’s absolutely necessary for a business to work on its online reputation. They’ve got to ensure that everything is on point – from the customer service to product delivery to product quality. It’s essential that a business doesn’t leave a loophole that can lead to a bad review.
Maintaining a positive online reputation is a must – especially today when the competition is so aggressively tough. If you want to know how you can maintain a positive online reputation, you’ve come to the right place. This is exactly what we’ll be discussing in this blog post.
Be as Transparent as You Can
As much as it sounds difficult, being transparent in your policies will always keep you in a good light. No business can be all perfect. There will always be an area where a business struggles, and that often becomes a reason why they get negative reviews from their customers.
A business may not be very efficient and punctual with their shipment and deliveries, or they might not entertain refund or exchange requests or may not offer 24-hour customer support. Businesses assume that if they put their weaknesses out in public, they’ll lose potential customers. What they don’t realize is that they might bag a sale today, but if a customer experiences any of their weakness, they won’t come back and may even post a bad review, which can be detrimental for your business in the long run.
It’s best to put out your weaknesses in fine print so that your customers don’t keep any unrealistic expectations. When there aren’t any expectations, there won’t be any disappointment, and hence, a customer won’t feel the urge to post a bad review.
For example, you’re a small business owner who works on homemade food varieties. You can mention to your customers in advance that you try to deliver all orders in time, but sometimes, an order can get delayed. Informing your customers upfront of the possible mishaps is always a good way to ensure you don’t disappoint them. If you promise a timely delivery and fail to do it, you’re bound to get a bad review. And you know what a bad review can do to your online reputation.
Respond to All Reviews – Good and Bad
We know it’s not easy to deal with bad reviews. However, businesses that respond to all the reviews they get, whether good or bad, are more likely to get better reviews over time. If you respond to every review, your reputation will get better with time. Even if someone has rated your business poorly, accept and respect their feedback, respond to them telling them how their feedback matters to you and work to improve in those areas. This would put you in a good light. If you own your blunders and respect your customers, regardless of what they have got to say about you, you’re on the right track.
Engaging with your customers is essential for your business and for your online reputation and responding to all reviews, both good and bad, is just one way of doing that.
Don’t take bad reviews to your heart. Instead, take them as learning, work on it, and earn a good reputation that’s sure to come to you in due time.
Respond to Bad Reviews Politely
Negative reviews can feel personal. They may even break your heart, especially if you’re a small business owner. However, as we said earlier, you should most definitely respond to them. Always remember that there’s a way to respond to a negative review. You’ve got your business’s reputation at stake, and you can’t do anything that can tarnish it any further.
If a customer has given a bad review, respond to them politely. You’ll be amazed to see how the customer’s attitude and behavior takes a U-turn. They may even be willing to give your business a second chance. They’ll talk about how well you treated them among their circle, and that’ll eventually help you build a positive online reputation.
If you don’t have a solution or an appropriate response to a customer’s feedback, you should still thank them for their valuable feedback and assure them you’ll try to improve your services or product quality. The key is to respond. Doing so will show how willing you’re to facilitate your customers and how well you take criticism – both of these qualities are vital to building a positive online reputation.
Work on Your Online Reputation from the Beginning
Instead of trying to fix your online reputation after it gets stained, establish your brand and a good reputation well in advance. Don’t wait for a bad review to build an online presence. Work on it from day one of your inceptions. Provide your contact details, share your brand’s story, engaging post content, and create a space where customers can engage with you directly. The more you engage with your customers online, the better your online reputation ought to be.
Hit your customers up, request them to share their reviews so that others can see them. When a new customer visits your website or social media page and sees how well you’ve built your online presence and what others have to say about you, they’ll be more confident while placing their orders with you. If you don’t have a notable online presence, your business will appear shady, and people won’t be as confident trying you as you would want them to. If you ask us the secret to maintaining a positive online reputation, we would say the quality and depth of your online presence are what count the most!
Every time you close an order, ask your customer for their feedback and request them to share it on your public profile for others to see. You may think that a customer might perceive you as ‘clingy’ but trust us, customers like it when you make them feel valued. Telling them their feedback matters to you is a great way to retain them and build a good relationship with them. Even if a customer drops a bad review, it won’t really matter if the majority of reviews on your profile are positive. Collect as many reviews as you can. It’s essential for your business and your online reputation.
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Don’t Pay for Fake Reviews Trying to Build a Positive Online Reputation
If someone offers to sell you fake reviews so you can maintain a positive online reputation for your business, do NOT pay them. It will most likely damage your reputation. In fact, the more organic and true your business profile is, the better it is. Have a system in place to collect reviews from the start. It’s never too late or early to start collecting reviews from your customers.
Bogus reviews and inorganic reach are not the ideal approaches to build and maintain a positive online reputation. It may come as a surprise to you, but if a business seems too good to be true, that also raises red flags in a customer’s mind. A negative review once in a while is actually good for your business as it shows that whatever reviews you’ve got on your profile are honest and not paid for.
Assess Your Online Reputation
You can only work on your online reputation when you know how customers perceive your brand. Search your brand name on Google and add the word review at the end of it. Analyze the search results to see if the results are mostly positive or negative. It’ll give you an idea of what your current brand image is and how much work you need to do to re-brand yourself. If the search results show negative results, you then need to further analyze what has resulted in it. The only way to maintain a positive online reputation is to not take any negative feedback lightly. Instead of telling yourself ‘it’s just one bad review’ tell yourself ‘if I can get one bad review, I can get more of these in the future. This way, you’ll feel more determined to address your weaknesses and fix them all in time.
See also: Comprehensive Guide to Online Reputation
Once you start working on improving your online reputation, keep monitoring it to see if whatever steps and measures you’re taking are making a difference. If yes, continue with your efforts, and if not, change your strategy.
Take Matters Private when Need Be
Sometimes, customers can get aggressive and even abusive if their experience with your brand is outright poor. You can try responding to their review publicly, but if the customer doesn’t seem to be calming down, it’s a good thing to take your conversation private. Respond to your customer with a message like ‘we understand your disappointment. We would like to facilitate you to the best of our ability. Please drop us an email’ and make it a point to respond to the customer when they do email you.
Going the extra mile for your customers will only do good for your business. Do that whenever you need to because you can’t afford additional stains on your business in the name of bad customer service.
Create Positive Content on the Right Platforms
Another rewarding way of maintaining a positive online reputation is creating positive content on the right platforms. Some of the platforms where you’re likely to get maximum customer engagement are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Make use of these massive social media platforms the right way and see how your brand image blooms. You can write engaging blogs, share interactive content, go live (Facebook and Instagram Live), and take live questions from your customers and anything creative that you can think of. The possibilities are endless. Explore and experiment to see what works the best in favor of your online reputation.
Adopt a Customer-Oriented Approach
Like we said in the beginning, your business is because of customers. Therefore, you should value them. Instead of adopting a business-oriented approach, make your services customer-oriented. Facilitate your customers as much as you can (without breaking your back, of course). We don’t expect you to offer your customers costly compensations. See what you can do. Be flexible. Rigidity isn’t always good. Go the extra mile when you think that can make a difference. In short, make customer satisfaction your utmost priority.
If you want to further understand the importance of a positive online reputation, imagine yourself in your customers’ shoes and then evaluate yourself. If you don’t find any content on the website or there are numerous negative reviews that aren’t responded to, would you feel comfortable dealing with that brand? We bet not. That’s exactly what your brand may look like to your customers. One bad review among hundreds and thousands of positive reviews may not count, but if you don’t take that one review seriously, you’re preparing yourself to drown in deep water.