Understanding how best to manage a business is easier said than done, as there are often plenty of roads that lead to the same destination. It can be especially challenging for startups, as budding companies are expected to compete not just against other startups, but industry giants. As a result, plenty of online store owners are rushing to deal with online reputation management (ORM), as the clear direction of the business landscape is through the online space. The result is a narrower focus toward online reputation repair.
Unfortunately, not every business can bounce back from having its reputation tarnished — whether through a particularly scathing review from an unreliable source, or anything else. To help keep things in order, here is a ten-step guide to dealing with online reputation repair.
1. Search for what people are saying about the company online
The first order of business would be to have a reliable means of acquiring reviews of the company. After all, many people have their preferred platforms when it comes to speaking about products and services, which means the most popular sources such as Yelp might not always have everything. The use of review generation services through online reputation repair is a good place to start.
2. Ensure there are no broken links in the advertising campaign
One of the reasons why some people leave negative reviews is they are often misled by links leading toward irrelevant information. Some get frustrated when they are led to a dead link, which could lead to negative reviews without even trying the products rendered. Ensure that the primary website does not have broken links.
3. No matter the negative review, always take the time to answer
Whether the review was left on the primary website or on a popular social media channel, it would be a shame to let go of a potential opportunity for success. Take the time to answer the negative reviewer, and if there is not enough information in their criticism, probe the frustrated customers about their experience.
4. Consider the validity of a negative review
No matter the nature of the negative review, it would be wise for a company to take stock of the situation and figure out the validity of the review. There will be some written reviews that barely have any information provided — while others will be quite detailed. Take the time to question staff about the validity of the review, as it could very well be disingenuous, and it might just be a waste of time to rebuild trust between the company and a reviewer that does not care to begin with.
5. Provide a solution however you can
The very core of online reputation repair is to offer a solution to unhappy customers that leave less-than-stellar reviews on the platform. It can be much easier to accomplish with an active social media account, as the customer will expect the company to reply. Providing an amicable solution is crucial — especially if the business is still relatively young. The solution can mean anything from sending another product to doing what the customer requests (within reason).
6. Offer potential discounts for the next purchase
Aside from taking the time to solve the current problem, it would also be a good idea to offer a token of goodwill by providing a discount for the next purchase. That way, not only does the company offer a solution to the problem, but they also provide a means for the customer to try again. It effectively fixes the problem while simultaneously erasing the chance of potentially losing a customer.
7. Consider the reason behind the review
There will undoubtedly be some people out there that will write a scathing review for the heck of it. In such situations, they will likely not even answer the company’s attempt to fix the situation. That said, it will show the business in a positive light, as the company at least tried to fix matters. Other than responding to every review, look into the reasons behind the review, and whether or not it can be used as a tool for optimization.
8. Build a roadmap for success
One of the biggest advantages of generating reviews and utilizing best-practice methods for online reputation repair, is it offers the opportunity to further improve a business. While many negative reviews might not have anything too useful, there will be some that provide excellent feedback. The best part is that if the customer is aware that their actions led to a change within the company, the business owner is likely to have a lifelong supporter.
9. Remain consistent and professional
While there are plenty of ways to deal with online reputation management, the most crucial part of the puzzle is to remain professional and consistent no matter the scenario. The reason why some companies need online reputation repair is due to one of their representatives getting into an online argument over a negative review. It would be wise to take everything into account and maintain professionalism with every review. Even if the reviewer is obviously in the wrong, it would still be prudent to offer a solution.
10. Consider review generating services
For the last step of the process, the company might want to invest in review generating services, utilizing specialists to ensure that more supporters are encouraged to write down reviews in the correct format and platform. While positive reviews are always fantastic, there is something special about dealing with negative feedback, as it puts the trustworthiness of the company to the test. As a matter of fact, many SEO companies count on negative reviews to help drive traffic, as the company’s ability to respond to negative reviews could effectively make or break a digital marketing strategy.
While getting into a situation where online reputation repair is necessary is typically a nuisance for most companies, it does not always have to be seen as a burden. The silver lining of such types of feedback is that they can provide opportunities for the company to rise above the situation — making them seem more trustworthy. It very well might convince more people to give it a try, which in turn creates a cycle of revenue!