Today’s businesses have to think hard and fast when it comes to establishing, building, and maintaining their online reputation. The reason for this is quite simple: Any form of negative online review can have a significant impact in one’s business. And as far as consumers today are concerned, one’s online credibility and reputation is tantamount to high quality products, dependable services, and a generally pleasant consumer experience. As such, it is always a very sound idea to invest in a comprehensive and effective online reputation management to help manage the ill effects of negative online reviews on your business.
Why Online Reviews Matter
Many consumers today are connected in the internet. When they read an online review, they share this with their friends and are eventually spread to their friends’ friends and so on. What is developing is actually a web with your ‘online review’ right in the center.
Let us say there is a negative review about your business. This is just one client, you may think. However, if it so happens that this ‘one client’ is a social media influencer you are not only losing the chance of having him on board, you also lose the opportunity to entice his followers.
Hypothetically, let us say you are selling a $100 item and that this ‘one client’ has 1 million followers of which only 1 percent are die-hard fans. That means you lose $1,000,000 on this product alone on the account that this number of followers will listen to whatever their ‘one client’ influencer has reviewed about your product.
Just consider the following facts:
- 36 out of 50 consumers trust reviews made online in the same way as they trust personal recommendations
- 46 out of 50 adult consumers always read online reviews first before buying
- 8 out of 10 consumers don’t buy a product that has negative online reviews
It is thus, imperative for businesses to have a comprehensive online marketing program that is not only geared on satisfying the needs of their intended customers but also proactively addressing other aspects of the consumer experience.
How You Can Avoid Negative Reviews
Instead of waiting for negative reviews to start cropping up in the internet, your business should strive to institute measures that will help avoid negative reviews. Here’s how.
- Provide high quality services or products
Businesses are established on the premise that they have something invaluable to offer to their target audience. It is thus, imperative that the products and/or services that you provide be of the highest possible quality. Your online marketing activities should also be geared towards strengthening the many good and positive things about your product offerings. If you can ensure that your customers will be happy with each purchase, then you don’t have to worry about negative online reviews as they will have nothing to say but the positive things.
- Provide exceptional customer service
Don’t ever think for one second that once your customer has bought from you, your job is done. The whole idea of online reputation management is that you need to take care of your customers from the very first time they visit your website until they have made a purchase and even when they are already using your products and/or services. This is where clearly-defined customer service program comes in. It should always be proactive, not reactive and is able to provide great assistance when the need arises. Remember, an angry customer can write about his experiences in the internet and many people can read this.
- Communicate to your target audience in a manner they understand
One of the more common mistakes that some businesses make is that they are insensitive in their communication. Many use words that are too alien for most consumers in an effort to project a certain image of so-called expertise. Some even use politically-incorrect terms as well as offensive terminologies that can really hurt some people. You may not read a negative online review about it but it sure will drive away potential customers.
- Listen to what your customers have to say
There’s a reason why feedback matters. It provides potential customers the opportunity to say something directly to the business. It can be a harsh criticism or a healthy suggestion. The point is for you to listen to what your customers have to say and act on these as judiciously as possible.
How You Can Handle Negative Online Reviews
Despite all of your efforts to provide exceptional products and services, there will always be those who are not easily pleased. If you happen to encounter a negative online review about your product or service, here’s how you can respond.
- Listen and understand what your customers are complaining about as well as what your prospects are saying even before you start initiating a response. Clarify the real issue behind such negative comments.
- Diplomacy works by always looking at the brighter side of things. Responding in a positive manner can go a long way towards addressing the issue. Show that you appreciate the comments and that you will do everything in your capacity to address the issues.
- It is one thing to respond to an issue in a positive manner. It’s another thing to do it in a timely manner. Your action may be positive, but if it came at a time when the negative review has already been posted online, there’s not much you can do about it anymore.
- Encourage your happy and very satisfied customers to write about their experiences with your product and your business as a whole. If you can get more people to write good things about your business, negative ones will surely have less weight. However, the key is to encourage, not coerce.
Keeping your customers happy and addressing their concerns in a positive and timely manner are just two of the most important ways you can help address negative online reviews. A much better approach is to do online reputation management to help avoid such issues from ever taking place. You can ask providers of digital reputation management services like Unofficial to help you map out strategies that will proactively avoid negative reviews and effectively address those that may crop up.