As more and more consumers use the internet to find products and services, it becomes increasingly important for businesses to guard their online reputations. Online reputation defense is now an essential aspect of running a successful business. You must be aware of what people are saying about you online. If someone is criticizing or attacking you, it’s essential to respond promptly and in the right way. Let’s look at some effective online reputation defense strategies that every business should put into practice.
Be Aware of Your Online Reputation
Before you can defend your online reputation, you must be aware of it in the first place. To do this, you must keep track of what people are saying about you online. This includes customers, competitors, independent reviewers and, unfortunately, random trolls in some cases. One of the simplest ways to be aware of your online reputation is to set Google Alerts for your business name. This will inform you whenever your business is mentioned online. You should also regularly check sites where reviews for your business might be posed. This may include Yelp, Angie’s List and Google if you have a local business. If your business is online, you can check forums in your industry as well as independent review sites that specialize in your type of company.
Provide Great Customer Service
One of the best ways to avoid problems with your online reputation is to treat your customers as well as possible. Customer service is an important part of this equation. If customers have trouble getting in touch with you or you take a long time to reply, they can get frustrated and leave negative reviews. It’s best to offer people multiple ways to reach you, such as email, live support and phone. Another way to prevent problems is to post clear policies involving costs, refunds and exchanges. Always honor your policies.
Responding to Complaints and Bad Reviews
What should you do if you encounter a harsh criticism or a negative review? It may be tempting to lash out at the critic or reviewer, but it’s best to hold your temper. You don’t want to get involved in a flame war that will reflect poorly on you and your business. Deal with the situation as calmly as possible. In some cases, the person may have a legitimate complaint. Try to resolve the problem amicably. It’s often better to provide a refund, exchange or credit even if you think the customer is wrong. If you suspect you are being trolled or perhaps targeted by an unscrupulous competitor, you can inform the review site and they may remove the review.
Take Proactive Steps to Build Your Reputation
Every business or product receives some negative reviews. These only hurt you if they are prominent. This can happen to a business that is not well established online. To prevent this, make sure you have a strong presence on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If you have a physical business, encourage your customers to leave reviews on sites like Yelp. When you are active and have active support from your enthusiastic customers, an occasional negative comment or review won’t be fatal to your business. Another proactive step you can take is to purchase major domain names for your business. Buy at least the .com, .net and .org extensions for your business. This prevents someone who wants to damage your reputation from buying these domains and using them against you.
Use an Online Reputation Defense Service
There are services that specialize in managing your online reputation. For businesses that are serious about maintaining a positive image online, this is worth considering. Unless you have the time and expertise to manage your online reputation yourself, you may want to leave this crucial task in the hands of an expert. Even if you haven’t had any problems in this area yet, it’s a good idea to consider hiring such a service now. In fact, the best time to start thinking about online reputation defense is before any problems occur. On the other hand, if you have already experienced a challenge in this area, your need for online reputation defense is even more urgent. When choosing an online reputation service, you will want to vet their reputation to make sure you choose someone who is qualified in this field.
In conclusion, online reputation defense is crucial for all types of businesses today. Whether you have a traditional brick and mortar business or a web based business, you must be aware of what people are saying about you online. By carefully monitoring comments, complaints and reviews about your business and taking steps to deal with any problems, you can make sure that you maintain a pristine online reputation.