7 Pillars of Reputation Management for Small Business
Dan Levenson June 20, 2017
Your small business’s reputation is a critical part of your ability to continue to do business in the long run. Because you don’t have the reach of many larger companies, you may find that a single negative review or highly negative individual can go a long way toward pulling your business’s reputation down.
It’s important to keep track of your reputation and make sure you manage—and respond to—what’s being said about your business as effectively as possible.
1. Google Your Business
Forbes recommends this tactic for personal reputation management, but it’s critical for businesses, too!
You need to know what’s being said about your business. The first two pages of Google’s search results are among the most critical for your online reputation. If customers search for your company name and get back negative reviews or scam reports at the top of the page, they’re more likely to turn to a competitor.
Flooding those pages with positive information about your business, on the other hand, will help show customers just how great your company is.
2. Provide Stellar Customer Service
If you don’t want negative reviews left about your company, providing positive customer service is a great way to ensure that you’re getting the kinds of reviews you want.
There will be times when things go wrong for your small business. Perhaps you’ve made an error with a customer order, failed to deliver a product on time, or provided a substandard product. How you deal with that is just as important as the mistake itself!
3. Deal With Negative Reviews Positively
In many cases—on your Facebook page or Yelp, for example—you have the ability to respond to complaints and negative reviews from your customers. This is a perfect way to build your online reputation and show customers that you genuinely care about them!
Be transparent about your customer service policies and practices, and let your customers see that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make them happy. Continued interactions and complaints from a single customer when you’re showcasing your best customer service skills will also quickly become apparent as a case of sour grapes, not a reflection on your entire business.
4. Assume That Nothing Is Private
You think that you’re communicating privately with a customer, but not only could it show up publicly later, that customer might choose to put it out there!
The reality is, nothing that is communicated online is private. If you want a great online reputation, you need to continuously monitor how you communicate and what you share.
5. Find a Great Reputation Management Company
Some things, you can handle yourself. If you notice that your business’s reputation is starting to degrade faster than you can keep up, however, don’t wait until it’s completely destroyed before you ask for help! There are some things that are just easier when you have a professional at your back, and online reputation management is one of them.
6. Take Advantage of Online Defamation Laws
You can’t sue someone for being unhappy with the services you’ve provided, but in some cases, you can have exceedingly negative and false content removed. Become familiar with online defamation laws, especially as they pertain to you as the owner of your business and your business as a whole. Those laws are in place to protect your reputation!
7. Address Problems Quickly
It’s easy to pretend that there’s nothing going on behind your back, but the truth is, negative discussions don’t go away. Address them proactively and deal with what your customers are saying to help protect your online reputation.
Maintaining a great online reputation is a challenge for many small businesses. All it takes is one unhappy customer to send your reputation plummeting, especially if you aren’t prepared to address it quickly. By actively monitoring customer feedback and responding quickly and professionally, you can get ahead of the curve and prove that you are great to do business with!