Like it or not, people talk. Sometimes they say things which are true, sometimes they make up lies, but either way, negative information about your company is downright lethal.
Whether it’s a customer who had a bad experience, an ex-employee who wants to get their own back or a direct competitor who wants to take you down, negative information can quickly spread around the local community via the internet. Before you know it, you’re losing sales.
That’s why reputation management is fast becoming one of the most popular services for all kinds of businesses, big and small, national and local. It’s a way to protect your online reputation from negative reviews and false claims, ethically and legally.
Reputation management involves a wide range of activities to keep your name in good standing. Activities include responding to customer complaints, asking sites to take down incorrect information and using online feedback to improve your products and services.
“The results of a negative online reputation may be as subtle as a user clicking on a competitor’s search result instead of yours or as damaging as an industry-wide boycott of your products and/or services. Besides the obvious financial implications of having a company’s credibility called into question, there are potential legal ramifications that could dominate your time and cripple your financial sustainability, as well. This will often cement trusted news and legal results in the top search rankings so that even if a case is dismissed or resolved, you’ll be living with the consequences for years to come.” – OUTSPOKEN MEDIA.COM
Whether the claims are true or not, the damage is done. People see the negative feedback and decide to spend their money with another competitor who has a “clean sheet.”
You can’t delete negative information about business unless it’s proven to be false and therefore libellous. However, you can address it or even “bury” it. For example, in cases where it is not possible to ask for the negative contents to be taken down, the proper thing to do is to push down the visibility of such negative feedback through proactively publishing useful, positive information about your company.
Of course, negative feedback can be monitored and even used to showcase your excellent customer service. For example, if a hotel receives a bad review of their room service, the hotel owner would benefit from immediately addressing their concerns and explaining – in public – why it happened and what they propose to do about it.
Other customers will see this with a positive light, especially if the complaint turns out to be unjustified. However, if the complaint is left unaddressed, this will raise alarm for potential new customers who see it.
With the right tools and help, you can proactively monitor your online reputation and resolve any issues on the spot. You can also maintain good online profiles to help your positive reviews shine over the negative ones.
Of course, this can become time consuming on a regular basis, so it’s worth considering the help of an expert to manage your online reputation for you.