Online Reputation Management

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What to do when digital review platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List and Amazon turn into the complaint department

Caroline Lee, PR Specialist

With the advent of digital media and platforms that host reviews, it is important for brands to be aware of their digital footprints. Although it is unfortunate when users post negative reviews, it is neither unusual nor a reason to panic. An authentic brand will embrace feedback — positive or negative — and use it to better the customer experience. A savvy brand will encourage feedback from satisfied customers; brands that do not actively solicit feedback often miss opportunities to document positive experiences… and review platforms turn into the complaint department.

Specific situations may merit a more detailed approach, but the following best practices should be considered to manage the online reputation of a business.

1. Own your digital footprint. Create profiles on the digital review platforms that relate to your industry. This provides an opportunity for you to take control and portray your company as you wish to be perceived.

2. Strive to create a positive customer experience. Implement customer service procedures that make sense for your business. If you are a retailer, be sure to have an in-store and e-commerce procedure when applicable. Are you in the service industry? Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to obtain feedback, address problems and prevent them from happening in the future (and before angry words are shared online).

3. Solicit feedback. Encourage customers to provide feedback on digital platforms. Usually, negative feedback is reported more than positive feedback if reviews are not actively solicited. Take control by showing satisfied customers where reviews can be posted online. This will help improve your online reputation. Providing incentive through contests or raffles is an effective way to encourage feedback. (Note: some platforms have rules and regulations about contests)

4. Regularly check for feedback and take action. When positive feedback is provided, share it across your company’s social media accounts, post it to a testimonials section of your website and consider using quotes on promotional materials. When negative feedback is provided, consider these approaches to stop the bleeding:

  • Apologize; the customer is always right. Don’t assume all blame if unnecessary, but communicate that you regret the negative experience.
  • Invite the customer for further conversation offline. Ask them to come back to the store, call a customer service phone number or provide a customer service email address.
  • Communicate the customer service policy you will use to mitigate the problem from reoccurring.
  • If the aforementioned steps do not solve the problem, and it escalates to abuse, report the posting. In extreme cases legal action can be taken.

At Market Mentors, we are experts at online reputation management. Ask us about what review platforms are right for your business.

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