An online reputation is basically the image that people get from you. An online reputation management company basically manages that image. This is very important, because customers try to find out about you before they even decide to come to you. People sometimes don’t make purchases as a result of negative reviews.
- 59% of people who shop online say that they consider product reviews before deciding to buy.
- 72% of people who shop online see online reviews as personal recommendations.
- 80% of people didn’t buy something they wanted because they saw a bad review.
- 58% of people owned a smartphone in 2013 and used it to access review sites.
About Reputation Management
When you consider reputation management, it is likely that you will instantly think about reviews. It is all about getting more good reviews, and pushing the bad ones into the background. Unfortunately, there are no some businesses who manipulate this, literally removing any bad reviews. Not just that, some have hired others to write fake positive reviews. The Federal Trade Commission actually had to get involved to stop this from happening. They even fined one company $250,000 in 2011 because of this practice.
What your focus should be, if you are receiving bad reviews, is not on how to get rid of it, but why you are getting these reviews in the first place. You may, for instance, have to improve your customer service, recall a product, or simply speak to people better. Always be honest, because people can forgive a mistake, but not an outright lie.
Strategies for Reputation Management
- Always be proactive and know what is being said about you. Respond to positive reviews with a thank you, and to negative reviews to try to resolve the issue. Don’t wait until the negative reviews pile up before you start to address the problem.
- Use business directories where you can get listed for free, such as Bing, Yahoo, Google, and Yelp, and make sure the listing is consistent across all those platforms.
- Be ethical, so that your customers can contact you straight away with problems in the knowledge that you will address their issue immediately.
- Do not create fake reviews. You have to accept that mistakes will be made, your customers accept that as well. If there are many negative reviews, then this tells you that there actually is something wrong with your product. People will see straight through you if you make up your own reviews, and they won’t trust any of your products anymore. Plus, you could face a hefty fine from the Federal Trade Commission!
- Hire a reputation management company. While they do cost money, the return on investment is tremendous. They usually also engage in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics, which means that you will get more traffic to your website, which should convert into more customers, and, ultimately, more sales. Additionally, a reputation management company will always work tirelessly on getting your reputation established properly.