Managing your online reputation

Managing your online reputation

Key Contact: Aisha Wardell

In the current digital world, online reputation management has never been more important. Whether a start-up, SME, or a large, well-established corporation, an online post is there for all to see and can have a significant impact on the success of a business.

Why is maintaining a good online reputation important for your business?

First impressions are very important and that is equally as true for a business’ online presence. Having a poor online reputation can have a significant influence on whether a customer or client decides to purchase a product or service. Recent studies show that the majority of clients or customers conduct some form of online research before purchasing from or engaging a business.

No business wants to be portrayed as untrustworthy or for its products or services to be considered sub-standard but a series of negative reviews, or, in some cases, even a single negative review, can achieve just that.

If a customer publishes a negative review online, unless subsequently removed by a customer or action taken by the business, it is more than likely to be permanent. Although businesses may wish to force the removal of reviews that are vexatious or malicious (and are perfectly within their rights to do so), attempting to censor all negative reviews has the potential to cause a business more harm than good, particularly if the wider public becomes aware of the business’ attempts to regularly censor reviews.

Although no business will welcome a negative review, by engaging with the customer and, if appropriate, resolving the issue with the customer directly, the customer may be willing to remove the negative review without the business having to take formal action and, most importantly, without any adverse publicity. At the very least, potential customers or clients can see that the business is dealing with that review in a professional manner.

Top Tips on dealing with reputation management

  1. Keep up to date with what customers or potential customers are saying about the business. This can be done manually, by way of a quick internet search, or automatically by setting up alerts that will give you a notification when a review or comment is posted.
  2. Respond to each individual review, ensuring the response is professional, personal to the reviewer  (i.e. not a standard response provided to all negative reviews), and proposes a way forward.
  3. Keeping your website and social media pages up to date and on top of relevant news stories. Keeping your content fresh and relevant will be key to customers or clients conducting research on your business. By having a better online presence, increasing your audience will in turn increase customers or clients.
  4. Unless prompted, customers are more likely to leave an online review if they have had a poor experience with a business. If a business asks its customers who have had a positive experience to leave online reviews, this is likely to result in a greater number of positive reviews and overall improve that business’s online presence.

Good reputation management can help a business to gain the trust of customers or clients and increase its credibility, and improve its online and makes the business more credible than their competitors.

For advice on reputation management please contact Aisha Wardell in our ARM team.

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