by Tammy Finch
In my experience with Online Reputation Management (ORM), I've seen businesses really suffer from online reviews and client complaints. Their own customers, for whatever reason, are mad or feel they were treated unfairly and they turn to Google and social media to vent their frustrations. As a customer, you have a responsibility when posting messages publicly to make sure they are accurate. Venting should be done privately. Why? You can harm someone's livelihood in just a matter of minutes! Writing a bad online review can be the same as a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Customers should take this seriously and be responsible. Rethink the messages before posting them. On the other hand, if you had a bad experience with a company and have tried to fix it by contacting the company (more than once) then you have a right as a consumer to report it.
Owning a business is fun and I love it. But your ORM is something you should take very seriously. It can wreck your brand and sometimes ruin your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Since clients are now looking online for products and services, this is where businesses should focus their attention - your online reputation. Explaining the process of how your business is done, no matter how simple, may help educate your customer. Obviously, taking time with them is usually what is needed. So what can you, as a business do to help your ORM?
1. Blog. Tell what is happening at your company, help people with articles in your industry and own that SERP.
2. Be social. Claim all social media profiles. You don't have to use all of them, but at least have your contact information there for reference.
3. Be proactive. Handle any complaints with tack and genuine interest. Take online complaints seriously as you would in person.
4. Step back and look at your online presence. What are you posting to Facebook and LinkedIn? Is your presence professional even on your personal accounts?
5. Respond to any online messages - nice or not. Thanking people for nice reviews reinforces the behavior. Telling your side will help clients understand instances that do not happen to be perfect.
Again, everyone, clients and businesses alike, should take online reviews and postings very seriously. Being a good customer and posting a nice review at least once a week will help your vendors immensely and they will appreciate you. Customers should focus on positive experiences and share their experiences with everyone. Social media is social so get out there and brag a bit.
Businesses should remind customers how important it is for you by small reminders in your store or through social media links. Share positive notes from clients with your fan base to encourage others to tell their good experiences as well.