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Five Common Online Reputation Management Mistakes You Might Be Making

The internet is an incredible thing. It connects us, allows us access to global knowledge on a near-instant basis, and has shifted the way we shop, communicate, and make decisions. With all of the focus the internet places on expression, it’s no surprise that customers are expressing themselves now more than ever – on blogs, social media, and even public forums. While this is a fantastic thing, it can also lead to a company being unjustly attacked online. While online reputation management seeks to mitigate the effects of negative word of mouth, the process is only as good as a company’s execution of it. Here are five of the most common online reputation management mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Five Huge Online Reputation Management Mistakes

For small companies with an online presence, reputation matters. Because small businesses often have less content, fewer products, and a smaller online presence than their larger counterparts, negative online reviews are particularly damaging. While small businesses are the ones that need reputation management the most, they’re often the ones who neglect the process or make mistakes that render it less useful. Keep an eye out for these five common reputation management errors in your online life.

  1. Attacking customers lodging complaints

You care about your company, so when you see it reviewed negatively online, it can be an upsetting and troubling experience. Despite the emotional charge negative online reviews carry, it’s critical to stay calm and consider the situation fully. Companies that minimize, attack, defame, or undermine complaints lodged by customers are setting themselves up to lose the business not only of the client who complained but also of everyone he or she tells about the incident.

When it comes to customer complaints, a good general rule is to live by the adage, “the customer is always right.” Most customer issues can be resolved before they reach a crisis point, so getting defensive will do you no good. In fact, getting defensive may damage your brand even more than the initial complaint: according to HelpScout, it takes twelve positive experiences with a company to make up for one negative experience that wasn’t resolved correctly. What’s more, the news of a bad customer service reaction reaches an average of two times as many people as news of a positive interaction. In light of this, it’s in your best interest to listen to the customer and focus on remedying the situation rather than getting defensive.

  1. Responding too slowly

According to Convince & Convert, 32% of clients who reach out to brands via social media expect a response within half an hour and 42% of consumers expect a response within sixty minutes. While these response requirements are steep, the hazards of responding slowly or, worse, not at all, are critically dangerous for companies. When a company responds slowly to a customer’s complaint or inquiry, it communicates to the customer that the business doesn’t care. This, in turn, has an adverse impact on your brand image and damages consumer trust in your company. Today’s consumers are swimming in purchasing options from reputable companies and approximately 59% of Americans will move to a new business or brand after a negative customer service experience. Because of this, it’s critical for your business to develop a strategy to respond to customer concerns as quickly as possible.

  1. Attempting to hide negative reviews

While the impulse to delete or try to mask negative online reviews can be strong (Especially if they are vicious or unfair), this can damage your reputation more than the negative review itself. In addition to making the customer who lodged the complaint feel jilted and unheard, deleting negative reviews doesn’t ultimately remedy the situation. If you remove a review from your blog or website, for example, there’s nothing to stop that (now angrier) customer from heading to social media or third-party review sites and posting something there. The lesson? Face negative reviews head-on, even when they’re unfair or particularly aggressive.

  1. Buying positive reviews

For companies contending with negative online reviews, buying positive reviews often seems like a valid option. While it’s certainly possible to overwhelm a handful of negative reviews with scores of fake positive reviews, it’s bad business to do so. In addition to the risk of getting caught (which is exactly what happened to Samsung after it hired a team of writers to craft positive reviews on its behalf), fake reviews damage your credibility and send you down a slippery slope in terms of how you deal with your customer service and review processes.

  1. Discouraging customer reviews

Some companies, especially those who have been affected by negative reviews in the past, are tempted to manage their online reputation by simply putting a moratorium on all reviews. Unfortunately, this spells certain death for your business. For every one customer that lodges a complaint with your company, a whopping 26 customers stay silent and don’t complain. The lesson? Customer reviews are critical to your business’s success and, while it’s inevitable that you’ll receive a few poor ones if you’re in business long enough, limiting reviews altogether damages consumer confidence in your brand and robs you of the ability to listen and respond to consumer feedback.

Final Thoughts

Online reputation management can be a tricky business for brands who aren’t familiar with standard practices. While it’s critical for small businesses with an online presence to take ORM seriously, it’s impossible to effectively manage your online reputation if you’re making these five common mistakes. Luckily, each error listed here is easily reversible, and even companies who haven’t handled ORM well in the past can excel at it in the future.

To learn more about ORM, or to develop an online reputation management plan that preserves the reliability of your company, contact the professionals at Ruby Moon Consulting today.

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