There isn’t anything worse for a business in today’s tech savvy world than waking up to bad reviews and negative news. While some of it may be from a genuine disgruntled customer or where your business has been found wanting in its delivery of the promise, there are also cases of rivals tarnishing your image running malicious smear campaigns. There have been numerous instances of notorious Ripoff Reports and their likes lending a killer blow to the reputation of several businesses. Irrespective of whether the negative review, complaint or news article on your brand is genuine or not, you have to deal with the problem. This calls for a well-planned and executed online reputation management strategy.
Online Reputation Management has become one of the most important strategies for a business in a competitive world of business where what’s being said and written about you decides your success. Most businesses, especially small and medium business enterprise don’t have a risk-management plan. In the case of adversity they often delay response or chose the wrong path that hurts brand reputation. If your business is dealing with a reputational crisis here is an online reputation management strategy that would help you in mitigating this crisis.
# Respond Quickly
The very basics of online reputation management strategy dictate that you respond to any negative posts or comments about your brand. You can do so in the platform where it has been posted or from your official social media handles. Delay in response is often seen as an admission of guilt or shows that your business might have something to hide. Whether it is issuing an apology to the customer or out rightly rejecting the allegations (only in genuine cases) you must act before the post starts going viral or your customers already form an opinion about your so-called wrongdoing. You should also try getting in touch with the customer privately though phone or email as this will send them a message that you are concerned about their problem.
# Be Understanding and Polite
Not every negative post is a result of smear campaign against your brand. Many of these are genuine grievances that customers have bout your products and services. While your perception many vary from that of the customer, you should always be considerate and polite towards them. Aggressive approach here can invite wrath of more people. Do your research on their grievances and find out ways in which this can be resolved. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and look at their point of view as this will help you find a middle path. When the issue is resolved request the customer to delete the compliant or post your answer highlighting the resolution of the issue on those platforms. This not only minimizes the damage but also creates a positive impression in the minds of your customers.
# Challenge Negative Comments
There are instances when negative reviews have been posted by fake people. Once you come across a negative comment on your brand you should immediately try and identify whether the person posting it is a genuine customer or not. If you find the comments or the instances described as being fake or having been posted with malicious intent you should immediately bring it to the notice of the platform where it has been posted. In most cases such reviews would be flagged and removed from the platform.
Burry Negative Comments
We have mentioned about the notorious Ripoff Reports platform. There are many like them that don’t remove malicious posts hurting businesses even when they are provided with substantial evidence of these being malicious. In such cases your online reputation management strategy should focus on burying them deep in the search results. A tailored SEO strategy can help in achieving this goal. While this doesn’t offer you a permanent solution from the problem, it does reduce the visibility of such posts that can keep hurting your business in the long run.
Encourage Positive Feedback
The more positive feedback you receive, they act as a shield against negative comments. For instance if there are 100 positive reviews about your brand on a certain platform, a dozen or two negative reports won’t hurt it. But the absence of positive feedback can turn the case away from you. Thus you should always encourage your customers to write feedback and comments. You should specifically target those customers who have had good experience with your brand and are likely to write positive reviews.
To conclude, a solid online reputation management strategy can help you deal with any reputational crisis. Along with this you also need to constantly keep your eyes and years close to the ground and keep track of what is being mentioned about your brand. There are tools that you do so and you must get started with the immediately.