It is essential for marketing executives to understand the importance of online reputation management, and how it impacts a company’s profits. When issues involving online reputation occur, many executives don’t realize what’s happening. They feel powerless to do anything about what is being said online. Companies can spend a lot of time and money building their brand. This can be seriously damaged with outrageous as well as defamatory remarks made about their products or services online. There are things that can be done when this happens.
According to an article in Forbes Magazine, “The negative reviews are often on websites that rank high in search engines, so anyone doing a search on the company name will probably see them. Whether the comments are true or not, these negative search results jeopardize the company’s online reputation.”
Assess Online Reputation
A company needs to know the status of their online reputation. In most cases, consumers do not look beyond the first few pages of search engine results. The first step is to see what is brought up with these initial pages. The search needs to be done with all major search engines like Google, Yahoo and more. Initially, the search can begin with the company’s name. Then their brand and products can be searched. Online results for high profile employees and any names associated with the company can searched. A company needs to set up alerts and feeds that provide every online mention of the company’s name, brand or any employee associated with the company. This will be an early warning of any potential issues.
If initial online search results don’t include the company, they may need to start building a stronger online presence. This may not appear to be a problem, but low ranking on search engines affects sales. This could change if there is a problem with the company’s products or services. A negative issue online could bring them to the top of the search pages. This is not good. A company needs to be proactive and create a strong and positive presence online.
Respond to Negativity
When critical comments are honestly made by a customer, they need to be contacted. Apologizing to the customer and trying to resolve the issue is the best approach. Once the issues are handled, the customer needs to know these problems won’t happen in the future. In some cases, this creates a positive online review. A customer will share how they were contacted by a company to resolve an issue.
Many times, an online issue is the result of a company not effectively communicating with a customer. When a customer gets frustrated and feels the company doesn’t hear what they’re saying, they want to complain. They will use places like blogs, Twitter as well as review sites to vent their frustration. In order to prevent this, it’s important a company have easy ways for a customer to contact them. A company should provide a phone number, email address and mailing address. Response time to issues need to be within 24 hours. This can resolve a lot of issues before they become problems. It also has the potential to earn positive online comments.