Did you know that only half of new startups survive more than 5 years? In recent years the economic upturn led many to start small businesses. However, in a crowded market, it can be difficult to get your business out in front of the crowd.
If you want to get your business ahead of your rivals, remember one fact: Your product is only as good as your potential customers think it is. For a business to be successful, careful management of its reputation is vital.
How can you learn business reputation management techniques? What tools are available to help? Why not find out by reading our in-depth guide below to find out.
- What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management is a system that controls how your customers perceive your products and services. There are so many ways that your reputation can be discussed, judged, tainted, or improved online. This makes Reputation management one of the most important skills for businesses to leverage.
Reputation management includes two major steps:
This means following what influential people say about your product. This includes customers, influencers, and competitors.
Taking appropriate action to improve your image. This includes the encouragement of positive discussions or the handling of negative comments.
Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship between business and customer. Good relationship management involves the fluid and frictionless movement of information between the two. This means the application of CCM and related software. Why not take a moment to ask what is CCM? How can it help you?
2: Monitor Your Reputation
It is not always easy to hear criticism of your brand or product. However, Bill Gates famously said that “your worst customers are your greatest source of learning”. In order to benefit from criticism, you need to constantly monitor what people are saying about you.
How you will do this depends on the industry that you are in. If you work in the hospitality industry, Tripadvisor may be able to provide all the feedback that you need. If you are a retailer and sell products directly from a site, review sites or blogs can give you an insight into how your products are received.
There are even services and software that will monitor comments online. They can provide reviews for your products, company, or even each physical outlet you own.
3: Devise a Response Plan
After monitoring what is being said about your business, you will know the positive and negative comments being made. How can you handle the negative? The key is in creating a response plan.
You will no doubt want your company to create standard responses to some complaints. These will be kind, calm, and address the issue discussed. Who will deliver the response? It depends on the seriousness of the issue. In some cases, it may even be beneficial for the CEO to express themselves to show that the business is taking complaints seriously.
4: Handle Negative Feedback Effectively
The key to responding to criticism is the management of personal emotions. Insecurity can lead to a person either ignoring needed criticism or responding too harshly.
Experts tell us that speed is crucial in recovering from a negative or bout of negative reviews. If you quickly address the complaints people will be more likely to change their comments, or at least speak positively of your response.
Actively search out negative comments. If you see consistent patterns forming you can be sure that this is a general perception and not just the work of a couple of internet trolls. Address the cause of these patterns and you can improve your reputation greatly in a single action.
5: Build on Positive Developments
Deal with negative comments quickly, but also respond to positive feedback too. Responding kindly and interacting with individuals who have positive things to say will encourage others to post what they liked about their experience with your organization.
Remember that most people who are reading review sites are looking to form an overall impression of your company in a few seconds. They will not mull over a minority of negative reviews. The more you encourage positive reactions, the better the overall impression that will be left on readers.
6: Follow Through and Measure your Results
You are monitoring your reputation online, proactively addressing criticism, encouraging positive talk. The final step is to log and measure your results over time. If you are actively applying the step above you will see a marked increase in positive comments and a decrease in permanent negative reviews.
As you are able to address larger patterns of negative feedback, smaller patterns will emerge. Gradually you will extinguish most or all sources of complaints regarding your services. You will receive praise not only because of your better customer service but because of the changes you enacted to make these improvements possible.
This does not mean that reputation management has come to an end. It is an ongoing process that is part of the management of modern business. However, as you apply these principles you will learn much from unhappy customers until you have none left.
Business Reputation Management and Much More
Your success is built on your popularity. Business reputation management gives you control over negative reviews. Remember your products are only as successful as your customers think they are. Gaining control over your reputation meaning gaining control over your success.
If you are interested in your business’s reputation and how to positively develop it, we are here to help. We leverage our years in retail to offer reliable guidance for our readers. Why not take a minute to check out our feed and see how we can help you today.