Your business reputation is worth protecting at all costs, both online and offline. If you discovered someone in the offline world talking about a negative experience they’d had with your business, you would want to know about it. Most likely, you would attempt to contact the person, find out what happened, and—if possible—right the wrong.
It’s the same with your online reputation. The major difference, however, is that your online reputation can be damaged with much less effort. A single bad review can find its way to thousands of people in an instant. What’s more, it can take a long time and a lot of effort to undo the damage.
In today’s digital world, one of the most valuable assets in your business is the trust people have in your brand. It’s challenging as a business owner to keep on top of everything; you work hard to build your brand, increase your market share, and increase profits. All this work, and one negative review can undermine your efforts and turn your focus toward putting out fires instead of growing your business.
Sadly, some online reviews written about your business may not even be true. It could be an error by the customer, a temporary fault or mistake, a misunderstanding, or even a competitor out to harm your business. No matter where it stems from, one bad online review can have a devastating impact on your business and, once it’s out there, can be difficult to reverse.
Here’s how to handle those negative reviews, and a simple step you can take to build your positive reviews and keep your reputation in the clear.
Acknowledge all negative online feedback
You know if you want to build a successful business, it’s important to keep your eye on the customer. What better way to know how you’re tracking than through negative feedback? Sure, every business owner wants to hear all the praise, take in the positive reviews, and bask in the five-star ratings, but it’s equally important—if not more so—to pay attention to the negative feedback, as that’s where you’ll learn where you need to improve.
Firstly, acknowledge the feedback, and do so publicly, online. People will be watching to see how you handle these complaints and problems, and some may even decide whether or not to do business with you based on how you handle negative feedback.
It can be an awful lot of pressure, handling unhappy customers in a public forum, but any business has to manage dealing with customer complaints. Acknowledge the person, ask questions, and find ways to reach a resolution. That said, you don’t have to do it entirely online. Once you acknowledge them, you can offer to take your chat offline, and work through it with them privately.
It’s also worth remembering that behind one person who had the courage to tell you what they really thought, there are bound to be more who didn’t, or couldn’t be bothered. When you realise it may not just be one person having a whinge, but a symptom of a deeper issue, you’ll be grateful for it being brought to your attention. Ultimately, when you see negative feedback in that way, it all becomes positive feedback!
Build your reputation by adding value
Often, business owners get so bogged down in running their business that they lose sight of the customer, especially when things are going well. To build credibility and trust, you need to focus on what value you can bring to a customer, and not what the customer can do for your business. Your business doesn’t revolve around you, your products, or your services, but around your customers and their needs.
Here’s one question that can help get you back on track and direct your focus in the right direction:
“What value can I bring my customer today?”
When you turn your attention back to your customer and continually ask what you can do to add value to their experience, you’ll find that they will reward you tenfold. Find out what they want that you can deliver at little or no cost, and if the solution is information, support, tips, advice, then give it to them! They will love you for it, and tell their friends.
You might include articles, blogs, or case studies on your website that address common customer issues. If you can help by answering questions and solving problems, their loyalty will grow, and so will your reputation.
Don’t be afraid to recommend another business that may be able to help them if you can’t. Your customer will appreciate your honesty and genuine desire to assist them and that goes a long way in building your business brand and positive reputation.
Trust is the key to building a solid business foundation
As with all relationships, trust is the foundation from which to build successful relationships in your business. If you can harness the power of technology and social media to get more customers, you can make their life easier by adding value, and manage your online reputation in the process.
Bartercard can help your business build and manage your relationships both online and offline, offering effective tools to grow your reputation within the Bartercard network, and beyond. For more tips to grow your business, visit the Bartercard blog, and be sure to download the Bartercard Mobile App to expand your business’s online footprint!