If you’re a business owner, your online reputation is absolutely everything. Given that 58% more people are sharing feedback and reviews online than just five years ago, you’re probably dealing with a bad review or two, because over 90% of this group says they have written a negative review online!
These aren’t necessarily bad people, they’re just vocal. And when others are vocal about sharing bad experiences they’ve had with your company, it will scare others from contacting you, regardless of how good you may be. The truth is, people only tend to leave reviews when their experience with your company is either excellent or disastrous.
Getting back into customer’s good graces isn’t easy, either, because 80% report that they will not buy from a company with negative reviews.
Many companies are feeling the pressure of bad online reviews at the cash register, especially when a bad review is prominent in search results.
So how much are those negative reviews costing you in lost business?
The answer depends on a few things, like your business’s popularity, the margins on your product or service, and the volume of sales. Because of this, it makes sense to speak in general terms.
According to Chatterbox, a firm that constructs and monitors online customer feedback platforms, companies that drop by just one star on sites like Yelp, Google places, and TripAdvisor lose dozens of customers!
Let that sink in for a second. DOZENS! Can you imagine how much lost revenue that is for the average small business owner over the course of a year? It’s even worse if your business relies on repeat customers, because that potential revenue stream is lost forever.
But it gets worse yet, because an unhappy customer is three times more likely to tell their friends about a bad experience.
However, the good news is that just a single negative review will have a massive impact on the amount of money that your business makes. Therefore, it is vital that you do your best to not only reduce the number of people leaving negative reviews, but to reduce the chance that potential new customers and clients will actually see those reviews to begin with.
The Solution to Negative Reviews: Up with the good, down with the bad
Despite the devastating impact that negative customer feedback can have on revenue figures, there are several ways to respond.
The first is to look at internal policies at your company.
- Are you communicating expectations to your customers?
- Do they understand your product or service?
- Do you follow up with them after their purchase?
- Is your customer-facing representative knowledgeable and friendly?
Since customer service is vital to avoiding a bad business review online, it may be worth paying a little extra money in salary to get a competent and pleasant person. Saving a little money by putting an incompetent employee in charge of your customer feedback isn’t worth it if that person tends to rub people the wrong way. We’ve all had a run-in with a rude employee, and because they don’t own the business, they don’t really care if it gets bad reviews online. They’ll probably shift to a different job in a matter of months anyway, leaving you to clean up the negative reivew.
However, if you are reading this article, you have probably learned this the hard way already. This is where online reputation management comes into play.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management, or ORM for short, is a system for helping companies and individuals to improve their profile in search engine results. For instance, if a competitor has attacked you online, it is nearly impossible to find proof that it was them and your customers aren’t going to care–they just see the bad reviews or the negative website and take it at face value.
A reputation management consultant will employ a number of different techniques to ensure that your company’s good reputation is preserved. This is what we do for our clients, so if you are in need of crisis management for your business or your name, read on.
How do I choose the right reputation management consultant?
- In comparison to a few other online ‘jobs’, reputation management is fairly new. Sadly, there are a number of ‘fly by night’ companies out there. Many people seem to think that they can just hop online, learn a little bit about online reputation management and call themselves an expert. That isn’t how it works.
You will be surprised at how much skill and experience it requires to ensure everything is done correctly. Let’s put it this way: do you want an amateur in charge of ensuring your company’s reputation online stays positive?
When you are searching for a reputation management consultant, work with somebody who has been in the game for a while, and whose own reputation is not in question.
- An online reputation management consultant–a good one at least–is not going to be cheap. Typical retainer costs will depend on things like the size of your problem, the age of the sites that are attacking your reputation, how many negative sites there are, and where they rank for search terms relating to you or your company. Don’t think too hard about the budget. A good online reputation management company will deliver a return on your investment. The amount of money and respect that you are losing as a result of negative info online is likely orders of magnitude greater than the fees to remove or suppress negative info.
- Many online reputation consultants seem to believe that online reputation management is about ensuring that negative reviews about your company stay off the front page of the search engines. This is just a fraction of what the job involves because if you have already been attacked once, you will need to think about protecting your brand online in the future. For corporate clients, we help put together public relations websites that promote the message of your brand. We help you to develop social media and link building campaigns too, to ensure that positive news about your company stays at the forefront of search results. In addition to this, we can even help clients to secure certain domain names (domain names which people could use to cause harm to your brand)
- A good reputation management consultant should be easy to talk to and understand why you received negative reviews online. You want them to be approachable, sensitive to your situation, and attentive to your needs. You also want them to have a personality that is right for your business. This means that you need to know that they understand your business or personal situation and that you actually enjoy working with them. A good business relationship is absolutely vital when it comes to the management of your brand. This is why the team at Negative SEO Guy is dedicated to being the best resource for clients who want to put their best foot forward online by dealing with negative reviews online. Contact us here.