Five Ways to Improve Your Online Reputation
In this day and age, having a successful business almost certainly means you also have a successful online presence and reputation. The studies that have explored how much an online reputation can positively – and negatively – impact a business are simply staggering. For example, did you know that 90 percent of prospective customers will go online and do some snooping about a business or service they are considering?
When customer see a negative review, a quarter decide to pull the plug on contacting that company. If customers see two, that number doubles. From those simple facts alone you can begin to grasp just how much money you and your company could be losing if you’re struggling with negative reviews.
The most annoying thing about how huge of an impact negative reviews can have on your business is that they don’t necessarily even reflect the experience your customers are receiving. Studies show that the majority of people who log on to review companies are people who either have truly horrible experiences, or truly fantastic ones. If the people who have good, great, or fantastic experiences are not encouraged to review your company, however, you can absolutely lose out on a lot of great word of mouth.
So, what are 10 ways that you can improve your company’s online reputation? Keep reading to find out.
1. Encourage your customers to write reviews
If you’re seeing a disproportionate amount of negative reviews compared to the quality of service you offer, you may consider the fact that those who enjoy great experiences with your company simply do not think to offer good reviews. One great way to encourage customers to not only review your business positively, but to be return customers is to offer some kind of deal if they write a review. Offer free shipping, give them a buy-one get-one free offer, or hand out 15% off coupons for a review. Surely, you don’t have to say for a “positive” review, but chances are good that if you sweeten the deal, they will feel more positively about your company to begin with. It’s a great way to start getting those five-star reviews, are start pushing those one-star critiques further down the page.
2. Expand your online presence
This is another way to ensure that you are getting positive reviews online. You can’t just reply on one website or platform for ratings and reviews, make is a priority to have your company present on all sorts of researching and reviewing brands.
Boost your Facebook page, make you Yelp page as user-friendly as possible, work on SEO so that your company pops up early and often of Google searches. Not only will all of this help bring in customers, it will also let fans know that you take your online presence and reputation seriously, that will very likely help encourage them to offer a helping hand and write you a great online review.
3. Remove ads from your website and streamline your site
You may not even realize it, but your website could be hurting your business. There could be certain design choices or elements that are turning people away and making them think badly about your business or that – even worse – your sit or business is untrustworthy.
It’s your job as the business owner to make sure that your site represents your business well, after all, it is just as if not more important that your actual storefront. You wouldn’t allow broken windows, or other companies’ ads line your storefront.
Pop-ups and banner ads can kill a potential customer’s interest in purchasing from you or working with you. Even if you are worried about losing money to getting rid of ad space on your website, consider how much you are actually making from those ads and how much you may be losing due to potential customers deciding not to patronize you because of your disappointing, confusing, or non-aesthetic website.
4. Encourage customers to upload photos
In addition to encouraging customers to write reviews online, ask them to post pictures online as well. This is especially true if you are a restaurant or any kind of business that serves food or experience.
The reason this is so valuable is because it adds to the trustworthiness of your business. In fact, studies show that 77% of customers say that customer photos have a greater impact on their decision to patronize a business than professionally done photos. That’s because customer photos are obviously more authentic. Even if they are blurry, taken quickly with a camera phone, and don’t even show too much, the very fact that they are taken by customers will likely help you bring in more customers.
5. Respond to customer complaints
When users write an unfavorable review about your business online, it can be hard to know how to approach it as a business owner. Obviously, you are going to want to defend yourself and your hard work, but the very last thing you want to do is start an argument, ignoring them is also not a great approach.
So, rather than trying to convince them they’re wrong (which you’re not going to do), try to get to the bottom of their complaints and look for ways to improve and make them happy. That will not only improve your favor with this specific customer, but will also make you look good for other customers who see the review.
Another route to go is to contact the customer privately and offer them a sweet deal if they remove or improve their review. Personally, I have received gift cards, free meals, and more in return for an improved review. While it may seem a bit dishonest, it’s just business. There’s nothing wrong for asking a customer who had a negative experience to give you another chance. Who knows, maybe their second trip will truly change their opinion of the business!