Reputation management can occur in one of two ways. Companies can take a proactive approach to managing and maintaining their images, or they can issue reactive responses when problems arise. Unfortunately, reacting to negative feedback or negative developments will often only serve to further public distrust. This is one of many reasons why it is vital for local businesses to constantly and actively strive to build and bolster their reputations.
The process of establishing a good image for your business and protecting this image from future harm will also help to establish increased levels of consumers trust. People tend to be more trusting of companies that they hear about from other consumers. A positive review on a reputable platform like Yelp can be more valuable than even the most costly advertising campaign. Nothing trumps word of mouth advertising and thus, soliciting reviews and other forms of feedback through social networking platforms and review sites like Google Reviews will also help to improve a company’s bottom line. Good reviews not only build good images, but they can boost both conversions and customer retention levels as well.
Taking stock of what consumers are saying about your business is the fastest way to determine where improvements need to be made. Growing companies can’t always afford to hire professional consultants and identifying areas of weakness can be difficult to do when relying on tracking tools alone. The reviews that get posted about a company’s products or services, however, can prove highly informative. These can also be assessed in a quantitative fashion through the use of tracking software in order to know which suggestions are being made most often and what consumers are commonly complaining about.
Companies that are committed to maintaining reactive reputation management campaigns only, often look as though they have something to hide. These entities are only addressing problems as they are brought to the forefront of consumer attention. By keeping communications open and visible at all times, businesses have the opportunity to show the world that they are committed to continual process improvement, that they are always open to feedback and that they are constantly striving to do better. It is almost impossible for consumers to not trust this level of transparency.
Of all the things that you do to garner more consumer attention, make more conversions and close more sales, reputation management is likely the least costly. Moreover, this is an effort that is virtually guaranteed to pay for itself. You will be able to build a bigger and stronger customer base, brand your image, services or products into the collective mind of your local market and close more deals. There is simply no reason not to pursue these efforts diligently.
There are currently tons of ways in which a single consumer can cause major and irreparable harm to your commercial image. This is just as true for small and developing businesses as it is for large and well-established companies. Just as your organization can incite viral interest through online marketing campaigns, your customers can use social networking sites and other platforms to garner exponential attention. Should these individuals take their customer service issues to the web, the very platforms that you rely on when promoting your business will work against you. Unlike large and established companies, small and developing businesses often the lack the resources for effectively combating negative campaigns against their images.
Proactive reputation management is all about keeping communication lines open, so that your customers know that they can always come to you with their problems. If you constantly show the world that you are willing, ready and able to resolve customer issues in a timely and effective manner, negative feedback is less likely to harm you. More importantly, you can use these events to further prove that your businesses aims to please, rather than issuing wholly reactive and defensive responses.