Manage Your Online Reputation
WHO ARE YOU ON THE INTERNET?
It’s a strange reality in business that you rarely – if ever – receive feedback from customers in terms of how they really feel about having worked with you or hired you to carry out a project. In most cases, customers who are happy with the services will tell you in person at the end of the project, but those who are not happy will in most cases not say a word to you.
In the pre-internet world, the worst thing that would happen (which was bad enough) was that those people would tell all their friends and relatives how disappointed they were with your services or products. Today the problem has become exponentially bigger. These days we live in the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, personal blogging and the countless number of forums available online. This means that if someone is unhappy with your company and posts a negative comment, it will be seen by thousands of people for many years.
This is where reputation management comes in. We’ve all seen the little statement above the till in restaurants and shops that says “If you enjoyed the service tell your friends, if you didn’t, tell us” and that’s just about all you can do in the real world. When it comes to your on-line reputation you need to do a little more, so here are some things that you should do.
- Google your business name
Put your company name into Google (both with quotes and without). Look through each of your results on page one and page two specifically (most people never go beyond page two). Then keep going if you wish just to be thorough. Did you find any negative entries that you wish to have removed?
- Repeat the search using your own name
Remember that people do business with people, so if you’ve had a few crazy nights out or done anything else that you think potential customers would not be that impressed with – don’t post it on your Facebook account and make sure none of your friends do either!
- Contact the person who made the comment
If you find some negative comments then contact the person who made and/or post a response on the same website. The response should not be threatening, but instead your customer service machine should go into overdrive. Offer to meet with them in person or to rectify the situation. People understand that disagreements will happen, the important thing is how you handle it and if people see that you are professional about the situation then the negative comment will be forgotten.
- Contact the website to have entries removed
If you find comments that are blatantly libelous or slanderous in any way then you have a legal right to have them removed. In this case the first step is to contact the appropriate website owner requesting that the information be removed. After that you would need to enter a legal process.
- Post lots of useful information
The more relevant and positive information that is available on line, the less likely it will be for a single negative comment to be seen.
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