How to Manage a Business Reputation Online
The online selling of products and services has opened up countless new markets, allowing businesses to expand and grow in ways they never thought possible. While this is on the plus side of doing business online, there is also the potential for misunderstandings to occur between customers and sellers, the details of which are often shared (publicly) online as well.
With the advent of social media, forums, review sites and the like, unhappy customers now have a public avenue for venting their frustration. Many times customers do this without first giving the seller a chance to rectify the situation. Fortunately, there are strategies for handling these negative situations, which will allow the seller to keep or at least restore their reputation — perhaps even going beyond that to actually improving their standing with the general public.
Provide Communication Outlets
Sometimes customers vent their issues using social avenues because they don’t know how to contact a company directly. Businesses can help mitigate these scenarios by clearly stating their return policy on their website, as well as providing clear information on how to contact them if a problem should occur. To best serve customers, businesses should at least list their phone number and their hours of operation. Larger companies may want to consider adding a chat feature to their site. Of course, listing an email address to handle written communication is a given.
Add a Review Section
Adding a review section to a company’s website is not counterproductive. In fact, it shows customers that businesses are willing to stand behind their products and/or services by welcoming feedback from the public. Having one’s own review section also provides companies with a direct opportunity to tell their side of the story. When a company handles online complaints in a positive, professional manner, other potential customers will likely note that communicating with the company is a positive exchange. They’ll appreciate the company’s attempt to resolve the situation, giving them the confidence that if they have issues, the seller will work just as hard to make them happy as well.
Other Social Media
The same principle of maintaining a positive, professional manner also holds true when responding to complaints on social media avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Most customers know that now and then a problem may arise during a transaction.
As long as a company is willing to be fair and work with their customers to resolve an issue, they’ll feel comfortable enough to move ahead with their own transaction.