In our last post we covered the first four most dangerous mistakes you can make with your online reputation. If you missed it, you can read them here. So here we go for the last four mistakes to avoid:
5. Putting Your Head in the Sand When It Comes to Customer Complaints
Fight the urge to ignore your customer’s complaints, always respond to customers quickly and attentively. No one wants to hear bad news especially if a customer is unhappy, but it’s worse when you don’t respond. When a customer complains about your business, other prospective customers are listening. If you go missing and never take care of things, they will be left to wondering if you even care. Rather than disappear, engage the customer in a conversation. With a little planning you can turn a complaint into an opportunity to show excellent customer service by showing that you do care.
6. Going on the Defensive
You need to keep a tough skin when it comes to managing your reputation otherwise you’ll end up doing things based on a knee-jerk reaction rather than an appropriate response. If someone is complaining or just being plain nasty about you or your business, don’t get defensive. Even if you’re in the right and the other person is a complete jerk, it will look bad on your part. When you act defensively, it shows publicly that the person got under your skin which may appear like there is some truth to the attack. Unfortunately, the double whammy here is that it shows a lack of confidence on your part. Always respond quickly and in a positive voice to complaints. Offer a resolution and acknowledge the problem. You can always say, “We apologize for making you feel this way. That isn’t the way we normally do things and we are prepared to make it right for you. Call us at …..” This way you show the rest of your customers that you are listening and care about their satisfaction.
7. Going M.I.A. (Missing In Action)
To build a good reputation online, you need to be consistent. Don’t disappear for days or weeks on end. Make it part of your regular routine to be present and interact with your audience online. We all like to unplug once in a while and I will take time off from social media, but I always monitor comments, retweets and other interactions.
8. Not Paying Attention to Your Online Reputation Whether Things are Good or Bad
Managing your your reputation means monitoring it consistently and frequently. It needs to be part of your business operation like checking your finances or doing sales calls. When a problem arises is not the best time to pay attention. On social media, it’s simple to set up tools like HootSuite or use native alerts to tell you when people are using your company name or making comments. In addition, you can set up Google Alerts to monitor the web for similar mentions at google.com/alerts .
Bonus Tip: Get Everyone Rowing in the Same Direction
If your business has staff or regular contractors, you need to communicate how important it is for them to help you manage your online reputation. They also need to understand how serious it can be in terms of reflecting back on your business. The best way to do this is to create a reputation policy that clearly states how you will handle a reputation crisis and what’s expected in order to manage it before mistakes are made. For some businesses where trust is a major factor, this is essential. For example, businesses that involve medical procedures like surgery or minor children such as day care centers or tutoring. A smear on a reputation for these types of companies could mean disaster and long lasting damage.