Reputation Management: Making It Work For Your Small Business

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A business’s brand can determine its future. Each year, companies spend millions of dollars on not only building their brand but also maintaining it. Budgets are allocated to developing the right product and on formulating an ideal digital marketing plan, whether it is a multinational or small business. However, your brand relies on much more than marketing. A large part of a brand is a company’s reputation; how it is perceived by customers and community at large. As the power of influence shifted to customers in recent years, reputation management has become an essential part of brand strategies for companies. Today, 65 percent of people regard online information as a trusted source. Thanks to the progression of e-commerce and digital media, reputation management has become relevant to even the smaller businesses. Therefore it is important that your company’s reputation both online and offline remains intact.

Monitor Online Activity

Online activity is a large platform for influencing your reputation in both a positive and negative way. Feedback and comments from customers on your website, social media accounts, and opinion boards all contribute to the overall impression of your brand since others will come across these opinions and it can influence their decision to purchase a product. This is why it makes sense to monitor this feedback and deal with it promptly if needed.

There are many handy tools available to small businesses to help them track their brand online. Tools such as Google Alert and review sites such as Yelp provide a low-cost solution while allowing a customer platform to voice their opinions online, whether it is a complaint or glowing recommendation. These will prove to be a valuable influencing tool since 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses, according to Bright Local’s 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey.

Make Customer Engagement A Priority

Your reputation depends largely on your customer’s opinions. Therefore, to gain the best from your customer relationship you need to engage with them. Optimal customer engagement does several things. First of all, it allows you to know exactly what your customers value; and what they do not. Encouraging past customers to voice their feedback, and also being available for any queries can give customers the impression of a brand that is very responsive and in tune with its customers’.

Have A Plan For Negative

You will come across negative comments or feedback as a business owner. The best approach for tackling this is to formulate a plan for handling these situations should they arise. Eighty-nine percent of consumers read business’ response to reviews. Address negative reviews and thank customers for positive ones where necessary.

The first step in this is to identify what kind of negative attention you are getting. Are the customers dissatisfied with your service or product? Lay out a plan for each scenario. In small businesses, most of these functions overlap so transferring complaints to departments is not always necessary. Have guide outlines on how to deal with each scenario and alternatives to offer the customers. Finally, be sure to get the specific details of their complaint and use it for future improvement.

Above all, ensure your customer service manner is up to par so that they feel listened to and valued. The public perception of a brand can mean everything to a small business. This is why it is now of utmost importance that they employ good reputation management tactics. These three are just the tip of the iceberg.

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/xhRA-N3HYjw

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