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Online Reputation Management: The Comments

So you’ve been managing your online reputation per our snazzy four tips to get you started. Your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles have acclimated you into the social sphere; you’ve claimed your business(es) on Yelp and Google+; and you’ve set up a Trackur account. Aren’t you quite the go-getter? You even have some feedback — some good and some bad — how do you respond? It’s all right here in Parthenon’s Guide to Handling the Good, Bad and the Ugly Comments.

Well, there is no right way to respond, but keeping these four things in mind can help you to be proactive, not reactive:

  1. Don’t ignore their concerns. Your customers are key to you generating new business and disregarding what they say about your business will only hurt your bottom line. An article on Entrepreneur.com about reputation management states, “According to a study by Boston-based strategy and communication agency, Cone, 80 percent of consumers said they changed their minds about purchases based on negative information they found online.”
  2. Think twice, respond once. From the adage “measuring twice, cut once,” you want to respond quickly — no more than 24-72 hours after the post. But that doesn’t mean you write a formulaic response. Make sure that your comment addresses the poster and their issue individually and personally. This approach will make your customer feel heard and valued.
  3. Let’s not play the blame game. We’re familiar with the phrase “the customer is always right,” but  know that there are times when they are not. In those cases, your best bet is to acknowledge that they are not completely satisfied with your company and that you want to find a way that both of you can better the relationship going forward. You always want to reconcile if it’s possible. It shows are you are dedicated to your customer base and ensuring a high level of satisfaction both in person and online.
  4. Don’t forget to brief your staff too! They need to know if a customer is unhappy so that they can avoid the same problem in the future. Their commitment, or lack thereof, to providing high quality service is definitely a contributing factor to creating and maintain a good rapport.

So you are basking in the glow of customer praise?  That needs to be addressed too. You want to still follow the steps above and let each customer know you appreciate their time and continued business. Thinking of offering a new service? Ask your customers for suggestions. Test it out on Facebook. This is your focus group; so, why not find out what your customers think when all it costs you is time… to help your bottom line.