Reputations are hard to build and easy to lose. In the world of Facebook and Twitter bad press can spread virally. For instance, when it comes to drug and alcohol rehab centers, one unsatisfied client can create a stink that is damaging to your reputation. In the course of a day your company name can be bandied about online and negative public perception can have a real effect on your bottom line.
Here are five ways to handle a situation in which your online reputation is at stake.
- Address negative reviews professionally. If a customer writes a negative review about your establishment, a response is necessary. However the way you craft that response is key.
Make sure to address the customer’s grievance while setting forth your side of the story in a non-defensive manner. Always provide the customer with some sort of offer to make the situation better.
- Track your reputation. You have to stay on top of what is being said about your business in the digital stratosphere. If you have Twitter account you can search for your businesses handle. Also you can set up Google alerts to get notified of any business mentions on Google. People do make decisions on whether or not to use your business based on your Google Reviews. Pay attention to your Google reviews and if necessary comment any unfavorable ones.
- Use satisfied customers to your benefit. The best way to cancel out a negative review is a bunch of positive ones. Happy customers usually have no problem taking a few minutes to give your business a favorable review, a nice tweet, or a Facebook like. For instance, alcohol detox facilities should include positive testimonials on their site from clients who have benefitted from treatment.
Carefully crafted pitches asking for support among your fan base is a great way to cultivate positive PR. Also, guest blog posts on your blog are another way to get free online props.
- Maintain a presence on social networks. In today’s digital world, businesses should have an account with at least one major social media network. Regular engaging interaction is a great way to anticipate and stave off unhappy customers.
Another way to use social networks to maintain a good online reputation is to offer customer perks, discounts, and free giveaways. Customer loyalty is paramount … it’s your free online cheerleading camp.
- Never Ignore an Irate Customer. No matter how ridiculous a customer’s complaint, make sure to respond. A failure to respond first only adds fuel to the angry customer’s fire. Second, a failure to respond or a slow response carries with it the stigma of guilt.
Tackling the issue head-on allows you to maybe quickly satisfy the customer and gives the image that your customers are important. If the situation billows out of control, you can always hire a PR professional to institute damage control.
Michelle Anderson, who often writes about creating and maintaining positive reputations online, from car dealerships to drug and alcohol abuse centers, wrote this guest post.