In the past businesses had to rely on traditional media campaigns, along with word of mouth for their reputation. Today, brand reputation is more prevalent than ever. With multiple online review platforms that are easily accessible for customers to share their experiences, prospective customers can read everything that’s being said (good and bad!) about a business. Knowing how to protect your brand reputation is an essential skill for businesses today.
What is Brand Reputation?
Brand Reputation is how others perceive and hear about a business from external sources, including customers and the market. It’s the general sentiment made up of feelings and experiences that the majority of people share about that business.
Why is Brand Reputation Important?
Brand Reputation is more important now than ever. With an online presence being compulsory in today’s world, most customers interact with a business online first before ever experiencing an in-person interaction. And, for many customers, their experience with a brand or business is solely online.
When prospective buyers look for something online, they often read reviews first, even before consulting a business’ website to see if the product or service is worth checking out. Or if they’ve taken a look at the website, the next place they’ll head is the reviews to see if customers agree with what the website promises. Either way, one of the first few things they’re looking to find is what other people have said about that business.
If businesses allow their reviews to go unmonitored and unanswered, they’re leaving their reputation up for grabs. Ultimately, businesses need to understand that they aren’t always in control of making their own first impression.
How to Protect Your Brand Reputation Proactively
- Promote your positive reputation
- Encourage customers to leave feedback
- Respond to reviews
- Monitor reviews
- Answer questions online
How to Protect Your Brand Reputation Reactively
Sometimes businesses are faced with a crisis after a bad online review. While there is certainly a sense of urgency to get any reputation management emergency sorted immediately, it is also important to sit down and develop a game plan.
- Take a moment to reflect
While negative feedback can be hurtful, it is important to examine reviews thoroughly and look for areas that can be improved. Listen to all feedback with open ears and reflect on what could’ve done better.
- Make sure the bark really does match the bite
If your website promises great customer service, but the reviews don’t line up, it’s likely time for a refresher on what great customer service really means to your business.
- Take it offline
The initial response to a bad review should invite the customer to contact your business via phone or email to further discuss. Ideally, you don’t want a paper trail dragging out all the dirty details of how your business failed online.
- Don’t get defensive
Defensiveness often doesn’t work out well for businesses in a “customer is always right” world. Regardless of whether you or your employees are in the wrong or not, acknowledge the customer’s complaints and do your best to make it right. If you handle the situation well enough, it’ll be a win/win – you will regain trust with a customer and that customer will remove or positively amend their online review.
- Don’t get in over your head
If a review goes beyond a run-of-the-mill bad experience, and into libel or slander territory, get legal counsel involved before taking any next steps.
- Build your online reputation
Solicit more reviews. The more positive reviews you collect, the more the negative reviews fade into the background.
When your brand is attacked, it often feels very personal since you are so invested in your brand you’ve so carefully created. Protecting your brand reputation is an important part of your marketing plan.
Want to learn more about Reputation Management and how you can add it to your lineup of marketing products and services? Get in touch with us, we can help.