Everybody’s a Critic- Managing Your Online Reputation

By SSPR

Your customers are talking; do you know what they are saying? Today, savvy consumers are steering away from Yellow Pages, and towards one-stop platforms where customers can not only find a business but also read independent reviews.

It is critical for small businesses to monitor these online conversations and engage with current and future customers. Many companies find this is a daunting task- but it need not be.

Simply begin by tuning in. Start looking at your business through the eyes of a customer. When you do a quick search what comes up? A Web page? A blog? Are these tools up to date, and a good reflection of the company? If not, this needs to change fast!

Now that you are tuned in, the next step is to actually manage your online identity. It is important to remember that there is no need to respond to every review, especially if the majority of the feedback is positive. Negative reviews, however, should be responded to in a helpful (not argumentative) way.

Keep an eye out for review patterns. Is there a common complaint? If so, address it. Remember all reviews, including the negative ones, give you, the business owner, a unique opportunity to look through the eyes of a customer and see what is working and what isn’t.

Make sure you are routinely monitoring what is being said, and commenting when need be. Tools that can help you stay on top of the conversation include Google Alerts and TweetDeck. This is an ongoing process, not something that can be done one Friday afternoon and forgotten about.

Finally, don’t be fooled by this new medium for customer reviews- reviews themselves are not a new thing. Customers voiced their opinions long before the rise of Twitter, and will continue to express themselves long after its demise. Now, you simply have a way to eavesdrop on the conversation.

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