When I was a kid, my southern Baptist Preacher father used to tell me I could never outrun my reputation. I wasn’t the fastest kid around, but Jesse Owen, Carl Lewis, and Usain Bolt can’t outrun their reputation either. Now with Social Media and hundreds of Online Review Sites- this fact is more real than ever; especially for businesses.
Today, ninety percent (90%) of all buying decisions are made before customers ever contact the business or organization they are interested in. That means Automotive Dealerships, Churches, Attorneys, Real Estate Agents and any other business you can think of is not immune from anyone with a PC, tablet, or smartphone from sharing their experience perceived or otherwise about your organization.
So how do you make sure your Online Reputation reflects the real story that you want your potential customers to see? The following steps to having a great Online Reputation is easier than you might think.
- Provide a great product or service. Yes, we all know that sometimes you will not be able to satisfy the most arduous consumer. Later in this article we will discuss this point. However, most consumers when making a purchase expect their product or service to perform as advertised. If this happens 100% of the time then usually your reputation will be strong.
- Thank your customer. By letting your customer know that you know they have choices and you appreciate their business you have taken one of the easiest steps available. It is a fact. You are not the only game in town. Consumers have more choices than ever, and they know this. Let your customer know that you are happy to have earned their business every chance you get.
- Give your Customers a Chance to Talk. Now, most people do not go home and take the time to write a great review. (Some customers do, but most don’t). Most Online Reviews are written by individuals who feel they did not get the treatment or value from the business they patronized. Usually businesses never know that this customer was unhappy until the review has been posted for the world to see. This will happen to the best of companies or organizations. So, if you have taken care of Point Number 1 and Point Number 2 then you will not have to worry about many negative reviews posting on your personal review sites. However, you must ask your happy customers to share their wonderful experience online. In general, customers would love to share their great experience if it is easy and convenient as long as the first two points happen. If you are receiving ten positive reviews for every one negative post then your Online Reputation will be solid.
- Respond to all. Businesses and organizations should respond to every review. All too often, most reviews are never acknowledge online in a public forum. Take the time to thank the customer for taking the time to write the review. Second, address the information (both positive and negative) in each review. That means you must read the review. It shows you care. Do NOT post a generic response because you are telling the world that you really do not care about the time your customer took to share their experience. Do not just respond to negative reviews or to only the positive reviews. This also sends a poor message to the group of consumers you are not responding to.
- Social Media is also Online Reputation. Understand that your Online Reputation is not only expressed on review sites such as Google, Yelp, CitySearch and others. Your reputation is anything and everything that is posted online. That means Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress and other Social Media Sites also hold the keys to your Online Reputation. Businesses must have a plan to understand and work their social media network. A recent blog; ‘Is your business Social’ shares the importance of understanding how to allow use Social Media to improve your business. It is very important to blend both Social Media Marketing and Online Reputation together to help share your story with the world.
Now unless your digital legs are stronger than the most tested athletes of all-time than you will need to place your efforts into Online Reputation because you cannot run from it. Since the beginning of time, reputation is everything and your business has to have a plan. As you have just read, it isn’t hard to understand what to do about managing your Online Reputation. You just have to do it, and have the right plan of action.
DeliveryMaxx is a full digital service provider for Social Media Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Search Engine Optimization, and complete Content Management program. Their Patent-Pending Program cannot be duplicated and gives their family of clients a competitive advantage. Clients include automotive dealerships, attorneys, church organizations, non-profits, hotels & hospitality and many more. For more information visit http://www.deliverymaxx.com or contact 888.936.6299.