When a customer has a complaint at your business, you have the opportunity to correct things right then, right there. What happens when they wait to make their complaint? Instead of addressing the issue there in the store, some customers choose to make reviews online, detailing a bad experience. If you do not monitor your online reputation, you could be losing customers without realizing it.
The Downside of Online Review Sites
Sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor allow consumers to make posts about their purchasing experiences. When positive, these reviews have the potential to greatly improve your customer base. After all, word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to generate new leads. Social media revolutionized the referral process, moving a lot of conversation about businesses, online. With nearly half of all cellphone users making the transition to smartphones, consumers have all the information posted on the Internet at their fingertips. Now, the modern consumer uses apps and local searches to find nearby businesses with good reputations. Negative online comments push potential customers to your competitors.
Making a Positive Out of a Negative
Managing your online reputation allows you to capitalize on the the Internet distribution channel. Properly handled, negative reviews online can actually add to your reputation. Did you know that all reputable review sites allow you to contact the poster directly? When a customer posts a negative review you have a second chance to address the conflict. Prompt attention can turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Another benefit to negative reviews is the opportunity to build an online presence that is more trustworthy. If you come across a business that has only positive reviews, it can make you uneasy. After all, people are much more likely to post a negative review than a positive one. Tons of 5-star reviews with no bad experiences makes it seem like a company stuffs the ballot box, so to speak. Reviews online that include both the pros and cons seem more reliable. Plus, a few issues, promptly resolved, demonstrate your commitment to customer service. When you reach out to a commenter, the entire community can see your reply, helping to build your company reputation.
Taking Proactive Steps to Manage Your Reputation
When a customer in-store complains, you take steps to reverse their opinion. When customers complain online, you should take the same steps. Not every customer is comfortable registering a complaint, making the task of providing excellent customer service a real challenge. Reviews online allow you to re-open the lines of communication. Monitoring review sites does not have to be a time consuming process, but it is a necessary one. Careful online reputation management opens up tremendous selling potential by leveraging the power of communication to your benefit.