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Reputation management is a crucial aspect of controlling and influencing how the audience perceives a brand. By effectively responding to customer feedback, companies can shape and manage their reputation. They employ various tactics, such as social media monitoring and analysis of reports from customer care teams, to gain insights into their reputation. Channels like social media, emails, and chatbots are used to engage with customers and address their concerns.
Why Companies Can’t Ignore Customer Feedback
In today’s crowded marketplace, maintaining a good business reputation is essential. With numerous brands and solutions available, reputation is fragile and easily damaged. Customers are more likely to share negative experiences on social media, comments sections, and forums, which can harm a brand’s image. Prospective customers often rely on reviews and ratings to make purchasing decisions, and a plethora of negative feedback can deter them from becoming customers.
This importance of reputation extends to various industries, including eCommerce businesses selling products on platforms like Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress. It also applies to shops, restaurants, real estate agencies, and governmental organizations that appear in Google search results. For example, when people search for a “vegan restaurant near me,” they typically check the reviews displayed in the right-hand corner of the search results page. If the overall rating is less than 4 stars and negative feedback dominates the comments section, potential customers are likely to choose a different restaurant.
To maintain a positive reputation, companies need to address negative feedback effectively. This is where reputation management comes into play. Let’s explore how reputation management works and its three stages.
How Reputation Management Works
Reputation management involves a three-stage process:
- Feedback detection
- Developing a strategy
- Dealing with negativity
The first step is to identify harmful feedback online. This can be done by monitoring feedback sections on eCommerce platforms like Amazon and eBay in real-time. Additionally, reviews in Google search results can be analyzed, and customer support managers can provide regular reports on customer feedback for online shops.
Given that a significant portion of online communication occurs on social media, it is crucial to monitor brand mentions across various platforms. Social media monitoring tools are commonly used by marketers to detect brand mentions with or without hashtags on specific social media platforms.
Developing a Strategy
Once feedback has been detected, the next step is to gather user feedback and create reports based on platforms and patterns. By analyzing these reports, companies can identify recurring issues or patterns that contribute to negative feedback. It may be a specific product, a particular manager, or a recurring problem like delayed order delivery. Having all feedback consolidated in one place makes it easier to identify and address these patterns effectively.
Based on the insights gained from these reports, companies can develop a strategy to address negative feedback. This involves prioritizing tasks and assigning a manager responsible for reputation management. Efficient resource organization is key to the success of reputation management efforts.
Dealing with Negativity
There are several ways to handle negative customer feedback online. The simplest and often most effective approach is to respond promptly to negative reviews or social media posts from a brand account. Each problem should be analyzed, and a sincere apology should be offered along with a proposed solution to satisfy the customer.
In addition to addressing feedback directly, there are other strategies for reputation management:
- Submitting press releases to authoritative online websites to suppress negative content.
- Submitting a legal takedown request if someone posts misleading information about the brand to harm the business.
- Obtaining positive feedback from public figures and social media influencers relevant to the brand’s niche.
- Offering free products to YouTube and Instagram reviewers to increase the chances of positive feedback.
- Proactively responding to public criticism regarding recent changes in pricing policies.
However, it is important to note that some reputation management tactics, such as comment removal and creating anonymous accounts to post positive reviews, raise ethical questions. Companies must decide whether to employ these tactics based on their own values and legal regulations.
Now that we understand how reputation management works, let’s explore the steps to creating an effective reputation management strategy.
How to Build a Reputation Management Strategy
Building a reputation management strategy involves the following six steps:
Detect where people comment and mention your brand: Identify the platforms where customers leave feedback and mention your brand. This includes social media platforms, professional forums, comment sections on your blog, Trustpilot reviews, and local queries on Google.
Choose monitoring tools: Select suitable monitoring tools to track and aggregate user feedback, including social media mentions with or without hashtags. Popular tools for social media and online monitoring include Sprout Social and Hootsuite.
Decide how to react to certain feedback: Develop specific templates to respond swiftly and effectively to different types of feedback. Consider the tone and language that best fit each situation and address the negative emotions of unsatisfied customers.
Prioritize tasks: Determine which platforms are most important for your business reputation and create a queue to prioritize feedback on a daily or weekly basis. This ensures that you address the most critical issues promptly.
Assign a responsible manager: If there is a significant volume of feedback across various platforms, assign a part-time or full-time manager to handle reputation management. This individual will be responsible for monitoring feedback, responding to negative reviews, and implementing the reputation management strategy.
Prevent negativity: Take proactive measures to prevent negative feedback by ensuring efficient delivery processes, implementing a fair return policy, adhering to relevant regulations, and following best practices in eCommerce marketing. By addressing potential issues before they arise, you can maintain a positive business reputation.
In conclusion, reputation management is vital for businesses to maintain a positive image in today’s competitive landscape. By effectively managing customer feedback and addressing negativity, companies can shape and control their reputation. Implementing a comprehensive reputation management strategy enables businesses to stay ahead and establish trust with their audience.