In the past, a company’s reputation was tied to conventional advertising methods on the radio, in newspapers or on TV, as well as word-of-mouth exchanges between people. With the birth of the Internet and the digital age, reputations are now discussed, shared, and commented on through various online forums, review sites, and social media platforms.
Today, consumers will spend time conducting their own research prior to deciding to engage in business with a company, whether it is a small, family-owned and operated establishment or a Fortune 500 company. Where do they discover details about businesses online? Through search engine results leading to links to social media sites and other online forums.
Managing your online reputation through social media has become an important factor ensuring the success of your business. While most businesses are quick to respond to positive comments and glowing reviews and feedback, many are actually more reserved when it comes to negativity online. In fact, some simply ignore unfavourable feedback thinking a few bad comments or posts is easily offset by the larger numbers of positive posts.
Think again – Negative feedback can result in growing a negative reputation online. In addition, ignoring the comments can lead the unhappy customer taking things into their own hands to let as many people know about their poor experience with your business. They are eager to let all of their social media followers, on all of their preferred platforms, know exactly what happened and why they are upset with your company. In other words, this is the new “word-of-mouth” exchange.
What can you do to ensure you are managing your social media reputation correctly?
Start by engaging with all of your customers, regardless of their posts. For positive posts, a quick thank-you to the customer for taking the time to provide their feedback is often sufficient. When it comes to negative comments, you need to be a little more thoughtful before posting a response.
The key thing to remember is to never post a response when you are upset or angered by the initial post. This can only add “fuel to the fire,” so to speak, and create an even bigger dent in your reputation. The best approach is to first thank the person for their feedback and making you aware of their unpleasant experience.
After this acknowledgement, take the time and put yourself in the customer’s “shoes.” Go through and provide a response for each of their complaints in a positive manner, without shifting blame or making it seem like the customer does not know what they are talking about.
For instance, if they complained about their wait staff and how they were treated at your restaurant, it would be appropriate to apologize for the poor service and inform them that due to their feedback you are initiating ongoing customer service training for all of your wait staff so that they can better meet each customer’s expectations. Close out the response by inviting the customer to give your business another chance and to contact you directly if they would like to discuss the matter further and in greater detail. For more complex issues and problems it is always best to arrange an off-line exchange with the customer, either over the phone or in person to discuss and address their concerns.
By taking the time to respond to negative posts on social media and other online forums it lets current and potential customers know you truly do care about your business and reputation. For assistance in managing your social media reputation, fell free to call Webryze at (416) 900-1047 now!