• BBB News: The Top 3 Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation

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    September 08, 2017

    The Better Business Bureau released this article this week.

    “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” -Warren Buffet

    Eight out of ten consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. And it isn't just products or services that people are looking at. They're also scoping out your business. They want to know what other customers are saying about your work, the quality of your customer service, how qualified your team is, and most importantly if they can trust you. 

    Since most consumers will see your online reputation before anything else, this presents you with an incredible opportunity—the chance to give consumers a positive first impression. At the same time, your digital reputation can work against you if ignored. All it takes is one negative review, unresolved complaint, or false piece of information to turn prospective customers away.

    Take a proactive approach to managing and protecting your online reputation by integrating these three steps into your normal operations. 

    1. Find and Track Your Business 

    “Failure to track what is being said about you online is asking for trouble. If you don't know what is being said, you can't respond, and if you don't respond and help to solve the problem the next thing you know is that the problem is out of all control and you will lose business because of it," according to Distilled.net. 

    To see what is being said about you around the web, you have to first identify where people are finding your business. And with internet access in the U.S. and Canada just shy of 90%, there are plenty of sources for consumers to learn about your business's reputation. Here are a few most commonly used:

    • Search engines (Google, Bing, etc.)
    • Consumer review sites (Angie's List, Yelp, etc.)

    • BBB.org 

    • Company website/blogs

    • Social media pages

    A good starting point for locating your business online is to simply do what a consumer might do—type your company's name into a search engine and see what comes up. You might also consider using yext.com. This free site will scan the web and pinpoint all locations in which your business is mentioned. All you have to do is enter your company name and phone number.

    Once you've located the sites where your business is listed, you'll then want to verify that all information listed is accurate and up to date. Google Alerts and other tools can help monitor your digital reputation by alerting you each time your company's name is mentioned online. 


    Sources: AdweekHavard Business Review

     

    2. Respond to Consumer Reviews

    91% of consumers regularly visit consumer review sites and 88% say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In addition to tracking reviews, it's just as important that you respond to your customers. This shows you care about and value their opinions. Here are some tips for responding to both negative and positive reviews.

    Responding to negative customer reviews: Your language and tone should be warm, professional, and non-defensive. For example, "We are deeply sorry you were unsatisfied with our customer service. We value you as a customer and would like to make it up to you. What is the best way to reach you?"

    Responding to positive customer reviews: Your language and tone should be appreciative, excited, and grateful. For example, “Thank you for your feedback. We’re glad you had a good experience and were satisfied with our level of customer service. We value you as a customer and look forward to serving you again!” That extra touch never gets old and never goes unnoticed. Those customers will stick with you because you are a company who genuinely cares about them.

    Some free tools that make it easy to track and respond to online reviews are Google My Business and freereviewmentoring.com


    Sources: "Your Guide To Becoming The Most Talked About Brand"BrightLocal


    3. Build Trust Through Transparency

    Transparency isn’t just a “buzz word” lightly used in today's marketplace, it's an expectation that consumers have for companies they do business with. Gone are the days of faceless businesses that hide behind their office doors, logos, websites, and commercials. When online, today's consumers want to connect with real, approachable, and transparent companies just like they would in person.

    Through using your business's website, blog, email newsletter, social media pages, and other channels, you can foster transparency by implementing these best practices: 

    Use the digital BBB Accreditation Seal.
    Clients recognize this as an instant symbol of trust when they see it on your website and other online assets. Contact your local BBB representative for help or questions about how to get your digital BBB Accreditation Seal if you are not already using it.

    Share your successes.
    Share your company’s accomplishments and awards. Let your customers celebrate with you and let them know that your success is their success because no award or accolade would be possible without them.

    Share your passions.
    Show current and prospective customers who the people really are behind your brand. Talk about your team's interests outside of work. Share any community involvement efforts or other noble causes your business contributes to and invite your customers to participate as well.

    Share your company culture.
    Pull back the curtain and let your customers get a behind-the-scenes peek of what your business does on a daily basis. You don't have to show everything, but let customers and prospects learn about how your staff interacts, any special events, and whatever else makes your business unique. 

    Show your imperfections. 
    According to entrepreneur.com, “Transparency isn't all about your successes." Being humble and owning your mistakes shows that you are a business of integrity. It sends the message to your customers that if by chance a mistake is made, they know you will make it right.

    Running a transparent business does more than just strengthen your company's reputation, it also affects your bottom line. Eighty-one percent of consumers say they would willingly sample a brand's entire range of products if comfortable with its level of transparency, and 56% say they would be loyal to a company for life if it provided complete transparency.   
     


    Sources: Inc


    Keep the Process Going

    Creating and maintaining a positive online reputation is vital to running any successful business. However, this process isn't a one-and-done type investment. It should be continuous and ongoing. 

    If your reputation is struggling, don’t despair, go repair. Use these tools to help you turn your reputation around. Businesses who earn good reputations online are experts at making sure all their information is accurate, responding to customers, and acting transparently. 

    Contact:
    Elizabeth Hays, Accredited Business Marketing Coordinator
    (512) 445-4748
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