Most of us have taken the plunge to be more present with our businesses online. We blog. Post on Facebook. We also tweet and link in with those who are important to our business success. In today’s podcast, please let me share with you the ways I suggest to all of my corporate and coaching clients to manage your online reputation.
If you haven’t already become more active online for business purposes, I am sure you are considering it. Social media in particular is an effective AND efficient way to market and a lot of companies are jumping on that bandwagon, offering promotions, coupons, advance notice of special announcements, and other things to lure people to Like and Follow them online.
So there are many good things about having an active and strong online presence but for as many good things, there are things to think about and consider as you let your fingers get busy tapping out posts and blogs. And one of these things, that we’re talking about in today’s podcast, is your online reputation.
Consider this. A customer has an unpleasant experience in your store or with your business. They try to make contact with someone from your organization who can help them, but their pleas for assistance seem to fall on deaf ears. This unhappy customer may become so frustrated that they decide to take to the internet to share what they are experiencing.
Here’s the problem. If you don’t have a good monitoring system in place, and procedures for how to handle customer complaints online, things can quickly spiral out of control. What’s sad is that those reading the online discussions are only hearing one side of the story. What’s even sadder is that many employees responsible for managing a company’s social media feel the need to come to the company’s defense and an argument is born.
We’ve all read them. We find ourselves not being able to turn away. It’s like passing that car wreck on the highway.
So in today’s podcast, please let me share with you the ways I suggest to all of my corporate and coaching clients to manage your online presence.
- Answer customer questions and handle customer complaints before they appear online. Make someone in your organization responsible for getting back to customers in a timely manner.
- Monitor your sites. Be sure to check each day, possibly several times a day depending on how active your site is, to see if comments need attention.
- Respond quickly.
- Take responsibility for the situation. Assure the readers that you want to get the situation resolved.
- Be honest and transparent.
- Correct any information that may not be accurate. State this simply. Don’t over-communicate at this point.
- Make an offer for the unhappy customer to contact you off line to continue the discussion and find a resolution.
- To begin to rebuild your reputation, do something special for your online audience. This might take the form of a special give-away, a special coupon or a special discount.
With Facebook users numbering in the multi-billions, 225 million LinkedIn members, and over 58 million tweets a day, you can easily see how a company can quickly fall from grace if unhappy customers take to the internet.
Just remember. How you manage complaints and issues in the very public forum of the online world, can speak volumes about the culture of your business and it may be the determining factor of whether or not someone chooses to do business with you or your competition.