As the internet becomes a greater influence on our daily lives with each year passing by, bad reputations online can truly become a hazard for both businesses and individuals alike. In the latter case, one could even be affected when searching for a job, as a new trend amongst employers is to search for their candidates’ Facebook profiles and determine what kind of personalities and hobbies they have. Candidates with an inappropriate or inexistent profile could be disadvantaged.
As far as companies are concerned, bad reputations online are generally built with the “help” of negative reviews coming from past customers. In marketing, it is believes that one satisfied client will refer and speak of your product or service to another 3 to 5 friends, but an unhappy client will speak badly about your business to another 10 people. Some companies truly believe that “publicity is still publicity, no matter if it’s positive or negative”. Would you agree on that? Is there any way in which negative advertising can benefit your business?
Because bad reputations online will obviously attract a similar reputation offline. The best way to combat something is to prevent it from happening, the next question is: what can your company do in order to improve customer satisfaction? It takes everything from having kind and charismatic employees that know how to talk to customers, how a boss treats his workers and provides a decent and sustainable working environment, how press relations are handles and event how clean the office is.
However, the number one cause that leads to bad online reputation is not delivering that which you have promised.
There are currently many companies that mislead their target market into promising and outcome they fail to deliver. It’s anything from removing every stain, protecting your teeth and promising a smartphone with an unbreakable display. The best example of that is the recent iPhone 5 that promised a new smartphone experience. In the end, users discovered that it was nothing more than the iPhone 4S with a couple of new features and a screen taller than the one found on its predecessors. It was not long before forums were filled with negative comments on the new iPhone and people who were frustrated for paying lots of money for something a lot more expensive, but not necessarily better.
Bad reputations online can cost a doctor his patients and a politician the elections.
So what should you do when negative reviews are being posted online about your products or services? Performing a Google search with the name of your products and services from time to time may be a wise decision. Each time you discover a negative review, try to offer your own insight on the situation. Answer or post comments in a respectful manner, using decent language and addressing the issue that person has with what you had to offer. Try to settle your differences and answer all the negative reviews that you find.
Do you have some other ideas on how to improve bad reputation online? Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment.