Strategies to Repair Your Online Reputation

Small business owner checking her online reviews

As soon as you establish a digital presence, your online reputation begins to evolve. Business owners might find that a single bad review is tanking their brand image or resulting in negative search results. In today’s business market, many customers will craft a first impression of your business based on your online reviews. How can you protect your online business reputation with better strategies and proactive measures?

The Challenges of Managing Your Online Reputation

Online reputation management starts with knowing that there are negative reviews or other comments online that might be lowering your star rating and taking action on those issues as soon as possible. The second key factor is boosting your SEO, or search engine optimization, to reach more potential customers and achieve more positive reviews.

There are many ways to monitor your online reputation through individual review websites and Google alerts, or by contracting with online reputation management companies. The most cost-effective way of managing your digital reputation may be to do it yourself with the help of monitoring software and tools designed for business owners.

Managing Your Online Reputation Proactively

The longer you wait to repair an online reputation the more challenging it becomes. To effectively take action on improving your ratings and reviews, start with these strategies:

1.   Identify the Root Causes

Monitor and read your existing reviews and consider whether they are valid. If your product or service is consistently receiving bad reviews for good cause, then you may need to change your processes, train your employees in customer service, and tailor your marketing to reach your target customers. Recognize that negative customer feedback is a powerful tool you can use to improve your business while you are improving your online reputation.

2.   Respond to Valid Complaints and Reviews

Respond to customer feedback as most sites allow you to do. Thank customers for positive reviews and react to valid negative reviews with a clear acknowledgement of the issue, an apology, and your proposed solution or actions already taken to resolve the issue. Your responses make clear to potential customers that you value your clients and treat them with respect.

3.   Recognize When Responding Is Not Helpful

If a negative review is being used by your competition, a disgruntled employee, or another party with a deliberate agenda to damage your reputation, responding more than once might only carry their comments further in the online world. Some review sites are set up for negativity and only seem to host negative reviews and comments which cannot be changed or edited. Posting responses on these sites can boost the negative review in search results.

4.   Have the Negative Reviews Removed

In cases where a negative review is blatantly false, submitted by someone who was never a customer of your business, or is intentionally deceptive, you can flag or report the content to the review site. If their investigation confirms that the review is false or misleading, reputable sites will usually remove it. This can go a long way toward repairing your reputation and restoring your digital standing.

Alternatively if the review is truthful but negative based on the customer’s experience, you can work directly with the customer to resolve the issue to their satisfaction, and then ask them to remove or edit their negative review when they are satisfied with the outcome. It is well worth a discount or future free services to get a negative review out of the online record and turn a dissatisfied customer into a promoter.

5.   Seek Positive Reviews to Counter Negative Ones

Because review systems generally combine the results and report an overall rating for your business, having more positive reviews will dilute the effect of negative ones. When customers take the time to compliment your business, ask them to take a minute and give you an online review. Creating your own blog, website, or Facebook page is another way to control the narrative and maintain the ability to highlight good reviews and moderate negative comments as you repair your online reputation.

6.   Monitor Your Online Reputation 24/7

Make sure that you have claimed your business listing on Google and that all information there is accurate and up to date. This allows you to flag reviews, if needed, and can provide alerts to changes in your ratings. However, there are so many online review sites and services that might have damaging reviews or comments that it can be difficult to watch them all on a regular basis. Using online reputation management software from ReviewInc can keep you on top of what is happening to your online reputation across more than 600 review sites and services.

Using Digital Tools to Improve Your Online Reputation

Small business owner using ReviewInc's online review management software

With an easy-to-use business owner platform that monitors more than 600 review sites and lets you take action on a single customized dashboard, you can streamline your review responses and leverage a full picture of your digital reputation in real time. Knowledge is power when it comes to managing your brand image, and ReviewInc software provides the up-to-date information you need to respond appropriately to all your business feedback. Contact us today for a free demo or to learn more about repairing your online reputation with ReviewInc.