In an age where most people rely on online search results when gathering information, the need to maintain a good online reputation becomes more important than ever. This is particularly true for all businesses – both established and startups – because they are prone to receiving negative online reviews from unsatisfied customers, even if they provide high-quality and honest services. So what happens when a legitimate business becomes a target of potentially damaging online reviews? This is where crisis management comes in.
Online reputation is key to the success of a business since it can affect not only overall sales, but also the attitude of its employees as well as its chances for growth. Thus, it is a must for businesses to take the right action when crisis strikes.
Addressing the Issue Immediately
Kasper Worm-Petersen of GRASP notes that the growth of social media hasn’t changed the way businesses should act when dealing with a crisis. What has changed, however, is the immediacy by which businesses should address a crisis. Social media guarantees that “any skeletons in your closet will eventually be put on public display,” so it is important for businesses to face the issue right away in order to prevent it from blowing out of proportion. In addition, issuing an apology and publicly acknowledging shortcomings can’t hurt; customers will see that the business is making an effort to improve its services.
Engaging with Customers
Another important step in online reputation repair is to connect with customers through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Aside from boosting a business’ online presence, this also helps establish a good reputation among customers, especially when they receive timely updates and replies for product or service queries. Social networking sites can serve as a means for businesses to address misinformation, particularly when it is affecting the sales of a product or service.
Keeping Track of Online Reputation
It is recommended that all businesses, even those that aren’t facing a crisis, apply this step because it can provide them with insights on how they are perceived by their customers. By simply running a Google search, businesses can get an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, they can look for other damaging reviews or factual errors regarding their products and services.
In crisis management, it is important for businesses to remember that information travels much faster with social media, which is why there is a need to address every issue immediately while always maintaining composure. As Worm-Petersen notes, “You need to just keep calm and face it head on.”