Now more than ever, businesses are facing unparalleled scrutiny by regulators, by the public and by investors. If a company’s reputation becomes tarnished by negative or even neutral feedback, it can mean the collapse of the company's reputation and consumer confidence.
In our changing media and economic environment, establishing and protecting a company’s reputation has become more important than ever. Business Week, in a 2007 article titled “What Price Reputation,” posted the chart below on the powerful boost in shareholder value when a company has a reputation demonstrably superior to its competition.
As online forums and consumer blogging increase in popularity by the minute, it becomes more and more important for businesses to do everything they can to preserve the purity of their reputation. Even if a business has provided years of uncanny service, it is still possible for anyone to smudge their reputation anonymously through online reviews, on forums or even through a comments section on their own website. Negative feedback can be toxic to potential clients and could be the deciding factor that pushes them away from purchasing your products or services.
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A lot of businesses try to let sleeping dogs lie by just ignoring negative reviews that they might receive on consumer blogs and forums, because they might not know how to change them or they might think that one poor review won’t hurt them. This could not be further from the truth. Consumers are becoming more educated about what they purchase and are doing more research to find their best options for what they are looking for, because there is more information that is easily available to them. All they have to do is type the name of your company into the search engine of their choice and they will be able to find a plethora of information about your business, either on your website or in consumer directories.
The information on your website might be safe, but online directories are like the virtual “Wild West”. This includes unsatisfied customers and your competitors. It isn’t uncommon for businesses to post negative reviews on other businesses in order to sabotage sales for them. Anybody can post reviews on your products or services and link them to other blogs and websites, which will reinforce their credibility. This type of negativity will build momentum, as other Internet users read it and link it to more sites and blogs. Eventually, search engines will discover this web of links and index it on their search results pages for keywords that are relevant to the review. You can’t really stop this; but you can handle it accordingly.
Online reputation management can be the saving grace of a lot of businesses. By incorporating carefully crafted techniques, you can protect your business’ online reputation, so that potential prospects are only going to find information about the redeeming qualities of your business, rather than misleading information that presents your business in an unfavorable light. Taking a proactive approach is the best way to combat this type of slander. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive feedback on consumer forums by offering them incentives, linking your site to positive reviews and other beneficial reputation management tactics can really help your business maintain its sterling reputation.
Protect and restore your online reputation today. Contact us at (903) 230-5603 to get started.