How important is online reputation management for business?
The Importance of Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management has become critical as technology has advanced and the digital age has begun. Prospective and existing clients will talk about the companies they do business with and the reputation of the business must be protected for the company to succeed. Bad ratings online and negative reviews on social media sites can cripple a business. Clients will question the credibility of the business when they see phrases like this is the worst company ever, this business is not recommended and I had a horrible experience. The growth and success of the business are dependent on a good online reputation. This means the business must be aware of what their customers are talking about online to effectively counteract any bad reviews. There are many ways to ensure the strategies used for online reputation management are both well thought out and effective.
The Credibility and Trust Factors
One of the best possible ways for a business to succeed is to gain the trust of their customers. These individuals will talk about the experience they had with their friends and family as well as sharing their opinions on social media. If the experience was positive, this will lead to excellent word of mouth. If the customers are unhappy with the services, products or customer service, there is an excellent chance they will post a poor review online. This news will spread like wildfire and the context can damage the credibility of the business. This can easily cost the business potential customers. When the online reputation of the business is managed properly, any negative reviews can be defused prior to becoming an issue. Same goes with the business directory pages. If your brand is listed on reputed directories and has proper details for the readers, there are higher chances for people to trust it and opt for it. Take an example of Youi New Zealand’s well-maintained and detailed directory on finder.com.
The Company Sales
Most people will do an online search regarding the services and products offered by a business prior to making a purchase. If the business is not aware of what customers are saying about them online, the public reviews may prevent the potential customer from making a purchase. Online reviews enable a business to know where improvements are necessary. If the needs of the customers are ignored and the improvements are not made, it will result in declining sales. If the business is not current with the online reviews, the brand will suffer as time passes and the business may fail.
A Professional Image
The first actions potential investors such as the general public, corporations and banks will take when interested in a business is to perform a Google search. Investors may view the business differently than customers but their opinion is just as important. Their investment decisions will be based partially on the information they find online. If the business has a negative reputation, the investors are going to look somewhere else.
People state their opinions on numerous online channels including blog sites, review sites and social media platforms. They are free to say anything they like. Any negative opinions, comments, reviews or ratings are going to spread through the community very quickly. This will create numerous issues for the business. The best possible way to handle this type of negativity is to use online reputation management to ensure consumers see the brand in a positive light. This will build trust with the customers over time.
ROI can be improved with online reputation management. Technology has ensured everyone from the general public to potential investors are gathering information regarding specific businesses online. This is a large part of how consumers make their purchasing decisions and investors decide which business they are willing to work with. Negative online footprints will cause a business to lose potential clients and investors.
The global statistics have stated approximately eighty percent of all consumers check online reviews before they make a purchase. Any company with a bad reputation or negative online reviews is risking losing a lot of sales and business opportunities. A good online reputation translates into more sales and a successful business. If the business is unaware of any negativity online they will be unable to manage their reputation.
Maintaining the Position of The Brand
Online reputation management is critical for maintaining the position of the brand. Any negative perceptions regarding the brand create discord among the loyal customers and fans. When a business professionally answers a negative review and satisfies the needs of the customer it makes a tremendous impact. This impresses the existing and potential customers and strengthens the brand.
Understanding the Customers
Online reputation management gives the business the ability to communicate effectively with their customers. This can be used to eliminate social media rumors, answer questions, offer solutions for any issues, negate false claims and understand the needs of the customers. A business not actively employing an online reputation strategy is losing customers. Embracing an online reputation management strategy helps the business grow by improving the reputation of the company online.
Including the name of the business adds transparency and provides a higher ranking in the search engines. When potential customers visit the website and see a full bio on an About page it is the beginning of trust. When the business also has a good reputation online, a blog and a news section, the potential customers see an accurate reflection of the company. This provides credibility. Placing a call to action on the website to purchase the product, call the company, ask questions or sign up for a newsletter will help in sales conversions. It is important the potential and existing customers can easily contact the business. This means providing an email address, live chat or phone number for the customers.
The Bottom Line
The days of signs in concrete and mortar location windows and an ad in the newspaper to secure a companies reputation are in the past. Whether the business is online or not, their reputation is. Managing the online reputation of the business has become the best possible way to achieve trust, growth, sales and success.