Contrary to popular belief, business owners have full control over their online reputations. But there’s a catch! Gaining control over an online reputation requires consistent involvement from the business owner.

The Bad

Review websites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Angie’s List offer the general public a way to recommend a business or dissuade others from using it. Most reviewers are motivated by an exceptional experience, whether that be positive or negative. Unfortunately, many who have a positive experience aren’t inspired to review a business. They’re complacent because pleasantry and satisfaction is much less of a call to action than, let’s say, anger or frustration. Because of the opportunity for all to participate, many business owners end up with online reputations that they simply do not deserve.

The Good

The good news is, you can take control of your online reputation and you should! If you have bad reviews present online, you NEED to show your face and deal with them publicly. If you have great reviews online, involving yourself will keep that standing firm. If you have no existing reviews on your reputation profiles, it’s time to start letting people know those profiles exist. Are you ready to take control of your reputation? Great! Here’s how it’s done.

Taking Action

Many reputation platforms, namely Yelp, Google Reviews, and Angie’s list offer the ability for business accounts to respond publicly to their reviews. Responding publicly is an indication that the business is operating with customer service in mind, that they truly care about the actions of their employees, and that they value feedback. Especially among neutral or negative reviews, responding could encourage that person and many others who visit the profile to give the business a try.

How It’s Done

Of course, this depends on the nature of the review response. There are 4 different stances reviewers tend to take while participating in your online reputation:

  1. Praise
  2. Indifference
  3. Neutrality (positives and negatives)
  4. Complaining

 

Responding to praise is an easy, often delightful experience. You’ve been paid a compliment and you deserve that! The next step is to respond with your appreciation. If possible, touch upon something specific they mentioned and express your interest in working with them again.

Responding to indifferent reviews should be short and standard. It’s sometimes puzzling why these reviewers take the time to leave their comments, but if someone has left a short, indifferent review, your response could actually give value to that review. Thank them for taking the time to list their comments. Let them know you hope to have the chance to really WOW them in the future.

Responding to neutral reviews is more of a tricky formula. You want to address both praise and complaints. If a profile visitor is reading only the review responses and not the reviews (as they often do out of curiosity), it’s important to reiterate the positives first. Show your appreciation. Then, address the specific negative comments and let them know you’ll relay that information back to their team to address the situation head on.

Responding to negative reviews should be done carefully. Try reading the review with little emotion. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and take an empathetic approach. Even if you completely disagree, relay the feeling of understanding. Mention your appreciation for their feedback and for giving you the opportunity to improve your business. If the review is negative and based upon incorrect information, state the misunderstanding, but acknowledge the frustration and express your interest in EARNING their business in the future. If you are interested in rectifying the situation personally, asking them to reach out and speak with you, will often calm their negative thoughts and ease the concerns of others who view your profile.

Reputation management is an integral part of content marketing for your business. Whether reviews are praise, indifference, neutrality, or complaints, the best way to control your reputation online is to get involved, yourself.

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