Your online reputation, or what people find when they Google you, is one of your most valuable assets. The bad news is that not everyone has a perfect online reputation. The good news? There’s a lot you can do to change that.

Here are a few tips:

Have a plan to catch issues early

Address bad reviews as soon as possible. This means having a plan in place to detect bad reviews quickly. Whether that’s using a reputation monitoring service or taking time to inventory your social media accounts on a weekly basis, reputation monitoring should be an integral part of your social media checklist.

Respond to negative reviews promptly and politely

You’ve worked hard to grow your business, so a bad review can sting. Still, the last thing you want to do is get into an online “shouting” match with a dissatisfied customer. Instead, try being empathetic, apologetic and solution-oriented. Saying “I’m sorry” or “I understand why that would frustrate you” go a long way in defusing a potentially nasty exchange.

Control the conversation

You can’t always control what questions are asked of you, but you can always control how you answer. When it comes to responding to a bad online review, try “flipping the script”. For instance, instead of saying “Sorry for the delay, but we don’t control the mail” when responding to a delayed shipment, try saying “We apologize for your late shipment. We’re proud to say that 99% of the time our shipments are on time, but there are circumstances beyond our control that may delay shipment.” Framing your response this way acknowledges the customer’s frustration, but also gives you an opportunity to shine.

Take the conversation offline

If the review lends itself to a more personal touch, ask if you can contact the review privately via email or phone. This helps to keep potential escalations diffused out of the public eye. Plus, if warranted, it can allow you to the opportunity to offer a small gift of appeasement without having to make the exchange public.

Get the complaint removed

In rare circumstances, review sites may allow you to have untrue or particularly egregious complaints removed. For instance, Yelp’s content guidelines call out threats, harassment, lewd language and hate speech as being content violations. So, if any of those are in a review that you feel unfairly targets your business, you can ask to have it removed for ToS (terms of service) and/or content violations. It never hurts to try.

Be proactive

The more positive reviews you get, the less visible the occasional bad review will look. Sending a thank you note after a work is completed or asking for a review via sales receipt are 2 easy ways to garner more positive reviews. Feel uncomfortable asking or not sure where to start? Get a system in place to maximize those positive reviews. Our ReviewFlow program is an awesome and affordable place to start.

Need some other ideas on ways to get more good reviews and improve your online reputation? Call 414-208-0700 or fill out our contact form today to see how our team can help. We offer a full suite of reputation monitoring and social media management services.

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