As a small business owner, you know it takes months — and even years — to earn the trust of your customers. Losing credibility, however, takes very little time — and its impact is far greater.
Negative Online Reviews: A Bigger Risk for Small Businesses
A scathing review posted online is often enough to hurt your growing business. It could be a negative review on your Facebook page or a Google review that potential customers see when they look you up. That’s what data from reputation management firm ReputationManagement.com seems to suggest.
Research shows businesses are at risk of losing 22 percent of their business when potential customers find just one negative article on the first page of their search results. It goes without saying, negative comments are something businesses in general and small businesses in particular cannot take lightly.
Steps to Avoid an Online Reputation Crisis
Luckily, there are some simple things small businesses can do to mitigate the damage of negative reviews.
The first step to avoiding business loss caused by negative reviews is to monitor what customers are saying about your business. You must pay special attention to niche review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor where negative feedback has greater ramifications.
Do you have a team of social media experts to take care of your digital footprint? If not, it’s probably a good idea to hire some specialists now.
Social media experts can help you monitor your online reputation and create comprehensive plans to achieve a more positive brand image.
It’s important to respond to online reviews — regardless of whether they recommend your brand or not. When responding, be patient and tactful to engage customers.
4.Review and Learn
Constant evaluation of the reviews you receive online can help you analyze the efficacy of your plan. It can also help you recover public opinion.