Good reputation, bad reputation, no reputation… Whether you think your local business one has a good reputation or not, it’s time to stop thinking and start truly finding out what your biz rep is before it starts creeping up on you like a dose of poison ivy… Don’t care? Well you better take notice, or a few of your competitors might and then well, you’ll be itching and scratching…
Reputation, the killer of businesses and the boogeyman under many a local business owner’s bed. Why is it that simple word of mouth can undermine all the good work you’re doing? It’s pretty simple: nobody wants to get ripped off or buy subpar services or products. What’s that you’re saying? “But my business isn’t like that?” Well, that won’t matter much if other people think it is.
Bad rep can spread scary fast and be extremely difficult to subvert: Harry got a bad product and talked to a rude customer support clerk. Now, Harry has a deep-running hate for your business and everything related to it. It doesn’t matter that it was an incident out of your control and that you yourself would not have been rude to Harry – Harry sees you as a stereotypical evil company.
Now, Harry will tell all his friends and family (potentially dozens or hundreds of people) how badly you’ve ripped him off, instructing all of them never to do business with you. If the story was bad enough, they might even gossip about it with their own families and friends. Suddenly, an entire network of individuals loathing your business is created – they’ll never use your services, and they’ll ward off any potential clientele of yours that they come in contact with.
Consider that our little ‘ol Harry is just a single person, despite potentially having an influence on hundreds. What if you had bad deals with 5 customers? 10? 20? Make no mistake about it – negative reputation isn’t something you can afford. Like weeds can destroy a beautiful garden, negative online reviews will ruin your chances of attracting new customers and your clientele will consist mostly of people close to you or your employees – not a very sustainable business model.
Reputation management – weeding out the bad online reviews your business got
The digital age made reputation a tougher cookie. The situation mentioned above sounds bad enough, but before, it would have been confined to your local area. Now, though? Now the whole world will have a chance to read the musings of your disgruntled customers. It’s time for some reputation management…
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” – Benjamin Franklin
Why you do NOT want to be dealing with negative reviews
- When a person makes a bad review of your business on a site like Google+ or Yelp, you best believe it’s there to stay. It won’t be going anywhere for years, no matter what you do.
- Because of this, you also can’t hope people will “forget” about any bad things they heard about your business – sorry, partner, no chance.
- It’s an unwritten rule that people trust neutral sites with unaffiliated customers more than someone or something trying to make your business look good. Ads can make a person take note, your website can get them interested, but it will be the user reviews that make them decide whether they will use your services.
When Ben Franklin said what he did about good rep, he didn’t even have the internet to deal with yet. When a business’ Yelp page is filled with negative reviews, you can bet your house that they are losing heaps of customers. If you run such a business, I can guarantee you could be making twice the money you’re making, or five times the money, or ten times, depending on the extent of the “bad rep contagion”.
We can help you build your reputation back up and to a respectable point. Nobody likes being bad-mouthed, especially when it affects their ability to pay the bills and send their kids off to college. These days, competition is stiff in virtually every field – if your competitors have a good rep, your customers will be going to them thinking “Thank God I read the Google+ review and avoided that lousy business!” So ask yourselves…
- Are bad employees dragging me down? Very few people enjoy firing someone, but sometimes, not doing so can be detrimental to the entire company. Do you have a snide and cynical phone operative teaching customers a lesson? Maybe it’s time to let them go.
- Do I have more good reviews than bad? Every bad review counts, but so does every good one. The more good reviews you have, the likelier your prospective clientele is to think that the naysayers are loonies.
- Am I showing a positive change? If a bunch of ex-customers are all complaining about the same thing, make an effort to showcase you made improvements in that precise aspect – perhaps by making a point of it on your website.
Reputation management? I don’t have any reputation, good or bad!
Hey, at least nobody’s saying anything bad, right? Wrong! While there is certainly such a thing as bad publicity when it comes to businesses, no publicity at all is pretty lame. Nobody knows you, nobody knows why they should do business with you, nobody knows what you can do… Not a good position to be in. On the bright side, creating a good rep for someone doing good work is a lot easier than having to worry about removing someone’s ‘Stay away!’ label.
We don’t just help people track the fumes of bad rep and put out the fire – We can also help you get on people’s radars. This is most often an issue with new businesses, but you’d be surprised by how often we see even experienced business owners neglect working on creating a good name for themselves, probably thinking that if they just do good work, the clients will come. They might, but not nearly as many – it helps to nudge things in the right direction and get the ball rolling with some good old marketing wizardry.
Once you’ve polished your business and have confidence that your customers will like what they get, it’s time to spread the word and let them know how awesome you are! Get people talking about you, get those positive reviews, and become a household name in your line of work. I’ve talked plenty about not being a warning, but to really make it, you’ll need to go out of your way to become a recommendation – that’s how the big bucks are made.