Your Business has an Online Reputation!

Trust attributes

Photo (CC) by Intersection Consulting, Flickr

Every business owner knows that their business has a reputation, both good and bad. They know people who have thanked them for their help and they know customers have left angry (but they probably don’t know them all as we, as consumers, sometimes don’t tell the owner but we let everyone else know).

In the days of traditional media, statistics suggested that a satisfied customer told maybe five people about a good experience. However the dissatisfied consumer may tell as many as 20.

Well today information about the reputation of a business can be found online. Even if it isn’t in one of the online review sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, people make comments on their Facebook page or in a tweet about their experiences. And, as in the case of United airlines and others, some of these incidents become wide spread, or “go viral.”

There are tools that a business owner can use to help him or her monitor what is being said (see https://www.openforum.com/articles/online-reputation-management-tools/). Yet research suggests that many small business owners simply do not take the time or don’t consider it a priority. Not watching what is being said about your business though brings great risk. No longer are 20 people hearing about a poor experience but all of that person’s hundreds of friends. And if a comment is made, just starting multiplying that by their friends and their friends, etc., etc. Thus you can see not paying attention is perhaps letting the snowball start rolling down the hill until it devours your business.

And if nothing is being said, don’t assume that is a good thing. Being there is the first requirement. But more and more, people want to check out your reputation. Online reviews are a quick and easy way to begin to develop a trust relationship with the consumer. You need to work on developing those online reviews. Encourage them from current customers.

Bottom line: 1) Know your reputation. 2) Encourage your customers to share their online reviews.

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