The importance of online reputation, plus six top tips for handling negative reviews

According to findings published by Zurich Insider more than half of British businesses say they have received negative reviews online, showing that managing an online reputation is a real challenge – especially with research showing that an estimated £23 billion a year of UK consumer spending could be influenced by online reviews.1

Survey outcomes, which took into consideration the views of over 500 UK business owners and decision makers from across eight different sectors, found that:

  • 52% experienced a decline in the past 12 months because of online posts
  • 21% said they were afraid of the damage negative content could do
  • 47% have been affected by malicious posts and trolls in the past year
  • And a staggering 79% feel that online reviews, comments and forum posts are important to the financial and reputational status of their business2

So it’s fair to say that online reputation is vitally important.

“Reading a bad review can have a huge impact on a reputation, and make a big difference to the choices that potential customers then make. Customers use the internet now more than ever, before making choices about where they spend their money,” says Anthony Gaskell – Sales Director at Reputation.com. “The big problem is that it tends only to be those customers with very strong opinions who are motivated to write reviews, and more often than not, it is negative experiences they are expressing.”1

What do you do if you find yourself with negative content online?

Various specialist tools are available where a business can view how they are perceived online by others – although these tools don’t directly help you improve your reputation, they do give a clear indication as to whether your business’ online reputation is proving problematic.

Big mouth marketing have devised six top tips3 on how to handle potentially damaging online posts, comments and/or reviews:

1. Have a plan

Think about how often you will review your online reputation and have a plan or a step-by-step process on how you, as a business, will tackle negative content as it arises.

2. Don’t delete the negative comment (unless it’s particularly offensive)

Deleting negative posts will only make matters worse, if the customer notices they may well keep commenting until the issue is resolved.

3. Respond quickly

This is where planning also comes in to play, be sure someone is always on hand to react and respond quickly to negative posts – it may be that this job is assigned to a specific person each day to ensure efficiency and avoid duplication of work.

4. Own up to mistakes

If you’re in the wrong, admit it and apologise – this will go a long way in diffusing a negative situation. Sometimes accepting liability is all the customer wants.

5. Make it right

Do what you can to rectify the issue. It is possible to turn the situation on its head by being proactive and professional.

6. Don’t feed the trolls

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to please everyone and if someone is being negative for the sake of it – step back and move on, you can’t win them all!

Online reputation is a growing concern for many UK businesses. Through using specialist products like My Business Profile, you’re able to see how your business is perceived online as well as understanding your company’s financial position. To find out what your business is saying about you, please visit www.mybusinessprofile.com.

Source: 1 Zurich Insider, 2 Igniyte, 3 Big Mouth Marketing

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Posted on by Katie Hague

Estimated read time: 4 mins