Online reputation management is about customers

Many people doing business online tend to believe that online reputation management is a defensive undertaking you resort to only when your business image is under threat. They in this fail to realize that online reputation management is ideally a proactive ongoing process and that the customer is a very important factor in these efforts. A lot of business people also underestimate the importance of their customers until the customers get angry and start posting damaging reviews about their products/services.

There are a number of things that you can do to include your customers in your online reputation management campaign. To start with, encourage customers to post reviews about your products online and especially on social networking sites. Such customer reviews are very important for your online reputation because a lot of people use social networks and are likely to read them. A 2011 report showed that about 60% of people found information about products from social media reviews. Customer reviews and testimonials can thus ably help you to build credibility for your products.

Be available to your customers. Customers are more likely to vent their frustrations through negative comments on social networking sites if they feel that you are not available for them or you are ignoring their concerns. It is important that you institute round-the-clock customer support systems so that your customers can easily air their issues. If customers raise complaints and criticisms, respond to them appropriately; do not get defensive or launch personal attacks in retaliation instead contact the customer and forthrightly deal with the issue. At the same time, make sure you are always honest and truthful with your customers; nothing can puncture your online reputation worse than getting caught lying to customers about your products

As part of your reputation management campaign online you have to keep track of what customers are saying about your products. You should not ignore comments that are making rounds on the internet because they can swiftly tarnish your reputation. You can keep up with such comments by subscribing to Google Alerts so that you can be notified each time someone posts something about your business. Comments about your competitors’ products can also help you to gain some insights that you can use to position your self ahead of them.

At the end of the day, the best way to build a great online reputation is by giving your customers exemplary services all the time. Happy, satisfied customers will always be good ambassadors for your business. In fact, with good customer care your online reputation management will be so much easier because you will have numerous happy customers blowing your trumpet for you.

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