Wednesday 18 September, 2013

8 Things That Can Damage Your Online Reputation

When it comes to online business, reputation is everything. People need to know, like and trust your ecommerce store before they’ll buy from it. You need to be vigilant about protecting your online reputation because one small stain on it can cost you customers. Here are 8 things that can hurt your online reputation.

Bad Reviews

Review sites give your customers a voice which is wonderful – until they say something bad. If you get a bad review, reply to it immediately and address the issue. Even though the customer didn’t come to you with the problem, treat it as if they did and personally solve it for them. Make your conversation with them public so that others can see that you’re a company that cares.

Misunderstandings

Sometimes bad reviews or negative comments come from misunderstandings. Maybe the customer didn’t understand your product or service. In their disappointment, they say something bad about your business. When this happens, kindly and cordially reply and state your company policies. Apologize for the misunderstanding and if possible, offer them something to make up for it. Make sure your policies and communications are clearer from now on. Like the bad review, do all of this publicly so others can see.

Social Media Nastiness

Social media can do good things or terrible damage for your reputation. If you handle it skillfully, you can turn even negative posts about your company into something good. Treat a negative post as the beginning of a conversation. Invite the opinions of others and explain that this feedback is useful for you. By showing that you’re responsive, you can turn a social media disaster into a great PR opportunity.

Customer Service Slip-ups

What if you actually do screw things up royally for a customer and they go and tell others? Open up a public dialog with them and focus on how you can make them happy. Apologize and listen well to what they say, and then offer a solution. This can be a real blow, but it benefits you in the long run. You can make improvements and it looks good that you’re listening.

Social Media Gaffes

What if you or one of your employees makes a goof-up on social media? Someone may post something inappropriate. You can prevent this by hiring the right person. Make sure they know their way around social media. Establish protocols about what’s okay and what’s not okay to post and make sure they know them. Monitor what your social media folks do and quickly remove anything inappropriate.

Bots Where They Shouldn’t Be

Automation is wonderful for online business, but there are some areas a real person needs to be there. For email and social media replies, you need the personal touch. Ecommerce is a touch impersonal compared to offline shopping so you need to be a real human being with your customers, even if this is a drain on your time and resources.

Security Breaches

What if your site is hacked and customer data falls into the wrong hands? If this is the case, handle it quickly and calmly. Be transparent and let your customers know what has happened. Then, tighten up your security and tell them how you’re going to protect their data better from now on.

Bad Reputation

Finally, a huge mistake is to not devote time and resources to combating online attacks. There could be a bad review out there somewhere you don’t know about that’s costing you customers. Sign up for alerts and monitor carefully what’s said about you online so that you can respond quickly.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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