When your customers look for you online, they may get to see two different sets of information – one that you provide them with and another that they can find on their own and which might comprise the inputs of competitors, employees and other customers.
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Get a Website to Keep Reputation Problems at Bay
When your customers look for you online, they may get to see two different sets of information – one that you provide them with and another that they can find on their own and which might comprise the inputs of competitors, employees (often disgruntled) and other customers. If you have no way of passing on the information you want them to see , they may be left with no other option but to trust whatever others tell them.
The Problem and its Possible Solution
Unfortunately, what they get to know about you from elsewhere may not always be good. In fact, they may come across negative press releases and forum posts and blogs that show you in a bad light. You can try and respond to everything that amounts to bad publicity, but an even better approach may be to come forward and tell your side of the story proactively.
The Role of a Website
You need a website, one that lets you inform the customers about your products and services and gives you a chance to make them read testimonials from those who trust you. You can consider the website to be a hub of information that the customers may be willing to refer to, every time they see a negative piece of content and are not sure if they are being told the truth. And after cross-checking the facts if they find out that you are good, they may begin to see you as a reputable business. So, a website can indeed serve as an important tool when it comes to online reputation management.
Making the Website Work
Your online presence can help you combat reputation problems, but only if you can garner the trust of your customers. For this, you need to ensure that the website presents the information in such a way that it is readily available to your customers. Perhaps you can tell the company handling website design for you to go easy on navigation, allowing the customers to go through the site in the minimal time possible.
Making the Site Rank
It may come as a surprise, but the higher your site ranks, the better reputation you are believed to have. And higher rankings can only come your way when you have a content-rich site, one that has the necessary information and includes most of the keywords that matter. Use search engine optimisation, if the need be, but make sure you are there when the customers look for you, if not on the first page of Google, at least on the second (or third) one.
Telling the Story
One of the many benefits of a website is that you are free to talk, unlike at forums or review sites, where you can merely respond to whatever has been already written about you. Website design doesn’t only give you a platform to sell your products and services, but it also provides you with your own space, where you can talk about anything, including your values, which may change the customers’ perception of you.
Telling Them That You Care
For effective reputation management, you need to make the customers trust you. If they need to go to other sites to pour their heart out, you may lose that trust. You can rather ask them to review your products on your own site. Doing so is beneficial for you as well because you can distinguish genuine customers from those who have no other motive but to sabotage your reputation. In a way you are telling the customers that you keep them (and transparency) at the forefront, even if it means putting your own products and services under scrutiny.
Making Your Own Job Easy
From whatever they gather online, the customers may be under the impression that you are not so good. If that’s the case, it’s a tough job to make them believe otherwise. However, if you act in time and ensure that their perception of you is based on what you tell them, your reputation management efforts may get reduced by half. Again, for this, you need a site. And for that matter, SEO may also be of great help here as your site must be “visible” to the customers for you to benefit from it.
Highlighting the “Good” For All to See
Even a few good testimonials are enough to minimise the damage that a couple of negative reviews may do to your business. But, these testimonials must be there for the customers to see. If you place the testimonials elsewhere and not on your own site, they may come across as made-up (read: not genuine), leaving room for doubt. However, if they feature on your website, you are virtually taking the responsibility of whatever’s written there and are giving your customers another reason to see you in a good light.
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