How Reputation Management Drives Small Business

How can a small business recover from a bad reputational incident, particularly if it was an issue that wasn’t their fault?

The best defense, Pierre recommends, is to make it a practice to resolve customer support issues as soon as they occur, before a customer becomes upset enough to post a negative review. Don’t argue, he suggests. Offer a discount or a refund instead, to avoid as much as possible the risk of getting a potential negative review. A single bad review could cost a business to lose dozens of new customers each month. The flipside, of course, is that happy customers can refer business to you through positive online reviews.

If an incident is severe enough, consider reaching out to the media directly to explain the situation and if necessary, to apologize publicly to customers affected. For example, one of Pierre’s clients was forced to work through a story of a shooting at the company’s establishment that resulted in an employee’s death. The situation was tragic and the business also lost a great deal of money in the aftermath. As part of its recovery, the client increased security at the business through video surveillance, and with the heightened security in place, issued a press release to announce the improvements.

Do negative online feedbacks serve any kind of a productive purpose?

Although every company is unhappy to see negative feedback online, the experience can provide a business with valuable insight about the way the operation is viewed through the eyes of your customers, and can alert you to problems.

What is the role of reputation management agencies, and do they really work? Are they worth it?

If they are responsible and reliable, reputation management agencies can do much to repair a damaged reputation on search engines by helping to remove disparaging information or helping push it further back so that it doesn’t continue to appear in the first pages of results. As experts, a good agency can also guide you through the process of acquiring a skilled attorney, when necessary, to have negative content legally removed. As I have reported before, however, take great care to speak to other customers of any reputation management agency to assure yourself of their reliability and credibility before getting involved.

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