Reputation Management

Reputation Management and Why It’s So Important

If you’re in business, your reputation means everything. If you have a good reputation, people will speak highly of you and your name will get out as a company worth working for.

If you have a poor reputation, the exact opposite will be true. People won’t want to deal with you, and it will negatively affect your bottom line. In fact, according to statistics, about 87% of customers will reverse a purchasing decision if the company has existing reputation issues.

There are many things that constitute a company’s reputation and managing these factors isn’t easy. It may be necessary to get in a consulting firm to ensure you maintain a stellar reputation. This article will explain what’s involved and the services a reputation management company may provide.

How Important is Reputation Management?

Reputation management is very important. It can be almost impossible to sell a product to a consumer if reputation issues exist. But don’t take our word for it. Here are some examples of how a poor reputation negatively affected companies in the past.

United Airlines: In the fall of 2017, United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger at random because the flight was overbooked. Travelers who heard about the incident no longer wanted to fly on the airline and they lost billions of dollars. The company was able to do some reputation management, and, as a result, they are still in business today. But a smaller company would have not been able to withstand the damage.

Southwest Airlines: Southwest is another airline that came under fire when one of their planes crashed resulting in the death of a passenger. It was later revealed that the crash was caused by metal fatigue in the engine, an issue that was beyond the airline’s control. However, Southwest’s business was still affected by the incident.

Subway: The Subway restaurant chain was targeted when spokesman Jared Fogle was found to have distributed child pornography and to have engaged in sexual relations with a minor. The company quickly pointed out that they were established long before Fogle signed on with them. They took steps to distance themselves from Fogle and took reputation boosting steps by improving the quality of their meat.

Samsung: Electronics company Samsung was dealing with issues when it released the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Apparently, the devices contained an exploding battery. They replaced the phones with another model, but the newer models had the same issue. The company’s recall efforts cost them an estimated $5.3 billion. After extensive testing, they were able to determine what the problem was. They made it through due to years of building a strong reputation with consumers in other respects.

What Factors Contribute to a Company’s Reputation?

Once upon a time, reputation management wasn’t so crucial. Of course, it was important, but with the rise of the internet, anything anyone says about your brand will affect your reputation. Outlets to monitor closely include:

  • Forum sites
  • Social media
  • Media websites
  • Blogs
  • Review sites
  • Wikipedia

How Do I Manage My Company’s Reputation?

Handling your company’s reputation is not easy, but it is possible. It involves taking the following steps:

Searching the Internet for Comments

The first step is to search the internet for brand mentions. You can do this with an internet search of your company name. If you put your name in the search box surrounded by quotes, you may get more reliable results.

Putting in ‘inurl (website type, brand name) can also be helpful. If you follow your brand name by (- site: (yourwebsite), it will exclude your website, so you don’t have to scroll through pages to find your brand mentions. You can also do this with your social media pages.

If you want to find sites that may have linked to your site, you can type in link (website name).

You can also use software programs like Buzzsumo to search the internet. Another option is to set up Google alerts. This feature will alert you every time your brand name is mentioned on the internet.

What to Look for and What to Do About It

Essentially, you are trying to find all mentions of your brand good or bad. And what you want to do is respond to these mentions.

So, if someone says something good about your brand, a simple thank you is in order. This will let them know that their comment has been recognized and is appreciated and it will promote loyalty.

If someone says something negative about your brand, you will want to respond as well. But it’s important to take the right tone when responding.

You never want to respond rudely or say anything that seems defensive. Remember, the conversation will appear on the internet for everyone to see and if you are arguing with a customer, it won’t look good for you.

Rather, you want to take the ‘customer is always right’ approach by apologizing and explaining how you have addressed or will address the issues. You can also offer that person compensation for their bad experience in the form of a discount or coupon.

It’s also important to take any feedback you are getting to heart. Of course, there may be some people who are complaining because they had a bad day and are taking it out on your company. But if you are getting the same kind of negative feedback repeatedly, this is a sign that improvements need to be made.

So reputation management is also important because it will help your company do better.

Keep in mind that there’s a lot of spam on the internet and someone may leave a fake negative review. You can usually tell which reviews are fake. Both Yelp and Google have tools that allow you to flag these comments as inappropriate and it’s likely they will eventually get taken down.

You should never respond to a comment you think is fake.

Repeat the Steps on a Continuing Basis

Reputation management is not a one and done deal. It’s a continuous process that needs to be dealt with at all times.

The internet spreads information quickly. If you don’t deal with negative comments and reviews promptly, they can spiral out of control. A customer who’s upset will get more upset if they don’t get a response and they can begin posting negative comments on other platforms. And who knows what else might happen?

To keep things under control, it’s important to have someone dealing with reputation management on a daily basis. This could be a member of your staff, or you may want to hire a consultation company that specializes in reputation management.

There are also software programs that will assist with this matter.

Controlling Your Own Reputation

To an extent, your reputation may be out of your control. For instance, as previously mentioned, a customer could just be having a bad day and decide to take it out on your company.

But there are things you can do to boost your reputation that are totally within your control, and they go beyond responding to customers.

Here are some reputation boosting moves.

Provide Reliable Blog Posts

Blog posts are a great way to communicate with your target audience. If you provide information that’s valuable and correct, it can boost your reputation and establish you as a thought leader in your field.

If, on the other hand, your blog contains information that is untrue or not verified, it can damage your reputation. Plagiarizing another blog can also get you in trouble so run your content through Copyscape before it’s published.

Support Causes and Charities

Supporting causes and charities can also improve brand reputation. Giving to nonprofits and the community will provide a favorable outlook on your company and brand.

However, you don’t want to just choose a charity for the sake of improving your reputation. If it’s not authentic, people will smell it a mile away.

Therefore, you want to choose a cause that makes sense for your brand to get behind. For instance, if your brand sells pet food, you may want to support a local shelter. If you sell children’s products, an educational cause may be suitable.

Always Put Your Best Foot Forward

A bad reputation doesn’t necessarily come about due to something your company did or a poor customer experience. It can be due to a poorly designed website or slow loading pages. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you could look bad if the store isn’t clean.

As a company, you always want to put your best foot forward, so you appear as professional and caring as possible.

A company’s reputation is everything. You can keep yours in good shape by following the tips recommended in this article whether it be through hiring reputation management staff or a third-party company. We wish you the best of luck in maintaining a stellar image for your business. If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at (312) 834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.