Reputation management is controlling and influencing the audience's perception of the brand through responding to customer feedback. Companies use social media monitoring tactics and reports from a customer care team to analyze reputation. They manage reputation through social media, emails and chatbots.

Let’s find out why companies can’t ignore customer feedback.

The Importance of Reputation Management

Maintaining a good business reputation is key in the world crowded with so many brands and solutions. Reputation is fragile and easy to damage since there are many places for leaving feedback. Customers are usually less eager to leave a review when they are satisfied with the product. Once they had a negative experience, many customers rush to share it with people on social media, in comments, and forums. Such pieces of feedback are extremely harmful for brands because prospective customers research before making a purchase and finding a lot of 1-3 star reviews will stop them from becoming a customer.

Having a good reputation is crucial for any eCommerce businesses that sell products on Amazon, eBay, AliExpress and other marketplaces, as well as for any shops, restaurants, real estate agencies and governmental organizations that appear in Google search. When people search for “vegan restaurant near me,” they usually check the review which appears in the right-hand corner of the results page. If it shows less than 4 stars and negative feedback is written in the comments section, people will most likely prefer to eat elsewhere.

It’s best for companies to deal with all this negativity to maintain a positive balance in their reputation. Reputation management is what they need here, so let’s find out how it works.

How does reputation management work?

Reputation management process has three stages:

  1. Feedback detection.
  2. Developing a strategy.
  3. Dealing with negativity.

Let’s analyze each stage.

Feedback detection

First of all, you need to detect harmful feedback online. On eCommerce platforms like Amazon and eBay you can check it in real-time in your feedback section. You can also monitor reviews in Google search and, if you run an online shop, ask your customer support manager for a regular customer feedback report.

Since the best part of online communication happens on social media, it’s best to analyze what people say about your brand there, too. Marketers use social media monitoring tools which help them detect any brand mentions on specific social media platforms, with or without hashtags.

Developing a strategy

Gather user feedback in reports based on platforms and patterns: perhaps most of the negativity comes from one low-quality product, one manager, or shop; perhaps there is a repeating issue, like a delay of the order delivery. Having all feedback in one place will make it easier for you to detect those patterns and deal with them.

Based on insights you’ve gained from these reports, decide how to deal with negative feedback, prioritize tasks, and assign a manager for this work. The better you organize your resources, the more effective your reputation management will be.

Dealing with negativity

There are many ways to deal with negative customer feedback online. The simplest one and probably the best one is to address people’s issues from a brand account as soon as possible, once you’ve detected their negative review or post on social media. Analyze each problem, say you’re sorry, and offer ways to solve the issue so that the customer is satisfied in the end.

There are also several less popular ways to manage business reputation:

  • submit press releases to authoritative online websites to suppress negative content;
  • submit a legal takedown request if someone tries to harm your business by posting misleading information about your brand;
  • get positive feedback from public figures and social media influencers relevant to your niche;
  • offer free products to YouTube and Instagram reviewers to increase chances for positive feedback;
  • proactively respond to public criticism around recent changes in your pricing policy.

Less transparent ways to manage business reputation, such as comments removal and creating anonymous accounts that make positive reviews raise ethical questions. If the laws don’t strictly regulate reputation management, it’s up to the company to decide whether to use some of these tactics or not.

Let’s find out what it takes to create your own reputation management strategy.

How to build a reputation management strategy

There are 6 steps to create your reputation management strategy.

  1. Detect where people comment and mention your brand. These touchpoints are social media platforms where your brand is present — professional forums, comment sections on your blog, Trustpilot reviews, reviews in Google local queries, etc.
  2. Choose monitoring tools. Among the most popular tools for social media and online monitoring are Sprout Social and Hootsuite. They aggregate user feedback with or without hashtag mentions into real-time reports, so you can deal with it more conveniently. You can also check feedback at your own online shop or marketplace, where you sell products.
  3. Decide how to react to certain feedback. Think of the tone of the message as well as the words that best fit a certain situation and negative mood of an unsatisfied customer. It’s best to create very specific templates so that you can swiftly respond with the best answer.
  4. Prioritize tasks. Decide which platforms are more important for your business reputation and create a queue according to which you will work with feedback on a daily or weekly basis.
  5. Assign a responsible manager. If there is plenty of feedback across different platforms, it’s best to assign a part-time or full-time manager for this role.
  6. Prevent negativity. Make sure you do everything you can to foresee and prevent negative feedback because it’s the easiest and cheapest way to maintain a good business reputation. Double-check delivery deadlines, develop a fair return policy, abide by the rules of the country you work in, and make sure to follow best practices of eCommerce marketing.

Congratulations, you’ve learned what reputation management is, why it’s so important for business, and how it works.

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