Whether you are a large business, small business or even self-employed, how often do you give your business reputation a thought? Unfortunately, too many companies wait until a red flag surfaces to do something about their reputation, which oftentimes can be a moment too late.
Getting complaints from unsatisfied customers didn’t used to be so scary back then. But with the emergence of the internet, getting a customer cross could prove to be very devastating for your company. Gone are the days when customers will walk right into your store and look for the manager to address a thing or two about his or her complaint. Without reputation management, customers can just lash out with reckless abandon and it’s bye bye potential customers.
Before the Internet age, a sizable portion of business owners did not have to devote as much time to their reputations. In those days, many just went about their daily tasks of serving their customers, making sure their employees prove both happy and productive, and fulfilling their own missions of growing their companies.
In today’s electronic information age, however, the pressure has been turned up a notch or two with businesses potentially being targeted online, the constant need of having to deal with unhappy customers, current or former employees, and even the competition.
What Are My Options in Restoring My Reputation?
So, what should you do as a business owner if your reputation is being called into question online?
Among your options:
1. Ignore the matter and hope it goes away;
2. Address the issue and deal directly with the source of the problem;
3. Promote all the positive things that both you and your business do.
First and foremost, do not choose option number one. If you decide to brush the matter aside and not deal with it, your company could be severely impacted, not only in terms of lost sales, but lost credibility from consumers.
With option number two, you at least deal with the matter, looking for a resolution when all is said and done.
If you find that a customer, current or former employee or one of your competitors is attacking your business reputation online, don’t turn a discussion with them into a sideshow. Address the matter professionally, asking why they have taken issue with you or your business. If they choose to not act properly, then either take the discussion offline or let other consumers see you at least dealt with the matter.
With the third option, you should already be doing this and then some. Through press releases, blog posts, videos, podcasts and more, always look for an opportunity to promote a positive image of your brand, company and yourself.
Finally, periodically do an online search of both your name and company name, looking for any red flags that could cause harm to both you and your business.
The bottom line, don’t wait until something goes wrong to suddenly point out the good things you and your business do.
About the Author
With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of small business topics, including Internet reputation.