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Nov, 2013

Your Online Reputation: What Are Customers Saying About Your Small Business?

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Online ReputationIt’s been four years, but few people have forgotten the Dominos debacle of 2009, in which a prank video about unsanitary food preparation in a Dominos kitchen went viral. Despite significant resources to deal with the situation immediately, the company took 48 hours to respond, and they still haven’t completely lived down the bad press. Hopefully they have learned from the experience, and if there is a next time, they will maintain a stronger online presence and provide a quicker response time.

A positive online presence is crucial to any business, but especially to small businesses. Customers talk about their experiences, and in this instant-gratification world of online review sites and live feeds, they take their praise—and complaints—to the Web. Here are four ways to ensure a positive reputation for your small business:

Make It Personal

The first thing a business should do is put a face to the company, and the best face you can put on your company is yours. Make your website both professional and inviting, so customers can feel like they can email, tweet, or message you on Facebook for a speedy, personal response.

Keep Up

Once your face is on the company social media sites, monitor those sites. Make sure your social media and website is managed by someone who is both professional and informed on the latest technology news and happenings. Have accounts monitored regularly and quickly address any mentions of your brand, both negative and positive. Retweet or share any positive news out there about the company, and post original, positive content regularly.

Respond Quickly

Whether feedback is good or bad, response time is key. Dominos waited 48 hours before they publicly reacted to the YouTube video fiasco, which would have been perfectly acceptable in the days before social media, but today 48 hours is about 47 hours too long.

Manage What’s Posted

Besides watching for your brand being tagged or mentioned on social media, there are other ways to manage the information about your business on the Internet. One way is to use a reputation monitoring service like Reputation.com. This helps minimize any inaccurate information about your business coming up in search engine results.

The last thing you want is to spend time and money repairing a reputation that didn’t have to go south in the first place. Dominos is still working to better their reputation and online customer service. Be proactive and put some safeguards in place to ensure a quality reputation both online and off. Perhaps the best way to ensure that your business earns a great online reputation is to follow the same policies you would for in-person customer service: Be kind and quick.