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The importance of online management cannot be understated. As many businesses have discovered, negative reviews can have negative effects on revenue. A French blogger, Caroline Doudet was forced to pay a restaurant €1,500 for damages after posting a critical review on her blog. This is to show how intense this is, even the courts are beginning to acknowledge the seriousness of online reputation damage.

A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well”-Jeff Bezos.

  1. REPUTATION BUILD UP – the best way to build a concrete online reputation is to solicit a large number of positive reviews. Sadly, there are no shortcuts because only satisfied customers, post good reviews so you must strive to be at your best.

Negative reviews are often unsolicited and are usually written by frustrated customers. Businesses owners must ask customers for their comments, you can do this effectively via the following ways:

i. Set up a computer or tablet at your business specifically for people to post their comments 

ii. You are at an advantage when you collect customers’ email addresses

iii. At the point of sale ask your customers for reviews. You could provide a separate card with the relevant information or print a friendly reminder on the receipt.

iv. Ask for reviews from your social media followers. Be polite – remember, you’re asking for a favor.

  1. . CRITICISM RESPONSE – Best businesses with the best services get to receive negative comments. But you can have a positive effect on your online reputation by responding in a fair, polite, and apologetic manner. A negative review of your business can feel like an attack, making it difficult to respond calmly and objectively, but then as the old saying goes “two wrongs cannot make a right”.

Never respond immediately to bad news. Physically move away from the computer if necessary. It is tempting to send a fiery response in the heat of the moment which could have a negative impact on your business especially if it escalates.

Generally speaking, you need to respond to every negative comment you receive.

  1. MONITORING BRAND MENTIONS – Too often, companies don’t realize online reputation has been damaged until they start to suffer a drop in revenue. Monitoring your own online brand mentions is absolutely essential. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available to help you keep track. The most popular one appears to be Google Alert, others include social mentions, topsy, and tweet alarms. Each service will scan the internet for your chosen keywords, highlighting any new comments or reviews about your business.

Note – all complaints should be tackled with the same strategy whether made online or in person. Never stop been polite and courteous. If you notice a wave of burning anger in you, take a break from the situation and never be intimidated or feel less of yourself.

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