While the Internet can be beneficial to a company’s marketing efforts and overall success, it can also have a negative impact on their brand and reputation. Thanks to forums, social media and online directories, customers now have the capability to negatively impact a company by publicly confessing their misfortunes with the company.
For example, let’s say that a customer went to your store and one of your employees gave them attitude. This customer then goes home, gets on their computer, and tells Twitter, Facebook and an online discussion forum about the awful experience they just had at your store. Rather than this incident staying between your company and this unhappy customer, it has now gone viral.
This happens far too often, and most companies have no idea that it’s occurring. Because of the endless possibilities of damage being done to your brand, you should really consider reputation management.
Reputation management is keeping up-to-date track of what is being said about your company and your brand on the Internet. Knowing what is being said will allow your company to answer back and fix the situation before it escalates even further. There are two different ways to employ reputation management: using in-house software or outsourcing to a reputation management company.
In-House Software to Monitor Reputation
There are plenty of software options available to help you better manage your reputation. You can sign up for these different options online, and you will receive email notifications any time your company name is mentioned on the Internet. You will receive notifications any time your name is mentioned, whether good or bad, so you will need to take the time to read through the notifications to see if anything is negative.
If in-house monitoring is the best fit for your company, you need to dedicate a team to manage it. Make it their responsibility to check the notifications and see if anything is negative. If it is, implement a procedure that they can use to help alleviate the issue. Make sure that your company responds to any negative issue and tries to make it better. Always apologize, let the customer know you are taking the steps to improve the issue, and offer them something in return, such as a coupons or a free service.
Outsourced Monitoring of Reputation
If reputation management is something your company cannot perform in house, you can always outsource it to a company that specializes in brand monitoring. These companies will usually charge a per-month fee, but they will offer plenty of extra services that online software cannot. Your company will usually have a dedicated team assigned to you that monitors your brand around the clock. If something negative appears at 3am, this company will know at 3am and be able to take the steps to help you alleviate the issue.
In a Nutshell…
Reputation management is essential for your company’s success. If you remain unaware of what is being said about your brand, the damage can get so bad it becomes unfixable. The last thing you want is for the hard work you put in to making your company successful become trumped by pure ignorance.