The good, the bad, and the ugly: What your customers are really saying about you online
Author: Michael Mast - President, AloNovus
Written On: July 13, 2015
Category: Online Reputation

You may or may not like your customers’ opinions, but whether positive or negative, encouraging customer comments earns respect from consumers.

Today’s social media culture demands that your business be transparent. In other words, you’ve got to be open to the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because whether you like it or not, comments made by your customers on rating sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor are out there—and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

You’ve got to be bold. You’ve got to step up and embrace what’s being said about your organization. And you’ve got to have some solid solutions in place for when bad reviews happen. Because, believe me, they’re going to happen, and depending upon how you react they can make or break you.

So how can you use transparency to your advantage?

First of all, you’ve got to be honest. If you get a bad review, take a minute to examine it from all sides, acknowledge it promptly, provide complete information if needed, then take the necessary steps to make appropriate changes, and be honest in your response.

If you are going to be a part of the online culture—and you are whether you want to or not—you’ve got to remember that everything happens in an instant. Impressions are formed; conclusions are drawn in seconds or minutes depending on the site. By responding quickly to negative reviews, you get the chance to take ownership of the situation and you reduce the opportunity for people to draw their own conclusions.

How can you respond to reviews if you are not aware of them? Consider hiring a company to help with online reputation management. Companies that specialize in online reputation management make it their job to scour the Internet for reviews about your business then help you to respond appropriately and from a strategic marketing perspective—instead of from an irrational head or an emotional heart.

Foster closer relationships with consumers by being a part of the online community embracing your business. Be caring, educate your customers, and utilize them as a resource for new ideas, products, and services. They’ll thank you for it with their continued patronage.

Transparency is, in a nutshell, all about telling the truth—and that’s not always the easiest thing to do. But rest assured, it is the best thing to do. By being open, honest, and accountable to your customers, you’ll forge a solid bond with them. They’ll trust you, and they’ll want to continue to do business with you.