Once you realize that your business is already being reviewed, it’s time to think about responding to what’s being said about you. The worst thing you can do is ignore your business’ online reviews.
What I’ve found time and again is that most companies are incredibly scared of this process. Online reviews can be daunting. They feel that they don’t have the time or resources to monitor everything being said about them and, as a result, they feel overwhelmed by it all. They also are afraid to engage with an anonymous reviewer—especially since they don’t have the luxury of being anonymous as well.
A company simply has to put itself out there. And once it’s “out there,” it’s out there for good. So, although it’s scary to think that an anonymous person could drag you through the mud, what’s even scarier is…
…not doing anything about it.
For many companies, it’s daunting to think of all the different places where people may be dishing out online reviews. (For instance, far beyond Yelp and CitySearch, a random blogger may be trashing your business, and that would be a good thing to know.)
Thus, a “cottage industry” (of sorts) has developed, with a host of new self-proclaimed experts. “Online Reputation Management” is a whole practice that has emerged to address the ways a company is seen and responded to on the web.
Really, it’s just a disciplined approach to noting what is being said about a business—and where—and then choosing whether or not to engage in the social discussion.
There are companies out there that claim to handle online reputations. What they actually do is “push down” negative information—not eliminate it.
It doesn’t take an expert to manage your online reputation. The bottom line is this: You have the power to respond—to both negative and positive online reviews.
So I’m curious, exactly how well you are embracing the mud? Are your customer reviews driving you mad, or driving your success? Tell us below.