How to manage and address your reputation

Your word and your reputation cannot afford a poor image when you’re a business owner. You might have the best bed and breakfast or the savviest bookkeeping skills or the cleanliest service, but if your referral reputation doesn’t match that, you could be out of business.

Know what’s being said about you and where. Check your reputation. They can manage negative comments for a price;  you can see where you and your company are listed for free.  They can also help you correct all the bad info out there. You’d be surprised what comes up. I did a search and one source had me working for a company I know, but have never worked for. Another client is battling outdated info. Some sources have her business location that’s been inaccurate for more than 10 years!

There are tons of review sites: Google Places, Yelp, Consumer Reports, AngiesList and hundreds more. They can be related to service, trips, professionals, teachers, the list is endless. Then several business sites such as Amazon.com and CraigsList also have review options. Your name and reputation could be anywhere. Know it. Check it regularly.

If your business is getting less than stellar or 5 star ratings, here are a few recommendations on how to address:

  1. If there is a system problem, fix it. Make sure cleaning staff have maps to location. Call two days ahead to confirm date and time and location for service or reservation. Address the scheduling needs for the client. Whatever it is that leads to the common complaints, address. It’s amazing how a poor tracking system or timing can impact customer service.
  2. If there was a lack of clarity for coupon test services like Groupon, be sure to clarify the expectations for any further patrons. Sometimes the expectations aren’t clear and so the client gets disappointed
  3. Reach out to every client on the bad reviews, assuming you can identify them and offer a  compensation for their service challenges. Either another stay, a free meal, something to try to make it work.
  4. Take advantage of using the owners comment section to indicate how you were willing to fix this situation. You should apologize on each one and not leave them hanging. DO NOT ARGUE as the owners response. If you disagree with their assessment, don’t say so on a public comment. That just starts a disagreement war and you’ll lose. Perception is key; they didn’t like the service, doesn’t matter what went wrong. I’d use language to the effect:“ We are sorry you experienced service that didn’t meet your expectations. We have improved our follow up system and are providing staff clear directions. We are adjusting our schedule to address delays. We want you to be satisfied with your  service and are willing to make it up to you if you’ll give us a chance.” If they take you up on it, you may or may not salvage a client. But if you at least show you are willing to try, anyone else reading the review can take that into account.
    1. Don’t use the exact same language on each, address the biggest concern and tell them how you’d like to fix it.
    2. Contact the review site directly. Check if they filtered” positive comments; if the positives are legitimate, then ask the review site to put them up. Understand that if you get friends to put up comments all on the same day as the negative, that can be filtered.
    3. If any of the  negative reviews aren’t accurate or you have a different perception of what actually happened you can actually challenge the review with most review sites—but you may not be successful.

It’s tough to please clients. You might also consider sending each client a follow up email after their service and ask for a review on the site you preferand provide them to the link. You could do this every Friday or something. Make it easy. Send it to the clients who love your work and your staff at first. But get in the habit of sending to all clients; checking the reviews and RESPONDING to them—good or bad.

Just remember to always respond to negatives. Try to make it right. Get in the habit of seeking positive comments. Pay attention to what’s being said about you. It matters. It’ll save your reputation.

 

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