3 Important Reasons for Building a Great Online Business Reputation

Jan 16, 2015

There is no place to hide from a bad online reputation. For better or for worse, the Internet has imposed a transparency on businesses that cannot be avoided. People are talking about your company and your products, and the only say that you have in the matter is whether the buzz about your business is going to be positive or negative.

From social channels like Facebook and Twitter to review sites such as Yelp and Merchant Circle, consumers are sharing their experiences with your business. Even a simple Google search for your company name is likely to display reviews about your business in the search results.

reasons to protect online reputation

Why Your Online Business Reputation Matters
While reputation management and marketing are relatively new terms to most marketers, the importance of building a good reputation has been a topic of concern among smart business people for hundreds of years. As Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

  • Research has shown that 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation from a trusted friend or family member. When you consider that an estimated 85 percent of consumers are reading online reviews of local businesses before they make a decision of where to buy, it’s easy to see how online reviews have the ability to make or break a business.
  • A one-star increase in a Yelp rating has been tied to a 5 to 9 percent in sales revenue. This startling fact was documented in a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, and demonstrates the ability of a comprehensive reputation marketing effort to increase business revenue.
  • On the other hand, negative online reviews can have a devastating effect on a business. A study by the Convergys Corporation concluded that a single negative review can cause the average business to lose 30 customers. At that rate, even a modest number of poor reviews can literally destroy a business single-handedly.

How to Build a Great Online Reputation for Your Business
Be deserving of a great reputation. The more you focus on delivering high-value products at a fair price and providing stellar customer service, the stronger your business will grow. The better you treat your customers, the less ammunition you provide for someone to snipe at you. On those occasions when problems arise, communicate with your customers promptly and handle any disputes fairly.

Monitor what people are saying about your company across the social community as well as the various review sites. Be sure to claim your listings so that you’ll be able to engage with your customers when they comment on your company.

Respond to any customer complaints or criticisms quickly and politely. Be professional and try to resolve every issue fairly. Many prospective customers will judge the real value of your company by the manner in which you handle problems. Above all, maintain your grace under pressure.

In the event you make a mistake, come clean – admit your error and offer a sincere apology. Honesty and transparency will go a long way in building trust with current and prospective customers.

Market your positive business reviews across your social media channels and include them on your main business website. The search engines tend to weigh recent reviews more heavily than older ones, so be sure to collect positive reviews on a regular basis.