By Rich Gorman on 15 August 2012 @ 4:58 PM.
The internet affords consumers with the freedom to sound off about products, services, and brands as they see fit. This may be a boon to the consumer, but to businesses, it can prove detrimental. While consumers may love the ability to write reviews and share complaints, the truth is that these reviews and complaints are not always based on fact, and when they become unreasonable or defamatory, they can take a massive toll on businesses of all kinds.
The bad news for businesses is that online complaints are growing more prevalent all the time. Review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List, to say nothing of the Better Business Bureau, make it easy for consumers to pen reviews. Smart phone technology makes those reviews easier to access. These reviews are constantly growing in their ability to influence consumer behavior.
For reputation management agencies like Reputation Changer, complaints are harmful, but not insurmountable. Reputation Changer helps companies of all kinds overcome online complaints, and protect their brands from defamation.
The first thing that any business needs, in order to fight complaints, is a realistic assessment of where and when these reviews can appear. Many companies make the erroneous assumption that because their products are good and their service is stellar, they are exempt from the threat of online complaints.
This could not be more misguided. Negative reviews and online complaints can impact all companies, and they can come from any source. Some of these complaints may come from actual consumers, but others may be generated by disgruntled ex-employees, or by duplicitous business rivals. Businesses must be vigilant, working under the knowledge that an online complaint could appear at any moment and cause immense damage.
As such, Reputation Changer says that reputation monitoring is in order. Businesses that have their own pages on review sites like Yelp should assess these pages on a daily basis. Additionally, Google and Yahoo alerts can be set up to help businesses remain alert as to new reviews, complaints, or negative listings as they happen.
According to Reputation Changer, complaints can often come across as unreasonable and defamatory, but in some cases, they may actually be constructive. Understanding the different types of online complaint is the next important step in brand protection. Businesses should be alert for positive reviews, as well as instances of constructive criticism, and they should respond to these reviews politely and promptly. Doing so is a great way to show real, positive engagement with customers, something that cultivates goodwill toward the brand.
Extremely negative and unreasonable reviews are a different story. For these complaints, any kind of response, even a thoughtful one, will likely prove detrimental. The reason for this is that a response helps give the complaint more power, more clout within Google’s search listings. This means that by responding to a negative review, the business is ensuring that even more people will see it. The more people who see the complaint, the more damage is done.
The third consideration for businesses zealous to protect their brand is that brand protection is not a passive thing. In order to keep complaints from doing too much damage, it is vital for companies to proactively build their brand. This is done through creating high volumes of compelling, positive content, and ensuring that it ranks well on Google and the other search engines.
The underlying principle here is that no company can prevent people from posting negative reviews or complaints. Instead, companies should focus on ensuring that these complaints reach the fewest people possible. The rule of thumb is that, statistically speaking, more than 90 percent of online search engine users never make it past the first page of search results. Keeping complaints off of Page One will render them virtual non-issues.
This is accomplished through obtaining control of the first page of search results, populating it with content that is positive and brand-enhancing. A good first step is to purchase all of the domain names that correspond with the name of the company. For example, a company called Ace Prosthetics should get AceProsthetics.com, AceProsthetics.net, and so on. Obtain these exact-match domains, and fill as many of them as possible with positive content.
Exact-match domains rank well in the search engines, but so do social media accounts. Businesses can build their brand’s reputation by remaining engaged with social media, creating accounts on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+. Once these accounts are created, businesses can use them to publish content on a regular basis, helping keep complaints and negative reviews at bay.
By cultivating content and establishing a strong online presence, companies are effectively erecting a defensive wall, insulating themselves from damaging consumer complaints. While preventing these complaints from materialising is impossible, companies can maintain vigilance in ensuring those complaints do as little damage as possible.
This content was published by an author that has no affiliation with Clubnet Search Marketing, we will sometimes publish content from guest bloggers and the views, opinions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent those of Clubnet Search Marketing.