As you read this article, you’ll find yourself discovering a whole new issue for you, and your company’s online reputation. We will also divulge a potential ‘profit-killer’ to all your existing marketing efforts thus far.
Accordingly, in this article, you’ll discover five hidden factors, in regard to your businesses ‘local online reputation‘. These factors could dramatically lower your profits, without you knowing why or how this is happening.
Additionally, you’ll discover ‘why’ Online Reputation Management, is the critical first step, above all your other marketing efforts, both online and off. And critical to every local business owner, in the new Information Age, that we are now doing business in.
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1. Monitor Yourself Business Directory Reviews & Listings
Online research has uncovered that approximately 80 percent of all searches online are local consumers looking for local products and services.
Because of this, it’s critical that you are proactive with your online reputation so it is not marked with negativity on the Internet.
This negativity usually comes in the form of bad reviews on Google’s search results. As well as, bad feedback across many other search engines, negative testimonials, negative Facebook posts, and so on.
Although obvious, strive to maintain 100 percent customer satisfaction with all customers. And defuse all negative customer issues quickly. Also, assume everyone has the key to damage your reputation now, in the Information Age, online.
This is rarely, however, some businesses suffer from their owner or employee having negative information online, this may include mugshots, press bad, or embarrassing photos on social media.
2. Excellent Customer Service
The next factor to consider is customer service. Without being impeccable in this area, your local business could quickly become doomed.
The reason is, as mentioned earlier, because today each individual consumer, has the ability to ‘blast’ any opinion on the internet instantly.
For example, this factor makes it critical to be ‘positively irrational’ when solving negative customer issues.
As a result, you defuse customer issues within your company first, before they reach the mass general public online. In other words, before they have a chance to get onto the internet, by having the customer ‘vent’ their dissatisfaction with everyone.
To be certain, ‘positive nonsense’ means going overboard to satisfy your angry customers. And even losing a bit of profit. However, consider this loss in profit a well-spent marketing cost.
This added expense will return many more dollars, from word of mouth praise from a repaired relationship.
Chances are, your newly satisfied customer will be sure to praise you for your willingness to “Do right”, in the presence of all his friends.
Therefore, even if you know you didn’t do wrong to your angry customer, it is in your best interest to assume your customer is “always right”.
That’s where you may have to act positively irrationally, to best satisfy your customers’ issue.
Because sometimes, you will need to act against your mind and what you know is true, in regard to your customer’s complaints.
Consumers Have Endless Resources
The next factor is that today consumers have unlimited amounts of ‘communication leverage’.
For instance, the old advice says “if you have one unsatisfied customer, she will tell seven others in her personal realm”.
However, today the ordinary person has much more leverage than ever before. The fact is, virtually anyone can go online right now, connect, and communicate with hundreds, even millions of people very quickly.
With that said, the leverage of bad news can now travel exponentially to wider audiences, faster than ever before in history, by virtually any lone person.
Most importantly, your negative reputation will remain semi-permanently on the web for all to see, when searching for local goods and services.
We’re now living in a time where bad news travels the fastest. And this trend will continue into the future toward the speed of light. As computing technology advances into a future of infinite possibilities, speed, and individual power.
Understanding Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
The fourth factor is Search Engines. The fact is, Google could show your bad reputation at the top of their search results.
Although you may have never heard of the term ‘Reputation Management’, this internet factor will dramatically affect your local business, in the new local internet economy.
For instance, in the past Industrial Age economy, a minimum amount of other people would surely hear about bad news. However, today with the Internet that news floats to the top of Google.
The fact is, today individuals of all ages are increasingly using Internet search engines to research businesses, people, services, and products before they decide to whom they will do business. The results, like it or not, your business will be impacted.
The risk is high. Your business could easily take a negative hit with just one angry customer, one disgruntled employee, or one malicious competitor.
As a result, your reputation could sustain a semi-permanent “red flag” to your precious reputation publicly.
Everyone Has Access To The Internet
The last factor is, all ages are now using the web. In the Information Age, everyone is going online. From youngsters to the elderly, they all have one thing in common.
This common denominator is that most of them are now going to the Internet to search for local products and services. The fact of the matter is, you must increase your online reputation management efforts, you must take an active role to control your reputation on the Internet now.
To all local business owners who miss this critical concept, will leave themselves wide open for trouble in the future. You must be different. You must work hard to create testimonials, positive feedback, positive buzz, and positive reviews on the Internet now.
With that said, one way you can begin to easily create this is by creating incentive programs, that cause happy customers to go to the Internet and leave testimonials about your business.
Most importantly, with this technique, your customer service and products subconsciously build trust with your potential consumers and so on.
This factor will most certainly cause your company to become the top trusted source among your market.