Now there are more ways than ever before for a customer to thank your business for excellent service or a great product. Unfortunately, that also means there are more ways for them to air their grievances when they think they’ve been poorly treated.
Managing your business’s reputation online is essential to make sure feedback from customers is heard and acted upon. In the online world, there are hundreds of ways for customers to talk about your business – and you might not even know about them until it’s too late.
Some customers who have something to say will go straight to the source on social media. They might send a tweet and mention your company, or comment on a Facebook post your company page has shared. This feedback is easy to see (if not always easy to sort out) and you should set aside time each week to respond to customer comments, negative and positive. In this way you’ll show your customers their opinions are valued and that you’re a proactive business.
However, some customers might not talk directly to your company online. There are plenty of other places where customers will review, comment and critique your business, so here’s our guide to keeping an eye on them.
Using Google Alerts
Google Alerts are a useful tool for monitoring and managing your online reputation. Google Alerts are automatic emails you can set up for any subject, including your own business, which tell you when someone has mentioned you online. Use these alerts to see the positive or negative things people are saying about your company online – and make sure you respond to them.
Using social media
Social media management tools, like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, are great ways to see what people online are saying about your business. Using these tools, you can set up a list which shows mentions of your business online; for example, when someone includes your Twitter username in a tweet.
You can also set up a list to track hashtags that are relevant to your business, for example if you’re a florist, try using #florist #flowers and #floraldesign, to see what customers are saying about your competitors, and be inspired by other posts. By doing this you can potentially help disgruntled customers, solve problems and encourage people to buy from you.
You can read more about using Hootsuite and Tweetdeck for your business here. Another useful tool is Social Mention, a search engine that sifts through social media channels for results. Type in your business name or words associated with your business (for example, “coffee Edinburgh” if you are a coffee shop) to see what customers are saying about you and businesses like yours.
If you specifically use Twitter a lot to promote your business, you could consider investing in the low-cost service, Twilert. This works like Google Alerts, sending you emails whenever the subjects you choose are mentioned on Twitter. This means you’re able to respond quickly to conversations that are relevant to you and your business.
Using online reviews
If you’re a business with physical premises, like a shop or café, then regularly checking review websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp is essential to see what customers are saying and whether there are any complaints you need to respond to immediately. These sites shouldn’t be dismissed as disgruntled customers just venting their feelings: nearly 70% of customers say positive reviews make them trust local businesses more (BrightLocal, 2015).
Importantly, whichever way you choose to monitor what people are saying about you, it’s essential you respond in a timely and customer-focused manner. Just like word of mouth marketing, opinions online can spread quickly – whether they’re positive or not. Demonstrating good customer service and giving people ways to get in touch with you directly (like inviting comments on your social media accounts) will help you manage your reputation more easily too.