You’ve just Googled your business—and your heart sinks. How can you be rated just one out of five stars?
We know it hurts to see, but any business can suffer from a bad online reputation. It only takes a few unhappy customers to do a world of damage.
However, what can you do about it? Don’t worry—as a business owner, there are plenty of effective ways to improve online reputations for your business.
Keep reading to find the best ways to improve your company’s marketing and get more five-star reviews.
Apologize for Any Errors
If your business has gotten a huge amount of negative press recently, this is likely to lead to poor online reviews. Sure, you can ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen, but this won’t help your business at all.
Instead, the best thing to do is apologize. Using your business social media account, be genuine with your customers or supporters and say that you’re sorry for what happened.
You might also want to explain how you’ve changed your business practices to prevent this problem from happening again. Luckily, many customers have short memories, so any errors are likely to be forgotten over time.
Be Honest and Transparent
Customers place high value on honesty and transparency. How can you trust a business with your hard-earned money if you don’t feel that they’re trustworthy?
In your social media posts, advertising, and website, never try to deceive or mislead customers. This is a quick way to damage your online reputation, so honesty is always the best policy.
Improve Your Customer Service
Often, poor reviews online are caused by disappointing customer service experiences. If a customer is treated rudely on the phone, received damaged goods, or has had to wait a long time for their order to arrive, they’re not going to be happy.
This often leads to negative reviews, as clients want to warn others about their bad experiences.
However, one of the best ways to improve this is by improving your customer service, so you’re left with happier shoppers. Start by looking for common themes in your negative reviews—these should be your priority items that need fixing.
For example, if incorrect or delayed shipping is a problem, switch third party order fulfillment centers to a company that can better support your business.
Ask Customers for Testimonials
Positive customer reviews can play a huge role in improving your business. They get people talking about you, increase trustworthiness, and have a big impact on sales.
If you’re in repair mode, consider reaching out to some of your best clients or supporters and ask them for a review. If they’re willing to give you a few sentences about how great your business is, you can use this as a testimonial on your website.
However, the main issue with reviews is that they sometimes don’t come off as genuine. You don’t want to pay customers for reviews, as you want them to be genuine.
If a company hadn’t posted online or updated its website in years, how likely would you be to want to order from them? Not very.
To improve your reputation, consistency is important. For example, schedule social media posts for each week, update your website’s blog, and keep in touch with customers as much as you can.
You also want your business image to be consistent, so take care to reinforce your key messages and values as much as you can.
This increases your visibility, a great way to build up more support from clients.
Respond to All Reviews
When customers leave you a review online, always reply to it. Yes, this can be hard when reviews are negative, but ignoring them reflects poorly on the business.
As you’re responding to reviews, always accept criticism with grace and be polite and professional. Customers really value replies to their comments, so taking a few seconds to reply can play a big role in improving your reputation.
Never reply with anger or sarcasm, even though it can be tempting, as this is just going to make people dislike your company even more.
Of course, whenever someone leaves you a positive review, be sure to tell them thanks! This will make their day, as many companies won’t take the time to reply.
Hire a Public Relations Expert
If you’re still struggling with a poor reputation, it can really help to hire a PR professional. Using media opportunities and savvy planning, they can spin your business’ reputation from poor to popular.
They can get newspaper coverage, work with influencers, or organize events that will sway public opinion.
Yes, public relations can be very expensive, but it’s an effective last resort if you haven’t been able to repair your reputation otherwise.
Improve Online Reputations for Your Business With These Tips
We know it hurts to see plenty of negative feedback from customers. But don’t lose hope!
With the help of this guide, you can improve online reputations and get customers back on your side. Start by selecting 2-3 of the above to focus on, but then be patient—it can take months for negative reviews to go away.
However, if you’re consistent and work hard in making changes, it’s sure to pay off—your profits will thank you!
Did you find this article helpful? If so, please keep reading to find more great content.