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The Importance of Online Reputations

May 11, 2016

With nearly 40 million smartphone users in the United Kingdom, a customer’s first impression of a business is often through its online presence. A business’ online presence is therefore essential to its long-term success, regardless of size or industry. Because of this, businesses should foster and monitor their online reputations to guide sales, shape their brands and improve customer satisfaction.

However, while nearly 80 per cent of businesses are aware of the benefits of a positive online reputation, 40 per cent of those businesses fail to review the online evaluations and comments written about them, according to recent industry research—missing out on an opportunity to improve their service.

In an effort to better manage their online reputations, nearly 10 per cent of businesses have hired an online reputation administrator. However, not all businesses can do this. To help manage a successful and healthy online reputation without an administrator, follow these four tips:

1. Be timely and proactive in your responses to negative reviews or comments. Write thoughtful responses in order to avoid being perceived as aggressive or hostile.

2. While deleting a negative comment or review may seem like the easy, obvious solution, it can be harmful. Potential customers may think of a deleted comment or review as an admission of guilt or wrongdoing. Only delete comments or reviews if they are racist, morally or ethically offensive, or in poor taste.

3. Develop and regularly manage social media accounts. Not only will social media provide your business with additional outlets to interact with both potential and current customers, it can also encourage productive, beneficial dialogue.

4. Read what is being said about your business. To ensure that nothing is missed, set up a Google Alert for your business’ name. If there are comments or reviews that are defamatory or malicious, address the issue privately rather than publicising the interaction.

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