These days, your online reputation is of paramount importance. When potential customers want to find out about your franchise, they’ll turn to the online community.
Review sites like Yelp are part and parcel of checking out a business online, while social media gives your customers a public platform to share their thoughts about your business – good or bad.
So just what can you do to keep your franchise’s online reputation pristine?
Listen to What Customers Are Saying
The first step to managing your online reputation is knowing what it is. Listen for what people are saying about your franchise so you can decide how to respond and how to improve any problem areas.
Social monitoring tools and an online reputation management agency are your best allies when it comes to managing your franchise’s online reputation.
With social monitoring tools you can listen out for mentions of your franchise and find out who is talking about your business, where, and what they are saying.
As the article, “5 Tips for Managing Your Franchise’s Online Reputation” says, knowing what your customers and competition are saying about you is one of the most important things you can do for your online reputation.
Respond Professionally to Negative Reviews
You can’t please all the people all the time, which means you’re going to meet with online criticism at some point.
The important thing is not to shy away from it. Negative reviews give you an opportunity to fix problems and even make improvements in your business.
The key is to respond professionally to negative reviews. Going on the defensive or meeting negativity with more negativity will make you look unprofessional.
Take the opportunity to turn a negative review into a positive for your franchise with a swift, professional and truly helpful response.
Focus on resolution and excellent customer service, just as you would if a complaint was made in your physical premises.
Make Your Responses Personal
The more personal you can make your responses to negative reviews, the better. A generic response or one that sounds like it’s been copied and pasted, will make it look like you don’t really value your customers.
Instead, handle each negative situation on a case-by-case basis. Canned responses are out – take the time to really understand what the problem is, and why it matters to your customer.
Ask your customer what they feel would fix the problem. Ascertain where they feel your franchise let them down, and work towards a solution that will resolve their frustration and show them that you care.
Encourage Positive Reviews
There’s more to managing your online reputation than taking charge of negative reviews. It’s also important that you garner good reviews too.
The best place to start is with excellent customer service.
Always strive to give every customer a positive experience of your franchise. Satisfied customers are the ones who, when asked, will give you a glowing report.
You can actively encourage positive reviews, too.
The aim isn’t to prompt your customers to say what you want – fake-sounding reviews won’t help your reputation. But a simple prompt such as “let us know what you think” or even “like and share on Facebook” encourages your customers to let people know that they like your franchise.
Customers are checking out your franchise online.
Take steps now to manage your online reputation so that when they find you, they find glowing reviews and a franchise that genuinely cares about its customers.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, how to build customer relationships, content marketing and how to manage your online reputation.