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Reputation Management Tools

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Posted 9th April 2013 at 08:12 AM by imarkedy

There are titanic ‘cyber-battles’ occurring this very moment based on an argument which says Internet marketing and Online reputation management are separate, yet equally valuable business tools. Hmm? Before writing another word, it must be pointed out that not only does no nexus exist but rather, they are, in fact, the very same thing!

To make the case supporting this reality would take many pages and possibly require a full-length book. However, such a volume is hardly required. Instead of presenting technical definitions for both, let’s review what both share in common:
Tone setters for brand messagingPresents an alternative to 3rd party, negative messagingCompetitively positions products and services

There is little doubt many more commonalities could be added but the point is made. Regardless which side of the fence entrepreneurs and small business land on, there is a fact much more critical – if businesses aren’t managing online messaging, someone else will!

Let me explain; achieving cyber success can be measured in many different ways but something above every other consideration must take center stage – profitability. To make this goal an operating reality, paying customers (or sustaining investment capital until profits are achieved) are required. It matters not whether internal data survey(s) indicate that 97% of customers who use a company’s services are happy, it is the other 3% which, whether neutral or dissatisfied, have the ability to drive negative online conversations.

I once had a client who was being savaged in social media circles by two dissatisfied customers. While monitoring these negative conversations and comparing it to ‘push-back’; there was one huge problem with my client’s response to these aggressive attacks– they offered no ‘off-site’ response to the ‘Internet commandos’ determined to harm brand image.
Sure, my client offered a somewhat inadequate rebuttal on their website but refused to take the battle outside their borders. Of course, when I got involved, the customer rebellion was ‘put down’ through use of a simple Facebook Fanpage ‘pincer move’, as well as negative message dilution through organic search. Nevertheless, what I told that client, I now tell the reader – the battle for online reputation almost NEVER occurs on Internet platforms controlled by the attacked.

Internet marketing is about controlling brand conversation and online reputation management, likewise. How does one begin the process of effectively setting brand message tone? I was hoping you’d ask! First, accept that and contrary to what has been drilled into every business owners head unto nausea – the customer IS NOT always right. However, whether right or no, how their concerns are responded to could neutralize future threats.
Over the years, I’ve found almost without exception that skirmishes morph into all out cyber war because business owners fail to recognize the signs, let alone respond early.
What I didn’t mention about my client is they were so concerned about their bottom line they refused to issue refunds to the two customers and thereby, invited a much bigger problem costing many times the amount of refund to squash.

Here are some tips that balance business needs with customer care:
When refunds are requested, make an attempt to satisfy the customer (within reason). This requires a ‘win-win’ resolution.Recognize ‘high maintenance’ customers early, draw the line in the sand, don’t go beyond it and part ways as soon as it makes sense to do so with minimal damage. Believe it or not – high maintenance customers are usually those who turn into ‘Internet commandos’.Stay abreast of online conversations about your business through use of both local and global brand management tools. Most often, these incur no expense and can be had free.

Am I saying become so watchful as to produce a mild form of paranoia? No! Just be aware that, and as was previously said – for every 97 satisfied customers, the other 3 are those who can impact business in ways we can’t imagine.

B.D. Dale
Internet Marketing Coach
Become a Marketing Coach HERE!
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