The advent of the digital age has made it much easier for customers to share their opinion of a brand. With an estimated 1.6 million new blog posts every day, consumers are constantly sharing their views, impressions and experiences, both positive and negative of every conceivable product or service. Whilst this is great for consumers as you can quickly and easily access unbiased product reviews, it’s having a detrimental effect on brands who are suddenly open to attack from unhappy customers whether there is truth in their claims or not.
“The actively disengaged customer is four times more likely to post to a blog or website about their poor customer service.” Ultimately, you want to avoid creating this sort of customer. Something has happened to change them from engaged, passionate customers to disengaged, irate customers.
The challenge with social media is that you have no control over what consumers say about your services, comments or accusations can be completely unfounded but get picked up and take momentum across the internet causing damage to the brand. As a result it is vital to have a strategy in place to effectively manage negative mentions.
This is known as Online Reputation Management and refers to the practice of monitoring the online reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of neutralising negative mentions entirely and therefore putting their reputation in better stead to change the slant and create a positive image, this is known as reactive reputation management.
Considering the vast amount of people who deal with brands online and offline it is not possible to ensure everyone has a positive experience, however if someone does voice a negative experience online it is possible to minimise the damage most of the time. This can only be achieved by responding in a manner that will address the problem, clarify the situation and put the company in a positive light without encouraging further criticism; Good crisis management requires responding with substance behind what you are saying.
The most important thing to understand and consider are the risks and do you have processes in place that you actually use, to manage with these risks should they occur.
Common ORM proactive techniques include online promotional activity through creating new content, promotion of existing positive content, as well as deeper involvement in the social web sphere through forums, blog and other high profile social networking forums such as Twitter and Facebook.
Read more about best practice for online reputation management here.