Perception is Everything

Posted by Melissa in Business Tips on May 5, 2011

Unfortunately, we talk to businesses all the time that do not understand how devastating bad online reviews, website complaints and negative word-of-mouth can be for a business. Your reputation is EVERYTHING, both online and off. If one person perceives that your business has done something wrong or is insulted or disagrees with your practices this one person can cause substantial damage. Your online and offline reputation should be a major priority and if you receive a complaint you need to address it in an effective way.

Perception isn’t always the truth, but the truth doesn’t always matter.

People look for reviews online before they buy or pay for a service. Sites that allow people to review are thriving because people want to see what other people think and avoid wasting money. All that matters is the “perception”. We all know that perception isn’t necessarily the truth, but the real truth isn’t always known and doesn’t really matter. The public perception is all that matters today.

Online and Offline Reputation Management

Your online reputation is crucial and you should be monitoring it daily. You can create free Google alerts to start. Create alerts for your business name, your product names, your services and location and create alerts with competitors you want to keep an eye on. Hire a consultant that specializes in online reputation management (ORM) that can help you learn how to properly monitor your ORM and show you tricks of the trade.

As far as your offline reputation, it is an important responsibility to work on yours, enhance it and maintain it. Address all issues politely and make amends when you can.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Truth – Embrace It and Improve

If you hear things you don’t like or if you read reviews online that can hurt your business you need to embrace the information and think about what you can do to avoid the negativity in the future. Talk to your staff about every complaint and make sure they know that the same type of complaint must be avoided. Put strategies in place to avoid problems. If you see a negative online complaint/review you need to address it politely and explain what you are going to do to fix the problem. People may read a negative review, but when they see a respectful response from a business owner they tend to give second chances.

Remember, people can read reviews and research your business from their computers, cell phones, TV’s, video game consoles, Blu Ray players and even cable boxes in today’s world. Your reputation and the public perception of you can make you or break you.

SEO Aware

Leave a Reply