Businesses big and small rely on a few key factors to help boost sales. They need a great product or service. A strategy for the direction of the business is important for growth. Stellar marketing to get the word out about the brand never hurts. But one factor that can derail it all is a bad reputation online.
There have never been more ways for consumers to digitally weigh in on how they feel about a business. From forums to Google reviews, it only takes a few bad comments to drive away potential new business. So, maintaining a good reputation in the digital world is critical for your small business’ success. Here are a few ways to impress online.
Shopping small offers benefits to customers like unique buying options and a more personal interaction. They like to feel like they’re a part of a bigger community. If your business fails to impress them, though, you run the risk of reputation damage. A few bad reviews complaining about unreasonably long wait times or unresolved complaints can tarnish even a great reputation.
That’s why customer relationship management (CRM) software is so beneficial. Tailored to your business and its needs, a CRM for small business tool sets you up for success. First and foremost, a CRM can store customer information so it’s easy to access and keep organized. That means you’ll know who you’re talking to and their history with your business in just a few clicks.
You’ll also be able to build out your CRM to address your main concerns. From complaint resolutions to faster response times, the experience for your customers will feel intentional. A centralized inbox can also help with these experiences. The experience of shopping with you will come across as organic and personal, making your business’s customer service superior to your competition. And your reputation will follow suit.
In addition to the quality of your product or service, the voice of your brand sets the stage for its perception. For example, if you run a luxury jewelry business, you wouldn’t offer buy-one-get-one coupons because it diminishes the luxury feel. People shopping for something high quality could be turned off by the cheapened experience of a BOGO deal. The promotional efforts and communications about and from your brand need to match what you’re selling and who you’re selling to.
Start by looking over every touch point of your customer’s digital journey. Check out your social media profile, your website, and any other resources available. See if you use language that aligns with your target audience and product or service. If you notice a more casual tone than you’d like or the overuse of certain phrases, make a note. Then, prioritize swapping out messaging that feels out of place for something that better fits your goals.
The result? A cohesive experience from start to finish for your customers. They’ll be able to better identify and remember your brand because it’s consistent. Ultimately, the touch points of your business will be seen as extensions of the same entity versus disparate pieces that are thrown together. And that will impress customers and help boost your reputation.
It used to be that consumers would enter a store and peruse the shelves. They’d make a selection for whatever items they needed based on price, quantity, or maybe packaging. They’d check out and be on their way. Now, the digital shopping experience adds a new layer to the process: online reviews.
Instead of merely choosing an item and going straight to checkout, customers are curious about what other people have said. They’ll scroll down to see if the shirt fits true to size or if the dresser was easy to put together. Only after they’re satisfied with what they’ve read will they then proceed with their purchase. This process is typical, too — roughly 91 percent of consumers look at one or more reviews online before buying something.
As such, there’s immense power in reviews, so they should be a focal point for your small business. Encourage reviews by tying them to incentives like discounts in your store. Reply directly to negative reviews and reach out to unsatisfied customers to learn about their experiences. Then, follow through with changes to better your business. These seemingly small steps can help shed light on issues that need to be addressed and improve your reputation online.
With billions of people logging into social media accounts every day, it’s no wonder it’s become a valuable gauge for businesses. Likes, followers, and comments all tell a tale of how people feel about your business, good or bad. So, it’s understandable that engagement will influence reputation.
Boost your customer engagement by focusing on building a social media presence that’s authentic to your business. Share helpful information that enhances the customer experience and brings value to their lives. Track what posts perform well and replicate those efforts.
It’s not just about followers and likes, though. You’ll need to see what people are saying in comments, shares, and tags, too. If anything could be improved from feedback, go the extra mile to make adjustments. If you have the resources, invest in personnel to reply to comments and respond to direct messages. If you don’t have the people, consider your software options to automate social media posts. These intentional actions will create a two-way communication channel, encourage repeat purchases, and grow your brand.
Establishing or improving your small business’s online reputation won’t happen in an instant. But with intentional effort and a focused plan, there isn’t much you can’t achieve. Before long, you’ll be glad you made the investment early as you scroll through page after page of positive feedback.