IN 2018 one of the biggest brand assets for any brick and mortar business to have is an active and credible online presence.But this comes with its fair share of benefits and risks at the same time. Any online business is openly visible to everyone and this opens it furthermore to equal parts slander and praise.
As most businesses/brands have seen over the past few years- the slightest bit of negative comment can bring down your reputation which then virtually makes it an uphill task to regain Trust that has been lost.
Specially with Google focussing on customer engagements and reviews brands have to pull their socks up.
Any act of ‘defamation’ whether intentional or genuine is enough to send a brand’s target audience running far away from it.
Generally speaking, some scenarios that can be classified under defamation are:
- A hurtful statement that is false and ruins the reputation
- A statement that not just conveys an opinion but likely a fact
- It is communicated directly to a third person inside the organization
- The subject of the statement is harmed
Libel, Slander are also part of the negative reputation that a brand can be subject to and it’s important to understand the difference between the three. Defamation is a false statement that causes harm and is made about a business or someone in public. It can usually be also drawn from facts. When defamatory statements are published they are called Libel. And Slander is most often a spoken form of defamation.
These are forms of Online Abuse that has currently gripped the world all over. Social Media platforms like Twitter, Facebook have been used freely by online trolls to indulge in this form of abuse and it has become an epidemic of sorts which is virtually out of control. But this is a discussion for another time.
Let’s focus on how Online Reputation Management services come into play when your brand/company needs to keep its Reputation clean for the business to flourish. How one responds to Online Abuse determines the brand’s or an individual’s integrity and values.
Being on the front foot with Customer Experience (CX) is a constant evolving process. Customer Experience is a broad spectrum but companies that not only invest in new technologies but also those who offer a clear customer experience journey via connecting with them on a deeper level are the ones that will stand out. This is where Online Reputation Management (ORM) services give your business that edge, that differentiation that makes it stand out in the crowd.
ORM services include a wide range of practices and methods that prevent the negative onslaught on a brand and also gradually nullifies the effect of defamation. According to a survey, 66% of global customers agreed that they trust online reviews. That is the power of what people read about you on the internet and this is directly proportional to the customer experience that your brand consistently offers.
Connecting with your customers across all digital platforms is the key to forging trust and transparency that are the key aspects in any Online Reputation Management service scenario.
A few important attributes in the CX and ORM flow are:-
1-Customers want an easy to navigate UX experience when they visit a brand’s website- Your brand’s website and E-com functionality has to be top notch and reflect the brand ethos. Also building a dedicated social media presence is important for your brand.
2- Constant improvements in Customer journey via feedbacks etc echo the fact that you as a brand/company care and are interested in how they experience your brand. This also builds Customer loyalty as customers understand that not every transaction will go perfectly, but committing to learning from mistakes shows transparency.
3- Ensure that testimonials and positive feedbacks on your brand’s products/services are online across the brand’s digital footprints – Google Reviews, Third Party Review sites, Social Media reviews etc which then deepens trust. 84% of buyers trust feedback from other shoppers and 82% of customers place more trust in brands who have a strong social media presence.
Online Reputation Management ORM also means-
A- Saying thank you to your customer – forges the connection and they feel appreciated for you valuing their support
B- Ask for Feedback- Most brands fail to do this and this is where it can stack up when there is a negative brand experience and people write about it online. Having enough positive reviews means taking the time to dedicatedly ask your customers for feedback. Regular stream of reviews also has an added benefit- SEO to build on search engine – Google rankings
C-Analyse the Data- There will always be a large volume of feedback to be had from customers, comments from prospects and mentions on various social media sites and other digital engagement platforms. Using Online Reputation Management services to organise this data can tremendously assist in giving brand and operational insights. These insights (data gathered) in turn improve customer experience, brand search engine rankings and a solid online presence.
D- Measure your efforts- It is very challenging to understand or tie-in CX (Customer Experience) to business goals and outcomes. But with a solid ORM team/digital agency any brand can now measure overall customer satisfaction and engagement experiences at all digital touch points. Combined with internal surveys, newsletter campaign results, BTL (below the Line) marketing channels a brand’s overall strategy for better ORM and CX is thus consolidated.
Online reputation management provides a holistic approach — from automated customer engagement pre-and-post purchase, to data analytics and operational insights, to measurement and reporting.
A solid ORM strategy also integrates post purchase/customer buying to maintain communication and build a personal relationship with the brand and the customer. The best digital/marketing strategies are those that reaches out to the customer via their preferred method of communication.
This is what we @Elixir Holistic Consulting are adept at- syncing in brand experiences along with positive customer relationships that not only increase brand loyalty but also has a direct effect on a brand’s ROI.
Are you going to lead this change? Are you a leader or a management consultant or a company that would like to know more on how to bring about a model that is capable of bringing this future to the present. If so get in touch with us. Our brand founder and author of this blog Chetan Jha is leading not just change but also innovation across the board through best practises that echo compassion understanding and reflection. To know more, email us: [email protected]