By now, from reading our blog this month, you presumably know that your business has a reputation that you may occasionally have to manage. Some brand conscious (and usually bigger) businesses hire dedicated reputation management companies to handle the good name of their brand. You might wonder, how do these companies do what they do, and what are you getting into when you hire one?
For better or for worse, things on the Internet have a tendency not to go away. If a person uses your company’s services and then writes a scathing blog post, that post (and its cached cousins) will likely be out there in the Internet atmosphere for a long, long time.
Reputation management companies operate on the motto that if you can’t make something go away, you can at least decrease its significance. They use their knowledge of SEO to drive traffic to more favorable search results, with the hopes of bumping the negative information off the first page of results. Since research shows that few people look past the first page, information pushed to the second page will have much less impact on a company’s reputation.
The management of negative reviews can also be outsourced. Reputation management companies look for negative reviews and do two things:
- Ensure the customer has a direct line to company, in order to prevent a similar bad experience from happening to anyone else. A good reputation management company can actually play a part in your business cycle, in the stage of product/service reconfiguration based on client feedback.
- Make this responsiveness known on the Internet, in order to ameliorate the effects of the negative review. This usually happens by commenting on the review, with something like, “We are sorry to hear you had a negative experience. Our customer service team will be contacting you directly to fix the issue.”
Keep on the lookout for a competent but ethical reputation management company. For example: the service of posting helpful information under a negative review is appropriate, while offering to write false positive reviews isn’t. Besides, companies that offer the latter tend to also not be the cream of the crop — their dozens of generic positive reviews can be obviously fake and actually hurt your reputation.
And, before you hire someone, ensure that their own company’s reputation is good. A reputation management company with a reputation problem would be a worrisome sign indeed.