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Reputation Management is, and has been, quite the hot topic in business for some time, yet the “proper etiquette” isn’t always clear for most. Now that Yelp is to be among the review forums that allow you to counteract negative reviews, it’s time for a quick brush-up on online review management so that this new development works to your advantage – because mishandling negative feedback can only make it exponentially worse.
To state the obvious, your reviews pages on any and all platforms (e.g. Google, DealerRater, Yelp!, etc.) should be bookmarked in your browser so that you can easily and regularly peruse your reviews for new posts. If a post is, on a 5-star scale, a 4 or above, no need to worry. In fact, if you can identify the writer of the review, it’ll pay off 5 times over to contact that person and offer them a “thank you.” Do not ever do this before someone writes the review of their own will –the FTC can easily see this as a $250,000 fine for fraudulence/tampering of legitimate customer reviews, and to be honest, it’s just not classy. If you’re adhering to the straight and narrow with respect to reputation management, you could end up with some great user-generated content, which is worth its weight in gold. Posting reviews online on behalf of your customers, even with their permission, can result in a reputation-shattering penalty.
If the review is negative, by all means, use the opportunity to respond – but this is where you must tread lightly. No matter what the review says:
If you’re among the few who still haven’t looked at your online reviews, it’s time to clear half a day to see what people are saying about you on every platform and devise a strategy to manage it with a regular, dedicated schedule. We live in an age wherein even your most elderly customers have done their research online before deciding to give you their business experience; your management of your reviews leaves just as much an impression on those researching you as do the reviews themselves.
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