84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation from a family member or friend. That has emboldened internet users to lift up the organizations they like and tear down the ones they don’t.
There’s nothing worse than when you’re on the wrong end of a tear-down.
Cancel culture has created conditions where a single misstep can lead to a mass exodus of your customers leaving you in favor of your competitors. Keeping that reality from coming to fruition is why it is important to maintain your online reputation.
You may understand the concept of online reputation management but to this point, haven’t understood how best to take steps to protect your brand. Below, we share some simple tips that can get you moving in the right direction.
1. Don’t Be Evil
Don’t be evil was actually Google’s mantra when they first started out. Whether or not they continued to lean on that as they grew is up for debate. Still, the aim of not being evil is a good one and can keep you out of trouble with consumers more often than not.
Not being evil means not intentionally taking advantage of people, belittling them, threatening them, or doing anything else that might be synonymous with abuse. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do something to a customer with the world watching, don’t do it to them behind closed doors.
2. Make Customer Service a Priority
While it’s not evil to have lackluster customer service, certain sensitive individuals might make it out to be. For example, tending to a customer’s needs slowly might inspire them to take to the internet and claim that your slow service was connected to the way they look.
That assumption doesn’t have to be true for it to have a serious impact on your firm.
Whether it’s to protect your reputation or your customer base, good service can help you build your brand’s legacy, which this lawyer and many others champion as being a necessity.
3. Focus on Resolutions Over Arguments
Some clients can be difficult. In particular instances, the difficulties they present can lead you to arguments that feed bad situations rather than diffuse them.
Don’t fall into that trap.
You stand to gain next to nothing by arguing with an irate customer. Rather than buying into their emotions, we recommend always being solution-oriented so you can perhaps retain their business and avoid a bad review.
4. Vet Your Team
Letting your team know that it is important to maintain your online reputation will be an integral piece of your success puzzle. After all, even if you’re on your best behavior around customers, a rogue employee could make a misstep that might prove to be catastrophic.
Keep that in mind when hiring by bringing people on that seem emotionally fit, professional, and vested in keeping their jobs. It’s also a good idea to scan potential hire’s social media pages to see if they’re pushing controversial views that could come back to bite your company.
5. Provide Sensitivity Training
Much of cancel culture’s focus is on harming people and businesses that they feel lack sensitivity towards others. That focus can create problems for your team as not everyone you work with may be privy to who they may be harming with a particular comment.
The best way to get ahead of problems is to invest in sensitivity training.
A quality sensitivity training program can get you and your team on the same page regarding what’s safe to say in a professional environment and what isn’t. While this training will represent an expense, that expense pales in comparison to what a social gaff might cost you.
6. Never Take the Ostrich Approach to Negative Reviews
No matter how hard you try, your firm will likely encounter the occasional negative review. When that review hits, you can ignore it or face it head-on.
We recommend facing online reviews by apologizing when you know you’ve messed up and tactfully educating when you feel a reviewer is overreacting. These tactics can be carried out via a well-written review response.
Just be sure that your response never shares a client’s personal information or comes off as combative.
7. Invite Feedback
Your firm will always have room to improve when it comes to providing an experience that clients can reliably enjoy. The best way to understand where the improvements should be prioritized is by inviting feedback.
Feedback on your services can be solicited via an online form you send out after a consult. You might even consider putting out a suggestion box that clients can drop notes into during their visits.
8. Take Legal Action Only When Necessary
While it may be your knee-jerk reaction to threaten legal action against bad feedback or other cancel culture antics, don’t. Believe us when we say that doing so will lead to a huge loss in the court of public opinion that can do much more damage to your organization.
There are cases where legal action may be necessary to combat objective lies that are causing tangible losses to your organization. More often than not though, a well-written response coupled with sending a note to a review platform regarding the inaccuracies of a review will suffice.
It Is Important to Maintain Your Online Reputation so Take Steps to Do It
We’ve said it throughout this post and we’ll say it again, it is important to maintain your online reputation. That’s more true today than ever seeing as how cancel culture is on the rise and one slip up can cost you dearly.
We hope the insight we’ve shared regarding protecting your reputation online prompts you to take positive action. Should you need additional advice on this topic or other legal matters, browse more of the content on our site.