Note: This was featured as part of our Web Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge with Box in the Morning. You can catch us every Wednesday morning at 8:20 am ET for your dose of social media & digital marketing news.

It comes with the territory — no matter what you do, you will always end up with an unhappy customer in some way, shape, or form. So it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for that inevitable negative review.

And although you may know the behind-the-scenes of the experience, the online world looking at that review does not. So it’s your job to take care of the review in a way that is respectful and professional.

Here are a few ways to manage your own online reputation.

1. Respond to reviews within 12 hours

No matter what, you should always respond to a review (good or bad) within 12 hours max. This is the rule that we follow for our own reputation and review site management clients. The best way to do this is to have alerts sent to your email for when you’ve received a new review so you never miss one!

If it’s a good review, thank the user and continue on. However, a negative review takes a little bit more finesse. Be sure to apologize for the bad experience, put your contact information in your response, and take the conversation offline. This is so, so important. You never want to have more than two back-and-forths in any online review exchange, especially a negative one.

2. Claim your company accounts on Facebook and Twitter

Even if you don’t plan on using both of them, you still want to have that presence claimed and branded. Your Facebook Page is the perfect platform to utilize as a second website because of the massive amount of business information you can include on the page. Twitter works more as a news outlet or review board and can be a great source for customer service.

3. Ask your customers for reviews

If you don’t have a lot of reviews, a single negative one can seriously hurt your business’s rating on that review site. It’s a good idea to ask customers for reviews to counteract the potential impact of the negative review.

Here are a few great ideas for asking your customers for reviews.

4. Make your employees your brand ambassadors

A brand ambassador is someone you’ve recruited to represent your business in a positive light. Having people who are already your employees do this is a great idea. Allowing your employees to speak on behalf of your business requires you to put a lot of trust and good faith in them. You will certainly want to put together a handbook or guidelines for how an employee is to act when they are representing your business, but knowing that you are entrusting them with this responsibility will help them as well.

5. Revisit your customer service policies

Maybe a bad review is justified and you don’t even realize it. Every now and then it’s a good idea to revisit how you and your employees handle customer service to ensure that you are helping every customer as best you can. Always look for ways to improve customer experiences. Putting a huge emphasis on your customer service is something that can seriously push you ahead of your competition.

If you’re not sure how to get started in your business’s reputation management, sign up for a free consultation today! We’d love to chat with you about what we can do for your business.

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