Everyone in business and marketing is always looking for a silver bullet.
It’s human nature to want to find the fastest way to the best outcome. That’s why our culture is full of 7 day diets, get-rich-quick schemes and supplements that promise everything in the form of a pill.
Unfortunately in the field of online reputation management, there isn’t a silver bullet. It takes a lot of planning, time and resources to fix a brand impacted by a lot of negative listings on search engines.
Or is there?
Read the sentence above again carefully. You’ll see that I said it takes a lot to fix a brand with negative listings.
Conversely that means that if you can prevent negative listings, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.
And therein lies the silver bullet.
The old adage is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and in the case of online brand protection that is absolutely true.
So the silver bullet is simply, take good care of your customers. Really good care. Really, really, really good care.
Here are some quick tips:
1. Immediately follow up with complaints. Ignore them at your own peril. You won’t believe the lengths a disgruntled customer will go to to vent his grievances online. And in today’s world of instant social media, his complaints will travel the globe in the click of a mouse.
2. Do whatever it takes to make an unhappy customer happy again. Think of it as similar to an unhappy spouse. Sure, they may be in the wrong, but in the end the only thing that matters in a marriage is that they are happy. Bend over backwards to make that unhappy customer smile again. There are companies that have literally built their brands around superior service, such as Rackspace and Zappos.com. The best part? It’s really not that hard.
3. Survey your customers regularly. It doesn’t have to be too scientific if you don’t have the time or money. In that case, a simple email or call will do to get a sense of their level of contentment. Or if you have more time and energy, go with a free service like Survey Monkey. For larger companies, outsource it to a company that specializes in surveys.
4. Offer many channels for customers to reach you. Offer it all. Email, forum, live chat and yes, the dreaded phone support. The more they yell and scream and you, the less likely they will post nasty comments on the dreaded RipoffReports.com, ComplaintsBoard.com or worse yet, Yelp.
So that’s the silver bullet…treating customers like gold.
Easy to say, harder to do. But don’t ignore it.