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How to Bounce Back from your Negative Online Reputation

The internet is our most open and accessible media which is fantastic for allowing people to speak their minds and comment on the things that matter to them, but for brands it can be a real headache. The old adage that a happy customer tells one person but an unhappy customer tells several is compounded and multiplied on the internet. A negative comment or review can spread much further than a positive one, and it may have a huge impact on your company’s reputation and sales.

So how can you manage your reputation online and bounce back from negative feedback on your products or service?

The general advice is to not ignore negative reviews or to respond aggressively, but to recognise that managing customer feedback and expectations takes time and is an ongoing process. Simply deleting any negative comments you receive does nothing to deal with the underlying problem. And, in fact, shoppers will see right through this tactic anyway – a balanced mix of reviews demonstrates trust and openness.

Whether you take on online brand management yourself or hire a PR agency to do the job, here are our top tips to keeping an overall positive online reputation.

Before you can take any action you need to understand the problem – why has your online reputation taken a nosedive? Is there a batch of faulty or low-quality products? Is your website difficult to use?

Once you have an idea of what is going wrong you can start to work out how to put it right. Start this stage by gathering all the information you can on what people are saying and about what. Look also at how your company responded, whether there are any common trends across certain products, services or departments, and the effect the negative reputation is having.

Then you can begin to brainstorm ideas for building a more positive reputation through open and honest responses to complaints and problems, admitting mistakes where appropriate and showing your commitment to putting things right.

Throughout all this you should not lose sight of the positives that have already been achieved. Do use feedback from happy customers to help you understand what works and how you can turn things around.

You should also bear in mind that things can move very quickly online. This means that a negative comment today could be forgotten next week, but also that you need to be on the ball at all times and ready to respond immediately.

Maintaining a positive online reputation is something that must be worked on consistently over time and you cannot let your efforts slide. Stay on top of what people are saying about you and respond accordingly and in a timely manner and even when things do go wrong you will be able to weather the storm by showing that you recognise problems and take action to prevent them reoccurring.

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