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How important is a modern business's online reputation?

How important is online reputation for the modern business? What are some negative impacts of a bad online reputation? I have heard many times that having a strong online reputation is necessary for every business.

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10

It's very important. In my industry (online advertising), it is completely normal for a business to change their name after some bad press. Now, we've had some missteps along the way as well, but we've never changed our name, and we consistently communicate that. As a result, we leveraged the tagline "If you want to succeed, you have to change the game. Not your name." We had many positive accolades for it because of how true it is of our industry.

That being said, people who are familiar with our industry respect the transparency and ownership to any bad reviews. Concurrently, those just learning of us sometimes mention a few key reviews we know are out there. We know this is a hurdle for some customers, so we walk them through some of the negative comments and what we have done to address them. The answers are overwhelmingly satisfactory.

It hurts your reputation if you let it, or you can use it as a great teaching tool on how to do things better.

Anonymous User
8

Jim, that's a pretty broad question and as the nature of the business is important to the answer, it would have helped if you could have provided some background.

For instance, if you are in the service industry (hotel, restaurant, catering, car repair etc) then it is absolutely vital. One really bad review can cost you a huge amount in lost potential business. Often people will go online to find and shortlist a list of suppliers / venues, before making a purchase / booking, and your bad online reputation will definitely cost you business in this instance.

However, if you are a much larger and well known company, and yet still in the service industry, but with a strong brand, let's say an airline, or a large hotel chain, then aspects of a bad online reputation will not be as costly. For instance, I think we can all agree that a large number of reviews for a ccertain low cost airline are everywhere. But does it stop them from filling their planes with travellers? No, of course not. But then that is down to their business model which is all about getting you from A to B (although sometimes they put you in C!) as cheaply as possible, so customers will accept the negative reviews and make their judgement based on price value alone, but they will be armed in advance from the bad online rep as to what to expect. So I guess their strategy of dealing with a bad online rep turns the negative into a positive.

So in summary, how important is online reputation for the modern business - well that depends on the business, the industry it is in, and the buying triggers for its customers.

The negative impacts of bad online rep. are mainly found through the loss of potential business. It's hard to quantify how much a bad review or rep will cost you though. Again, it very much depends on your business and the value of the product / service you sell to your clients and customers. Is a bad online rep. better or worse than NO online reputation, that's maybe a good question for us to ponder. You see at least with a bad rep you will still be found online, and there may be strategies that you can deploy to still win business despite this bad rep (as the example above). But if you have NO online presence, then how will prospective customers and clients find you? Unless you are a big brand / market leader, having NO online presence is a huge disadvantage in most types of business.

So in summary re negative impacts, you could (and could is the key word here) lose some business from some prospects, but I would expect your current customers / clients to stay as they would be more influenced by the service / quality that you are actually delivering to them, as a current customer. The biggest risk or harm could well come from having NO online rep at all.

I hope this helps Bill and wish you well in your ventures.

Thanks For the Comment and explain the importance of Online Reputation.

6

While there are examples of businesses in most sectors without a strong online reputation these businesses are usually very strong in other forms of marketing or service. They may also be small enough with enough walk in work to not require a presence. Sometimes I am surprised when I see a large business without a strong online presence; this can be the business relying heavily on a strong brand following prior to the popularity of the internet - this will not last for ever though.

A strong and positive online reputation is a must for most if not all businesses these days. When comparing even two local businesses for my business I will always do a search to see any positive or negative results. And I'm not alone in doing this. In the absence of any online presence leads to the consumer questioning what the business has to hide.

It is so easy and cheap today to build an online presence I can't understand why any business would not have one.

6

Well, if I talk about importance then you yourself can get an idea why companies are tweeting about their business over the twitter,Facebook and other social media site ?? They are hiring various firms to make sure that their online reputation doesn't gets worn off ! I have seen a number of firmware are taking loss in terms of potential clients. Let us say you have a clients which has gone mad upon you and he has reviewed you bad over some sources, and say I am looking forward to hire some firms which offer some services and by time I have started to find that you can provide some help with my need. But when I started searching about you I have hit a page where one your clients has review you bad means everything is messed up now. After reading the review what I am going to do is hit the close button and you have lost another potential client. But think this in an opposite manner if you're having positive reviews and having good online reputation means it will add up the chances that.... So, I guess this short example is enough to let you understand "Importance of online reputation for business","Negative Impacts of having bad online reputation" and "why strong online reputation is necessary".

Anonymous User
6

It's absolutely vital - nearly every age group now looks at you online or via mobile as their principal source of information, so if your presentation or customer service isn't web/mobile friendly you are immediately limiting your prospective sales. Even more importantly, your customers and employees can report on you and share that information fast with potentially disastrous impact on your reputation and bottom line. Take a look at Glass Door in terms of company employees reporting on their experience as staff.

6

I would go so far as to say that due to the tremendous increase in the number of reviews, review platforms and the growing trust factor with consumers, any business's online reputation can easily determine their future revenue and growth potential. A business with a bad reputation will almost always be discounted heavily if the owners want to sell the company. Ever heard of a good will factor in business valuations?

No matter how someone finds your business, by word of mouth, advertising or search, 82% of them will jump online for more information. Of those, more than half will look for previous customer reviews and make decisions based on those reviews.

After 20 years of working with small and medium businesses, and 10 years working with Fortune 100's, I now focus exclusively on coaching and servicing SMB's based on developing and managing their reputation SO THAT they can leverage that reputation to get more customers in the door.

We live in a very connected world and word of mouth is now measured in visitor engagement and REVIEWS! Here's a series of articles on Building a Solid Reputation Foundation - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140629204837-504850-bulding-a-solid-reputation-foundation-part-1

5

Online reputation management helps shield your business from negative reviews, posts and web content on web. In my opinion, online reputation is necessary for every business. If any bad result appears in search results of your business name, then, it affects your business directly. I recently read an interesting blog post about protecting online reputation. Here is the link; http://www.fatbit.com/fab/online-reputation-management-corporate-challenges-expert-solutions.

Thanks For the Comment and explain the importance of Online Reputation.

Anonymous User
5

It is important. But what is more important is your business integrity, if that is ok, then you can fight ill intention of persons and business competition. In sales and marketing there is an old saying - every marketing good or bad - is good marketing if you know how to turn it into sales.

When someone is writing against your business, the people reading it will check also what you have to say online. You just need to be aware of what is going on. so good thing is to keep track of google searches, specialized forums/sites where people are talking bad about you. And act upon that. Never fight, be polite and constructive.

Also you can always take legal actions if the person talking bad has no background fact as this is a sure win on any court.

Anonymous User
5

Remove the word 'modern'. For any business, reputation is hard to build, easy to break and most difficult to re-build. Bad reputation has killed businesses.

With internet, where your users have access to give their opinion about your service in online forums, you will need to be extremely proactive to manage it well. Last thing you should do is, knowingly let go an unhappy customer without adequate response. Having said this, bad feedback is possible - and what you need to do is: respond to any bad feedback promptly. Acknowledging the issue is half battle won. Back it up with personalised action plan to either compensate or resolve the problem. Or clarify it.

What a prospective customer want to see is what you did when someone complained about your service. Most new customers understand that problems can happen but they look forward to what supplier or service provider did.

Hope this gives you the perspective!

5

Having a strong online reputation is vital to any successful business. Because Social Media has now become the voice of the customer it is vital to monitor it 24/7. All you need is a negative review or response from a customer can do major damage.
I tell my ecommerce clients that it is so vital to respond to a customer complaint proactively and make the customer happy because the customer experience is so vital. Simply put turn a negative review into a positive review

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