How’s Your Online Reputation?

5 tips to help you maintain what others are saying about your company.

The Internet can be a fabulous tool for introducing people to your business.

Yet, like everything else in life, those same qualities also have a dark side, too. In today’s social media climate it’s too easy for people to lob insults or give really bad reviews. If you’re on Yelp! or have a Google review on your results page, you may get some negative feedback.

As a lawn care or landscape company, people are going to have opinions about the service you provide, such as your technician’s customer service, how you or your employees answered the phone, or how your technicians treated someone’s property. And they may have a legitimate claim. However, the whole world—or at least your local world that you want to reach—will see these reviews … and read them.

However, it’s your responsibility to address any and every negative comment that comes your way—and ignoring those negative comments won’t make them go away.

Here are 5 tips to help you manage your online reputation:

  1. Set up Google alerts. When you set up Google alerts, you’ll get an email every time your name or your company’s name pops up in Google. It’s easy to set up; click here to learn more.
  2. You should respond to negative comments. But first, take a moment to catch your breath. It can be disturbing to see a negative comment—especially if you’re blindsided by it. Take a few minutes to calm down. Depending on the issue, you may need some time to gather all of the facts before responding. However, do at least connect with the reviewer and let them know that you’re working on the problem and will get back to them. Then, do exactly what you said you would do.
  3. Investigate, research and ask questions. If the customer’s complaint is about something that happened to their property while your techs were there or something that was said to the homeowner by the tech that could be construed as rude or inconsiderate, ask your techs about it. Look at any notes that your tech left, review the property and proposal. In other words, gather information.
  4. Some comments aren’t worth addressing. Unfortunately, spammers not only send spam, but can spam negative comments or reviews. Fight fire positively—and get your name in with websites and social media that have higher domain authority (DA), such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and your local Chamber of Commerce. Keep posting comments on your company’s Facebook page and Google+ which also have higher DAs.
  5. If the negative comment was legitimate, make it right. No business owner or company is perfect. And it’s hard to admit when we mess up, but there are times when mistakes are made. The best you can do is to make it right, as well as possibly retain your client. Reply to the unhappy client in an email or phone call, own up to the problem and apologize, and then offer to fix it.

None of us like to read bad reviews about our company, but use these times to positively and proactively fix all legitimate problems. Own up to it if it’s your company’s fault, but if it’s just an anonymous spammer, get yourself on credible websites that will push down those invisible fault-finders well below the radar.

Read “Manage Your Online Reputation Part 2” here.

If you’d like to learn more about maintaining your online reputation, see the sources listed below: