Posted by Jessica Render on Oct 17, 2016
Jessica Render

When a consumer’s first stop is Google, online reputation management can be critical to the success of a brand. Which begs the question: what do you do when your online reviews suck?

When a consumer’s first stop is Google, online reputation management can be critical to the success of a brand. Which begs the question: what do you do when your online reviews suck?

Maybe the reviews for your company are unfairly balanced, after all, we already know [people are more likely to post negative reviews than positive reviews], and that satisfied consumers generally stay a silent majority, or maybe your reviews are really outdated, or you recently had a massive branding or customer service shake-up and the change hasn’t been reflected online yet.

In the end, the reason doesn’t really matter, because the result is the same. A consumer sees negativity surrounding your product or service online and they may choose to steer clear of it.

Here are three ways to recover your online reputation when you’re faced with a sea of negative comments:

  1. Solve internal issues first. Analyze existing feedback online for common threads and issues. What, if anything, have been people largely been dissatisfied with? Is there an issue with your product, a breakdown in customer service, or is it simply that you’re over-promising and under-delivering on something that’s not a reflection of your product or personnel at all like delivery time? Whatever it is, you must first address and solve any legitimate customer complaints about your offering before you can begin to truly recover your online reputation.
  2. Ask for reviews. Sounds simple, but many brands don’t have an active review collection strategy in place. Even though many companies dedicate years to cultivating a stand-out product or service and perfecting their systems and customer service team, they’re still simply hoping for the best when it comes to users acknowledging that effort publicly through a satisfactory online review. Seems silly, right? Many consumers would be happy to share feedback if asked, but most won’t do it unprompted unless they’re unsatisfied or looking for a resolution to an issue they’re having. This why so many brands see that unbalanced, negative-leaning feedback on review sites.
  3. Get press. For brands that have made major changes, growth or improvement and are at a loss for how to inform or regain trust with consumers, a PR strategy is everything. This doesn’t just have to be major or local news publications, though they can certainly make a big impact, it can be getting industry experts to discuss what you’re doing or review your business on their own blog, encouraging user-generated content like testimonials, or creating your own content development strategy and getting links or mentions from users and industry experts.

For brands struggling to do this on there own, there are reputation management platforms and companies that can take the guesswork and headache out of the process.