5 examples of online reputation management done right
Like it or not, at one point or another you’ll probably have to deal with a negative customer comment that’s been published online
Did you know, as many as 94% of customers say that a negative review convinced them not to do business with a brand?
We can’t underestimate the importance of online reputation management.
Like it or not, at one point or another you’ll probably have to deal with a negative customer comment that’s been published online. This means you need to learn how to respond to such criticism. After all, it’s vital you react to these comments in a timely and thought-out manner, as this is the only way you can adequately protect your online reputation.
In light of this, we’ve compiled five real-life examples of how brands manage their online reputation.
Spoiler alert: all these techniques have one thing in common – these companies use negative customer comments, concerns and queries to not only help the original commenter but also to demonstrate to other prospects that you value and respect the opinions of your consumers.
1. Nike support
The bigger your brand gets, the harder it is to find the time to complete all your daily tasks. From mastering the art of content marketing to conducting competitor research to handling customer support emails, it’s a challenge to find a spare hour to manage your online reputation.
If this is something you’re struggling with, take a leaf out of Nike’s book and create a separate support handle. In other words, Nike has a separate Twitter account known as @NikeSupport, which is purely dedicated to handling customer queries.
If you haven’t already, launch a social media account that only handles customer service issues. This works wonders for keeping customer comments and queries in one place, and as such, increases the chances of you getting back to consumers in a timely fashion.
2. Joe Dough Sandwich Shop
Sometimes, you can respond to customer criticism with humour. However, it’s down to you to decide whether this method is appropriate given the style and tone of your brand.
On the whole, the only time you should crack a joke in response to negativity is if the customer complaint isn’t overly serious. So, think long and hard before using this method – the last thing you want to do is accidentally trigger a backlash!
Conversely, when done well, humour can diffuse what would otherwise be an awkward and challenging situation.
Take Joe Dough Sandwich Shop, for example; they used humour as a fabulous way to respond to a bad Yelp review (see pic below). This intelligent comment not only made light of the situation, but it also worked wonders for boosting their profile online.
3. Wine Country Tour Shuttle
If a consumer is particularly angry, then sometimes even the politest of responses highlighting a genuine solution still won’t be enough for the disgruntled soul.
If you’re suffering from a scenario like this, all you can do is thank them for their comments, address the issues directly, explain how you’ll rectify the problem, and then focus your time and energy elsewhere.
However, you need to bear in mind that when you publish a response to an unreasonable consumer, you aren’t just posting to appease the original commenter. Instead, you’re showing anyone else who might be reading these complaints that you’re competent when it comes to handling these kinds of customer queries.
Take the below example of Wine Country Tour Shuttle; the manager did a fantastic job in responding to this review. Needless to say, you could certainly learn a thing or two from these screenshots:
4. Stamford Plaza Brisbane
Stamford Plaza Brisbane is an excellent example of how management should handle complaints published by someone who’s usually a loyal customer.
Queries like this are far more likely to raise genuine issues, so you would be wise to listen to what they’re saying and then provide a thorough response with an actionable solution.
This is why we love the following example:
- This answer starts with a simple “thank you.” By doing this, they immediately communicate to the commenter and anyone else who’s reading, that they’ve listened to the customer and that they respect their opinion.
- They then move onto focus on the positive experiences the commenter mentioned (this serves to highlight that not everything about their stay was terrible).
- From there, the manager explains how they plan to address these issues to ensure the same problem doesn’t occur again.
Voila! This is a superb structure you can use to respond to similar comments.
5. Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic
If you’re working in a niche where emotions run high like – healthcare, veterinary clinics, counseling, education, and so on, there’s a good chance you’ll receive all kinds of negative reviews.
After all, when people are emotionally involved with your products and services, they’re far more likely to view your shortcomings in a way that evokes passion and in some cases anger and upset.
This can sometimes lead to the consumer questioning the integrity of your brand. If this happens to you, respond in a way that’s both professional and classy. This is a chance to reiterate the values of your company in addition to highlighting any relevant protocols and procedures in place that ensure your customers receive high-quality service.
Then all that’s left to do is to say what you’ll work onto further enhance your services (in light of their comments). You need to reassure them you’ll rectify any outstanding flaws to guarantee this problem doesn’t ever happen again.
As you can see, there are many ways you can manage your online reputation. With customer review platforms like Trustpilot, you can add an increased level of credibility to your brand.
Rather than feeling dejected after receiving negative feedback, you should take it as an opportunity to prove just how much you value your customer’s opinions with timely and courteous responses. Moreover, by taking constructive criticism into account, you can prompt positive changes to your business and continually improve your product/service offerings.
And there’s more good in bad reviews. You don’t necessarily want a perfect five out of five-star rating, as this can prompt customers to think the comments are fake. This isn’t surprising when you consider that the average rating on Yelp is 3.65 – a score like this suggests that the positive comments are more likely to be authentic.
All you can do as a business owner is swot up on how you can best handle these grievances. Hopefully, the above examples gave you a solid idea on how to handle these challenging situations.
Each time you receive criticism online, please feel free to refer back to this article to better construct a response that preserves the pristine reputation of your brand.
How to Build A Strong Corporate Reputation
(This is the second in a two-part series on Corporate Reputation. The first post, Why Your Corporate Reputation Matters, explained the definition of corporate reputation, the method Reputation Institute uses to measure corporate reputation, and the benefits of having a strong corporate reputation among different stakeholder groups. In today’s post, you’ll learn how to improve your corporate reputation and what you as a leader must do specifically to build an excellent reputation.)
Having an excellent corporate reputation prompts customers to buy your products, investors to value your company more highly, employees to be more productive, and other stakeholders to recommend and support you. How? Three companies show how to establish and maintain a strong corporate reputation.
Example 1: Johnson & Johnson — Strong Foundation of Trust
You might know about the lawsuits that have been filed and judgments that have been awarded against Johnson & Johnson for the toxic effects of its talcum powder. It’s no surprise that general consumer sentiment about J&J has dramatically declined since the issues have come to light. But J&J’s other product brands, Band-aid and Tylenol, have not experienced a drop in perceptions. And the company was recently named #17 on the list of Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies, which is based on perceptions among executives, directors, and analysts about the quality of the company’s management, its social responsibility to the community and the environment, and the quality of its products or services, among other factors.
J&J has managed to retain such esteem has built up a reservoir of goodwill and trust for over 120 years. It started when it launched its baby and maternity business in 1894, which helped it form positive emotional associations with the public. Then in 1943, it crafted what it calls “Our Credo” which describes the company’s core values. The Credo starts off “We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services” and J&J’s commitment to it is is considered the gold standard among many business leaders. During the Tylenol crisis in the 80’s when seven people died, J&J managed the situation so well that it is credited with changing not only how over-the-counter medicine is sold but saving the company from a damaging blow to its brand. So over the years, people have come to trust J&J and it appears that trust is sustaining it through this latest situation.
J&J demonstrates the importance of acting consistently and building trust proactively so that you have a strong foundation to support you when your corporate reputation is threatened.
Example 2: Samsung — Innovation & Solid Management
Samsung has experienced a lot of problems in the last year: First its Galaxy phones were exploding, then its washing machines had to be recalled, and last month, its CEO was sentenced to jail for his involvement in a government bribery scandal. But amazingly through this period, Samsung’s profitability hasn’t suffered — in fact, it’s increased. And it remains the share leader of the global smartphone market and its share is poised to rise even higher.
Samsung has managed to thrive against the odds because it has a proven track record of innovating terrific products. Also it responded to the exploding phone issue thoroughly by issuing a complete recall including free returns and exchanges and removing all of the problem products off the shelf. And it has effectively isolated the problems its CEO has faced from its products by continuing to introduce innovative breakthrough new products like the Galaxy 8 which has generated stellar reviews and by running its component business skillfully.
From Samsung, we learn that innovation and solid management can counteract or even offset the negative effects of crisis and scandal, so you retain an overall positive corporate reputation.
Example 3: Unilever — Clear, Compelling Brand Position
The last example contrasts 2 companies: KraftHeinz and Unilever. Earlier this year, KraftHeinz’s $143 billion attempt to take over Unilever was squashed. It was a huge loss for Kraft and its owners who were looking for fast ways to grow — but a major victory for Unilever whose value surged after the deal fell through.
Kraft failed in part because it lost public trust after the way it handled its takeover of Cadbury. It reversed many of the promises it had made when it initiated the hostile takeover – it closed factories and laid off thousands of workers, it took cost out of its product recipes which changed the taste of its beloved chocolate, and it spun off its snack businesses, basically signaling that it didn’t value the Cadbury brand which was so important to the public and the U.K. market in general.
Meanwhile, Unilever has been building a clear, compelling brand position with its Sustainable Living Plan. Its efforts included improving product formulations to be more sustainable, reducing the impact its operations have on the environment, and introducing social programs like encouraging hand washing in developing countries in order to prevent the spread of disease.
So when KrafthHeinz decided to try to takeover Unilever, Unilever was able to rally enough support to show KraftHeinz investors they wouldn’t be successful. Unilever shows the tremendous power of a corporate reputation fueled by a clear, compelling brand position.
Lead the Way to a Great Corporate Reputation
As a leader, you should implement the lessons from these examples in your strategies and operations. In addition, you can build a strong corporate reputation by:
- Adopting the role of a brand ambassador. See yourself as an influential representative of your company who can cultivate the company’s reputation and trust with everyone that you interact with – whether that’s a supplier or business partner, an employee, a person in your neighborhood, or simply a friend or family member. According to the PR firm Weber Shandwick, consumer perceptions about companies are influenced the most by what other people say (88%) – a company’s website and advertising have far less impact (74% and 56% respectively.) So you should ensure you are sharing positive messages about your company to everyone.
- Educating and inspiring your team. Be a role-model and demonstrate reputation-building attitudes and behaviors to your team. Ensure everyone understands how they influence your company’s reputation. It’s easy for people to form a myopic view of their work; it’s up to you to help them see their connection to the company’s bigger picture and purpose. What you say and do is far more important to your people than what your CEO or anyone in the executive committee does or says. In your communication and action, you must inspire your people to be brand ambassadors as well.