An online presence can be both a curse and a blessing to business. That’s the hard and bleak truth. If you pay enough attention, you can be a step ahead in watching your brand shine. Disregard it, and you will soon be gaping at your downtrodden business.
In this day and age, almost every business maintains an online presence to reap its many advantages. Even customers prefer brands that are available online to communicate and engage in business. A survey has found that more than 65% of customers research a product online before deciding to purchase it.
To put things in perspective, imagine this to be your business. Have you ever thought about what potential customers are likely to find out about your brand when they search for your product? What kind of image will your online presence so far create in their mind? If you haven’t given this a thought, now is the time to do it, and here’s why!
The Impact of Poor Online Reputation on Customer Experience
Truth is, every brand gets a fair share of rotten tomatoes, whether it comes in the form of bad online reviews or direct complaints to the customer service team. But, the level of its impact on customer experience is determined by the manner in which you approach them. That is to say, whether you take enough effort to rectify them or choose to disregard them.
Customers lose trust in brands that don’t acknowledge the issues they face. They would be disappointed, and won’t feel confident enough to engage in business with you. This is because part of the perception that customers develop about a brand that eventually contributes to customer experience comes from the online presence of the business. Many customer touchpoints happen online and if the channels of interaction are derailed, the repercussions can be scary.
The Unignorable Slippery Slope
The effect of a dismal online reputation doesn’t stop with lack of confidence. It’s actually when customer experience starts to wither gradually. If your business has a cold reputation for being irresponsive for online queries or doesn’t pay attention to engaging with customers, you are at the brink of losing them. Did you know that 86% of customers hesitate to purchase from a brand that has a poor online reputation? Customers won’t hesitate to switch to a better alternative even if your product may be better than the competitor. On your end, there will be a drop in sales, conversion rates, and customer retention which is really bad for business!
So, what can you do about it?
If you run an e-commerce store, understand that an online reputation can make or break the business. So, it’s crucial to attention to how you portray your brand to the audience not only in terms of a killer website but also with killer customer experience. If you run a physical store as well, think of your online presence as an alternative face of your business that you present to the customers. Don’t wait until customers step into the store to provide a good customer experience. Build your reputation online as well.
The Good Side of Negative Reviews
The silver lining in the dark cloud is that a share of bad reviews may actually be very beneficial.
According to a research study by Northwestern University, “perfect is too good to be true,” and negative reviews portray the authenticity of the brand thereby establishing trust. The research further suggests that a rating of 4.2-4.5 stars are the ideal rating to induce purchases.
So, take it as a learning curve and appreciate negative reviews. Communicate with customers as a responsible brand and apologize for the defect or inconvenience caused. Furthermore, assure the customer that your business will pay attention to the matter, and try to rectify it in the best possible manner.
With the internet dominating the 21st century, customers have the privilege of expressing their experience with a brand to a global audience within a matter of minutes. It’s faster and more impactful than feedback channeled through word of mouth. So, it is important to take your business’s online presence seriously and be aware of its impact on your brand’s reputation. If you have been maintaining a negative online reputation so far, now is the time to remedy it. Be accountable for your mistakes, and focus more on gearing positive responses. Always focus on providing a good customer experience both online and offline to maintain a good reputation!
Jaakko is an award-winning CX professional and entrepreneur at Feedbackly, founder and community professional at the biggest entrepreneurial digital community in Finland – Yrittäjä.io. He is a notorious keynote speaker from entrepreneurial stories to day to day human communications and customer experiences.