How can you damage your reputation online?

Posted on June 30, 2010

 

Damage to your online reputation requires a great deal of reputation management to put right. Once something has gone wrong and blogs and forums start cropping up all over the Internet, filled with comments from dissatisfied customers slating your service, rolling out an SEO campaign to deal with the problem is often too little, too late.

Once something happens to trigger unhappy customers to put keyboard to website and tell the world (and it really is the world) about how unhappy they are with your company, you could find Google’s search results quickly filled with negative press when someone searches for your company name.

Yes, reputation management can have an impact after the fact, but it’s better to control search results for your company name and website address before anything bad crops up online (and hopefully nothing ever will).

It’s better yet to ensure that nothing goes wrong in the first place, although it’s not always through the fault of the company in question. Here are some ways that your company could be on the wrong end of a negative blog, so that you know to avoid them.

Website erring when trying to use/order

This is such a basic mistake that it’s almost not worth putting down here… almost. However, many customers still find that when they access a website and try to place an order that the site fails them, and when credit card details are being passed across the Internet, this does not inspire confidence. Make sure you have error reporting on your website so that any errors are caught and dealt with, and ensure that the customer received a friendly error message explaining what happened, rather than a default server error – as that will inspire them to tell others of their misfortune.

Failure to respond to customer emails

When you’re putting business through a company, you expect them to respond. If you email the company with a query, and they cannot be bothered to get back to you, why would you use them? However, once again this happens more than you would think, and it happens with big brand retail websites too. Some companies use third parties to handle their customer services – make sure they’re doing a good job and test them yourself from time to time.

Issues with delivery

This is a major issue online, as most orders online require offline delivery (unless the orders are for downloads of course). With only a handful of delivery firms in the UK, delivering millions of packages each day, something will always go wrong. How this is handled is paramount to the good name of your business. Always Google any delivery firms you may be considering using and read any negative comments that made have made about their service. If you use them, their service becomes your service.

The best way to deal with a bad reputation online is to not get one in the first place, and these three tips should enable you to avoid the most basic pitfalls that many companies fall into unawares.

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