I recently had an experience where my family was unceremoniously asked to stop patronizing a business. Why? There were issues with the staff and the staff no longer wanted to deal with customers that fit a specific profile. We were one of many clients that were asked to stop coming. (I know that’s super vague but the details aren’t important)
This sounds off, right? I thought so too. When I dug around more and kept asking questions, it boiled down to a small handful of staff members not wanting to work that hard and using their sway to get the rest of the staff and management to agree with their opinion. These less motivated staff members are costing the company money and damaging their reputation.
Brand reputation is something that can’t be deprioritized by companies. There are a lot of digital channels where customers can do damage. Bad reviews go viral and word of mouth is still a powerful marketing tool. When you’ve allowed your internal office politics and infighting to affect your client base, you’ve got issues that you may not be able to recover from. You’ll start to see more employee turn over, revenue will decline, and you’ll stop seeing as many qualified leads coming in. Your competitors will jump on the change to take business away from you and potentially use the situation to make you look worse, especially if they can get testimonials from disgruntled former clients.
Where do you need to pay the most attention to brand reputation online?
When you’re a brand you probably have a love/hate relationship with social media. You need to have a digital footprint for people to know you’re a real business and to learn more about you. Some may argue that having your brand on social media is just as important as having a website. The downside of being on social media is that you’ve opened your business up to the world and people are not short on opinions. Potential customers tend to do their research before making a decision, including reading social media comments associated with your brand.
Yelp, Google, Glassdoor, Amazon – the places that people can leave their feedback is abundant these days. Customer are allowed to leave any kind of review they want, positive or negative. Many customers make snap judgments by these reviews. If the reviews about your company are mostly negative, people will keep scrolling onto the next company that has more positive feedback.
Once someone from the media catches the scent of your disgruntled former clients, you’re likely to end up in the news. If we’re being honest, people love to hear about a company falling down – it’s human nature to be morbidly fascinated by someone else’s failure. Once a news story is published about a misstep that your company took it can be shared and reshared time and time again.
The more your name is mentioned online, the more likely it is to be on the first page of search results. If your brand’s name is being mentioned negatively over and over, it will be really hard to move past those posts and articles. When someone is looking for services you offer they’ll only see the bad things that have been written about it, including reviews.
Every business has some level of office politics. If it gets so bad that it’s costing you money and customers your brand reputation may be beyond repair. However, if you keep the lines of communication with your clientele and the media open, you stay honest and you make a genuine effort to address concerns and turn things around you could avoid a disaster.
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