The way a potential customer views your brand is incredibly important to your success, no matter your industry. If you’re viewed favorably, it may be easier for you to attract more business. On the other hand, if you’ve received some bad press or developed a negative imagine, you may struggle to attract new customers.
Unfortunately, you’re not completely in control of your company’s reputation. Past customers and prospective clients are free to develop their own opinions about you and share them with their friends and family. But while you can’t entirely control what is shared, you can manage your reputation.
Reputation management allows you to monitor what is said about your company online, track how your company is perceived and make necessary changes to try and persuade your image in a more positive direction. But reputation management isn’t only for big companies or major brands. Properly managing your reputation can be beneficial to companies in a variety of industries.
Let’s take a look at a few industries that should consider reputation management:
1. Airlines, Hotels and the Travel Industry
Traveling is a stressful time for everyone. When you’re trying to get from Point A to Point B, a lot can go wrong. That’s why airlines, hotels and other companies in the travel industry are particularly prone to negative comments and negative news stories. When something negative is put online, customers will quickly turn to one of the many competitors out there.
Online reputation management is beneficial to these companies because it can help them take control of bad situation before things get out of control. When customers are quick to jump on their cellphones to film altercations or share their bad experience on social media, airlines and hotels need to be prepared to react. Reputation management can help them do that before the story grows too large.
2. Rehab Centers and Hospitals
When a patient goes to a rehab center or hospital, they want to know they’re getting the best care out there. This means they’ll typically hop online to research different options before they make a choice about who to visit. If your rehab center or hospital has poor reviews or has bad press, you may lose potential patients.
Rehab centers and hospitals need to seem like welcoming, safe places for individuals seeking help. Online reputation management for rehab centers and hospitals can help you respond to poor reviews, but may also help you uncover underlying issues with your staff or facilities – helping you improve your processes and provide a better experience.
3. Financial Firms and Banks
Financial firms and banks are another area that can benefit from managing their online reputation. Because people are particularly protective about their money or investments, they want to know that their cash will be safe with a particular firm or bank. If there are poor reviews or even speculation of stealing or unethical behavior, it could have serious consequences on your financial institution.
When it seems like people are just looking for banks or financial institutions to make a mistake, proper reputation management can prevent a negative story from becoming viral. If you’re properly monitoring your image, you’re able to stop a negative story from blowing up before you can respond. This can help you save customers from pulling out.
4. Restaurants and Food Service
The first thing just about everyone does before heading to a new restaurant is jump online to check out the reviews. If past visitors weren’t happy with their experience, didn’t like the food or thought the staff was rude, new customers may decide it isn’t worth their time to try it for themselves. With too many poor reviews, restaurants can lose serious business rather quickly.
Reputation management helps restaurants take back control of their reviews. While it isn’t advised to leave fake reviews or pay for positive reviews, reputation management can help restaurants get more positive reviews that will improve their image. It can also help them properly respond to negative reviews to try and change poor perceptions.
5. Marketing and Communications
Marketing companies know how important their online reputation is to the success of a company, so if they aren’t taking the proper steps to control their own image, it can be difficult to trust they’ll put in the effort to protect their clients. For a marketing or communication firm, it’s important to lead by example.
Reputation management can help marketing and communication firms create a strong online image for themselves – something they can then relate back to their clients and customers. Properly managing their online reputation can make them seem more trustworthy, improving their chances of landing a new client.
6. Retail Stores
When customers have a bad shopping experience at a specific store, they’re likely to run and tell all their friends or family members about it. If they’re particularly unhappy with the experience they had, they may hop online to leave a review or make their frustration public. This can be incredibly damaging for a retail store, especially a small locally-owned shop.
For a retail store, it’s all about connecting with the customers. Online reputation management can help you better understand if someone is spreading negative comments about your business and provide you with an opportunity to make it right. When you know what is said, when it is said and you’re able to connect with the person saying it, you can turn your reputation around and show customers that you care about making them happy.
The internet makes it easy for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions – even if they’re at your expense. Properly monitoring what is said about you can help you control your brand image and ensure you’re seen in a positive light. No matter your industry, you should consider how to manage your online reputation.
Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest design news and always has some coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.