Do you remember when the only way to complain about a purchase was by calling a 1-800 number? It was a time when companies defined their image and managed their brand with a series of readymade slogans, catchphrases and 30 second commercials. Customer complaints were dealt with on the company's time and schedule. For a long time it worked, but no longer.
Online reputation management is a new landscape for today's B2B enterprises. Business customers are tweeting, texting and relying upon social media to share what they love and hate about a company's product, its approach to business and its brand. You can't hold them back anymore and you can't manage those complaints on your time and when you're ready.
Your customers define your brand now. They define your reputation. They alone determine whether your product will be widely accepted or completely rejected. So, what is the link between data enrichment and online reputation management? Better yet, what are some of the things you need to look at within your marketing data that can help you better define your brand alongside your B2B customers?
1. Look at Your Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
The simplest way to know if there are any negative reviews about your offering is to type in your company name in a search engine alongside words like "scam", "fraud", "dishonest", "bad" or any other variation thereof. Don't just stick to researching your SERPs with favorable results and your chosen keywords. Take it a step further and investigate sources online where customer complaints are emerging. This is a critical portion of your marketing data that you simply can't ignore.
2. Don't Shy Away from Customer Complaints
Customers want to see that you're invested in them as partners. A company that tries to resolve an online customer complaint is one that stands above the crowd. Differentiate your company by being proactive with customer complaints. Identify the source and pinpoint the most common complaints emerging from your customers. Are these complaints specific to a given product? Are they about your after-sales service? Are they about your customer service or your company's approach to sales? These complaints may appear on multiple social media channels and online forums. Understanding where they come from helps you better understand your customers.
3. Provide Workable Solutions
You won't be able to solve all problems. However, that's not the point. The focus is to show customers what you're willing to do to right a wrong. Tracking the root cause of problems is a great way to round out your marketing data.
Provide workable solutions that empower customers. Let them know you're going to work with them all the way until a reasonable solution is found. Your goal is to help them see you as a trusted resource. It can happen if you take the time to work with your customers the moment a problem arises.
4. Follow up and Get Personal
Continuously follow up online. If you're engaging a customer on a social media forum, then other users will be able to make their own decision as to whether you're really trying or just paying lip service. Most importantly, make it personal. Give upset customers direct phone numbers and ways of contacting your company. This type of proactive approach will get noticed.
5. Assess Your Progress
You're not going to change perceptions overnight. This is a never-ending challenge but it's one that brings you one-step closer to your customers. It improves the buyer-seller relationship and helps you get noticed. Track your progress by looping back to each problem and seeing whether you were able to change your customer's mind. Over time your efforts may just improve your SERPs on some of those less-than-positive reviews.
Your customers are voicing their opinions in real-time, and if you listen carefully, your marketing data will tell you what they're saying. Become part of that discussion and you'll find a willing partner who will work with you to make your brand more relevant in your market.