The do’s and don’ts of reputation management.
We like to face facts the way they are. Many internet marketers, while pitching to clients claim that the digital media presence and audience engagement will do wonders to turn around the way things are. But digital media comes along with certain limitations, and we will highlight them here. But first, where is it that digital media can help you.
Where Digital Media will help
If you do not have a website, or a digital spot for people to reach your business, you’re definitely losing out on a lot of potential opportunities. Although, depending on the nature of your business, all opportunities lost may not be potentially revenue generating opportunities, but there are very few businesses today, that do not have competition in the digital space today.
Some people will like to argue that their business is protected because of limited internet penetration. But, it won’t be long before the internet reaches every corner of the globe. And, if your business is not on the internet yet, you are missing out on many opportunities. You may be surprised to know, there are multiple service providers today, who will be happy to host a marketplace for you at a nominal price. And also provide you with logistics and delivery in locations that you think are unreachable today. But, even before you using e-commerce, having presence on the web will help your potential buyers and customers know about your business, read your story and learn how to contact you. A simple and well-designed website that is mobile-ready and accessible is a good start for your web presence. If you haven’t explored these opportunities, digital media may surely prove beneficial to you.
Where Digital Media will not help
One of the greatest motivators why companies are driven to invest in digital media interventions, is because they face a lot of heat owing to disgruntled customers complaining about bad experiences online. In fact, many online marketers find it difficult to deal with internet trollers, who are basically people having very high standards of expectation around products and services they use.
So, if you are looking to turn things around with paid publicity and blogger reviews, in all probability, you might be just end up spending through your noses towards such investment. And inadvertently, you’ll end up creating more channels where disgruntled customers can leave their remarks.
Why does this happen?
Let’s consider a case, where you buy a new microwave oven for your kitchen. After the installation, you used the microwave, and you get many a scrumptious meal from the oven. The controls are easy to use, the cavity is easy to clean, and it even has voice commands that your family really loves to use. After many years of service you are really happy with your purchase. The oven is made by a small manufacturer who many do not know, but you’re happy since you got it at a reasonable price and it’s been serving you well.
On the other hand, the case could be, that you have purchased an oven from a widely-known manufacturer, and it is not functioning well immediately after purchase. You are trying to call the service centre, but the numbers provided in the manual are outdated and you are unable to get through. You talk to a few friends, and instead of finding a solution, you realise you have paid more than others because your dealer did not make you aware of a promotion campaign at the time of purchase that you could benefit from. You are trying to get in touch with the dealership, but it has recently moved location.
Many customers in such a situation, will go online to try and find a solution. But when they run a search for the company or the product, they find that a lot of customers are in a similar boat. It is not hard to imagine what you will do next. While, had you been a happy customer, you will possibly not make an extra effort to find the company’s page and leave your comments urging others to try the product.
What you can do
As a company, if you are seeing a rise in the number of disgruntled customers online, you probably need to start working on improving your after-sales service. If you already have the system in place, communicating about your redressal system will show positive results in improving the reputation of your brand.
Funnel the grievances
You should provide your customers with an appropriate space to report their grievances. Although, it might seem like a bold step to get all your aggrieved customers in one place, it actually makes your team’s job simpler if all complaints are handled from a single location. Your responses to older complaints can provide a strong reference to new customers who are coming in with a similar problem. Once customers see that you are making efforts to address problems, conversations are easier to manage.
Investing in publicity around your redressal system will be a good choice. It makes your customers aware that you have a support mechanism to address complaints.
Very often, we find customer support teams do not solicit feedback from customers after action has been taken to resolve the problem. Although, no news is good news, the initial complaint might appear unresolved on your social media presence. Make your team reach out to customers regarding their experience. It may require a little extra effort, but positive responses from satisfied customers will go a long way towards re-building lost reputation for your brand, and improving the morale of your redressal team.
If your product is failing to deliver to customer expectations, digital media interventions alone cannot turn-around your company’s brand reputation. Often creating a SWOT and assessing where you fare with regard to customer expectations is key towards forecasting the success of your digital presence. Going overboard with expenses in branding & marketing while you struggle to deliver on account of after sales and customer support, might be a good recipe for disaster. As you expand your digital footprint to reach out in new markets, it is important to understand customer expectations and consistently deliver in order to meet with success in your expansion strategy.