Retailers must make sure their online presence is the best it can be at a time when a good web offering is crucial, says one expert.
That is the recommendation of reputation management expert Claire Beaumont from Igniyte, speaking on the latest episode of our award-winning kbbreview Podcast. She also knows the KBB industry, as she spent seven years at Symphony managing its PR and content division.
Beaumont stresses the importance of finding out how your business appears in search results and making sure that presence is as positive as possible.
She said: “If you Google yourself and you see the things that are online, that is your reputation. That is the first impression that people will have if they don’t know you already. See whether that creates a good impression or a bad impression.”
Online reputation is crucial, she says and suggests some simple steps to check out how your business ranks.’ She says that ideally your business should be ranking one or two in the result.
She explained: “Go incognito into Google, put in your business name and see what comes up. That should reflect what people see first about you. Look at the first page of search results and the summary of reviews you have received on Google Knowledge Centre on the right-hand side of the page. If the reviews overall are anything other than massively positive, you need to start taking control of that.”
She went on to explain the best way to go about that: “Work with your marketing department and suppliers, who can often offer experience and advice about how to get a better online presence. Is you website optimised for your search terms, for your business name, for the local area in which you work? Look at the Google Knowledge Centre down the right-hand side. Is that up-to-date with your correct contact details? And if it says underneath ‘claim this knowledge panel’, then claim it. Take control because you don’t want anyone else to.”
Online reviews are also incredibly important and Beaumont has some advice on how to handle them effectively.
She said: “Online reviews are such a powerful tool and it is so important to take control of those reviews and be aware of what people are saying about you online.”
She says that reviews can often show up underlying problems in your customer service that needs to be addressed.
“Always tell people to always respond to every review you get,” she advised. “Whether it is negative or positive – it is important to respond to them. If you show that you are not ignoring them, that will be useful for customers going forward. You are showing that you care about the things people are saying and taking it on board.”
As well as recommending that retailers encourage their customers to leave ‘honest’ reviews, she has some sound advice for dealing with any bad ones: “If someone has left a bad review, go online and say you are sorry they have had a bad experience and would like to discuss that further with them. Pull that conversation offline by maybe giving them a dedicated email address or phone number so they can contact you to discuss that. Always show you are being reactive by responding to all reviews.”
• Listen to the full interview below