Have you ever thought of the importance of looking into what people say about your business online? Not just on social media where you can see it, but on blogs, customer review sites, and even in the media; your business is being mentioned whether you like it or not!
I just started a new job at a large company in Lansing, Michigan. Part of my daily tasks are to google the business and see what comes up. Never thought to do that? You'd be surprised what comes up! Besides the simple knowledge of knowing what is on the internet, it is important to correct information or inform your customers of the correct information. Let's say it's as simple as having the wrong operating on hours up on a website that advertises local businesses. This is a very simple but quite important correction to make! But incorrect information can be so much worse than that; articles like this state that a customer that had a bad experience is twice as likely to talk about it than someone that had a good experience; whether their facts are right or not.
When doing research about your company on the web, these websites are key:
1. Google.com and google.com/news
3. Your local newspaper's website
5. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and all other social media sites
Although you cannot remove or change all information about your company, good or bad, it is important to address the issues that you can. You want to ensure that you handle it in the best and most well thought out way you can. There are some important things to remember as you respond to customers on the web:
1. Always be friendly! Whether you are responding to a good or bad comment, you want to treat the customer well because once it is online, it is out there for all to see. The old mantra that "the customer is always right" will apply 99% of the time and can backfire easily if not handled correctly.
2. Always follow up if you say you are going to follow up. If you respond to a tweet or facebook post with "I have to check with the manager, but will get back to you", it is important to follow up! The concern that they were addressing will only be amplified if you do not follow through with your word.
3. Remember that traffic and mentions are good! So try to avoid deleting things other people have written (unless you have to of course) and instead redirect them to your website, social media sites, or give them the correct information.
It is a good thing for people to be mentioning your business online, it's just important to keep tabs on who says what and that the information is as accurate as possible! Hopefully these simple tips have shown you where to look and what to do with what you find, please let me know if you have any additional suggestions about google-ing your business. Also feel free to share stories about what you have found and how you handled it!
Thanks everyone, until next time!
"The only thing Google has failed to do, so far, is fail" ~ John Battelle