Reputation Management Tips for New Business Owners

As a new business owner, the most important thing you can do is to build your reputation for offering quality products and services with excellent customer service. But beyond that, what else can you do to grow your business and improve your reputation? Below are three key ideas to help you build your brand reputation online and in the real world.

Provide a Clean and Well-Maintained Storefront

As they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Since all businesses rely on repeat customers for their survival, it’s important that you make a good first impression with every customer who enters your store.

You want your store to be as clean and well-maintained as possible. If it’s an older property, then you’ll have more work to do to fix the place up, but that is one of the best investments you can make. And keep in mind that property maintenance is an ongoing expense. If your area sees high levels of graffiti, then you’ll want to build a good reputation with a local commercial building painting company. Be sure to also have your staff perform cleaning duties around the store and in the parking lot in-between peak shopping hours.

Encourage Customers to Leave Positive Reviews Online

But your reputation on the internet can also be a major factor contributing to your success. In fact, it’s possible that most of your customers will first hear about you online or on review apps for their smartphones than by noticing your store as they drive by your location.

So you want to encourage your customers to leave positive feedback on apps like Yelp or Angie’s List, depending on your particular industry. Many restaurants offer a discount when a customer checks in on social media or leaves a review, so consider similar ways to nudge your customers toward taking those actions. Just don’t be too pushy or demand a positive review, as that will ultimately work against you.

Respond Professionally to Negative Customer Reviews

Eventually, you’re going to start seeing negative customer reviews popping up in these apps too. Your initial reaction might be to get defensive and to argue with the customer in the comments section of the review, but that is generally a huge mistake. Remember, those comments will be there for everyone to see, months and even years after your initial fit of rage has subsided.

When potential customers see you arguing with everyone who leaves negative feedback, that just gives them the impression that you are immature and disrespectful toward your customers, and there’s no way they will do business with you. They’ll just keep on scrolling and go with one of your competitors instead.

So if you can handle yourself in a professional manner and try to make the situation right with the customer, then go ahead and respond. Try to turn it into a win by apologizing for their poor experience and offering to make it right when they come in again. But if that’s too much to deal with, then just ignore the negative reviews to avoid saying something that you’ll later regret—or hire someone else to handle those responses for you.

Reputation management is an important aspect of running a business. And since customer reviews are proliferating rapidly around the internet, it’s important that you get a handle on managing your reputation online just as much as building your reputation surrounding your physical location. Follow the tips above to manage your brand’s reputation and get more customers flowing through your door.