Many businesses struggle mightily with online reputation management, not understanding how important it is to maintain this segment of operations in order to establish themselves on the market.
Various things can go wrong with this, and none of them bring any positive results. In all honesty, most of these issues are easily fixable, and with the right strategy for ORM, it is more than easy to make blunders into real victories.
In order to understand this problem properly, we need to first take a look at the most common causes of a bad online reputation. Some of the most frequent causes include:
• Stock unavailability
• Bad delivery times
• Low-quality products
• High prices
• Negative reviews by malicious people
• Bad user experience
Many shoppers will be absolutely furious if they make an order on your website or in your marketplace shop, and they don’t get it due to the unavailability of the said product. This is one of the most efficient ways to lose customers forever since these experiences usually deter them from ever buying anything from you.
The only way to keep this in check is to pay close attention to your stock and get it organised properly, so there could be no such cases. With all the warehouse management systems available nowadays it is not a hard thing to do and the benefits are huge. Take time and effort and keep your listings true to the real stock, and you will never lose a single customer in this way.
The additional bad aspect of these cases is that the disgruntled shoppers will most probably share their bad experience with the people they come into contact, both online and offline. Since there is no purchase made, it is hard to remedy this situation, and a bad reputation builds up quite easily if you don’t keep this under control.
There is hardly anything worse than a bad delivery. If a customer orders something, you simply need to fulfil the terms promised on the website. Usually, this is not too much of a problem, but there are a few things that can go wrong and it always results in negative reputation.
First of all, you need to make sure that your employees do everything as they should. Packing and picking must be impeccable, and the packaging needs to be appropriate. Of course, in most the cases this is not an issue at all, but still, there are cases when warehouses don’t operate at peak performance and that always has negative consequences.
The second thing is pretty much out of your control, at least directly. Namely, you need to choose your fulfilment partners extremely carefully as they can create problems if their operations are not top-notch. This is also not often the case, and the market tends to punish those companies hard, so they simply disappear if their service is not at the required level. Still, sometimes it takes time to fix things or to go out of business, and if you get caught in a crossfire, your brand reputation will suffer.
Finally, there are delays due to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters or strikes of the couriers. The latter is actually quite a common case at least in the UK, so it is something that has disruptive potential.
The best way to deal with these issues if to use only the best and most proven fulfilment options. On top of that, you should think of using ratings and reviews platforms that allow direct communication with the customers.
Even if you get a bad review based on the faulty delivery, you have the option to publicly apologise and explain why the delay happened. If it is not your fault directly, and since these responses are visible to all potential customers, you will get the chance not only to fix things with the unsatisfied customer, but also to show others that you are actively dealing with the issue. This is a move that easily turns a lost customer into a returning one, and adds a lot of positive reputation when it comes to others.
Even the top brands come across a few bad apples in their basket. This is usually a thing that should be remedied by the quality control of the manufacturer, but mistakes do happen, and you can end up with a bad product in your inventory without even knowing it.
Of course, the easiest way is to manually check each and every product before you pack it and ship it, but there are cases when it is simply impossible to determine whether it is faulty or not.
Naturally, if low quality or a faulty product reaches the customer, they will in most cases not hesitate to return it and leave with a bad taste in their mouths.
Once again, the best way to deal with this is by using ratings and reviews system. Yes, you will initially most probably get a negative review, but you will have the chance to act on it, change the faulty item or refund the customer, and again explain yourself, apologise, and inform the customer publically what you have done in order to solve their problem.
All other customers seeing this engagement will be encouraged to deal with you as they will see that everything has been resolved in a quick and professional manner. Once again you will be able to turn a defeat into a victory and even reinforce your reputation.
Sometimes, customers will be pretty dissatisfied if they make a purchase of an item that costs a lot less elsewhere. You simply can’t be competitive with prices that are too high.
The only way to deal with this is to pay close attention to your stock and prices and keep them in the range that is comparable to your competition. It can be a challenge from time to time, and if you have a massive portfolio and use a multichannel or omnichannel approach, it can be a really hard task.
Luckily the solution is rather simple. If you are a smaller retailer, you should simply adjust your prices accordingly. If you are a large enterprise, and you have thousands of SKUs to offer via various channels, you will need some help with it.
There is a number of good AI solutions that could help you automate this process in those cases, and you should definitely opt for one of those if you wish to avoid a bad reputation.
Negative reviews by malicious people
This might sound odd at first glance, but it happens more often than you would think. If provided a platform for downplaying you, even dirty competition will use it to try and lower your online reputation. They usually do it via external websites and through some ratings and reviews systems.
The solution for the latter case is to opt for a UGC system that engages only your real customers and doesn’t allow posts without a previous invitation. There are several great UGC platforms that can help you with this, and since they are actually rather cheap solutions, you should definitely use them.
The first case, where outside websites or forums are used to badmouth your business, is a bit more peculiar. You can always reply to the negative comments, but that is something that is not always available. These cases are hard to solve, but luckily the damage they make is not too significant.
User experience across your sales channels needs to be impeccable. If a shopper is faced with bad user experience, he will look elsewhere and it is not too likely you will be seeing that person ever again on your website or in your marketplace store.
This is why it is of utmost importance to keep your UX up to date. There is a number of factors that determine this and you will have a hard time figuring out everything without external help.
This is a case where agencies such as Studioworx could help you a lot! Give us a call and we will be more than happy to evaluate your online presence and give you the assessment of your UX.
If you follow through with all of these tips, your online reputation should be rock solid. The result of this is always best seen in increased customer trust, improved sales, and increased profitability of your business!