Guest blog post from our friend Christian at Lingo24
Tips for managing your online global reputation
It’s said that a satisfied customer tells three friends. But now an unhappy one can tell thousands, thanks to social media. There’s nowhere to hide in today’s hyper-connected world, and it’s all too easy for poor reviews or Twitter “fails” to come back to haunt companies.
Many of us had a laugh recently when a letter from a disgruntled Whole Foods employee (sent to the entire company) went viral online. And Qantas had to deal with the backlash from its misjudged #Qantasluxury hashtag campaign in the midst of industrial action last November.
Of course one of the best ways a company can prevent negative publicity is being approachable. Many customers only resort to Twitter rants or angry blog posts because their views have been ignored. Simple steps, such as including easy-to-find contact details and responding to tweets straight away can nip problems in the bud. Live chat provides an easy, and informal way to gather feedback, respond to questions and demonstrate you’re responsive.
There are many other proactive ways to make sure the buzz surrounding your company is for the right reasons. The last thing you want is scathing reviews or inaccurate criticism popping up when a customer types your company name into Google.
Setting Google alerts (or the equivalent) for your company’s name and main keywords should be a first step. These can be set up to your chosen frequency. If you’re operating in more than one country, multilingual tools such as monitorThis and Keotag can track your keywords across multiple search engines.
Trawling through millions of blogs and online message boards sounds like an impossible task. But there are a number of sites, such as www.boardreader.com, www.omgili.com and www.technorati.com that can do the hard work for you.
For global companies, monitoring your reputation can be particularly tricky across borders. Lingo24 once found that a Chinese company had created an almost identical “pirate” copy of its website. This had huge potential to mislead customers. Informing Google straight away and complaining to the hosting company helped limit the damage.
Being active on social media is a good way to build customer engagement and provide a channel for feedback. But if you don’t have time to monitor it closely, it can be a recipe for a PR disaster. Surprisingly, a study by Maritz Research and Evolve24 found that more than 70 per cent of companies failed to answer customer service complaints on Twitter.
If you do find critical comments, reply as soon as possible. Encourage the customer to contact you directly by email or telephone. If you have limited time and resources, it can be worth hiring social media managers to monitor accounts. This is particularly true in different countries if you’re not fluent in the language.
And of course, more customers are turning to online review sites to post their thoughts. The rise in smartphone use has made it easier than ever to check these sites while out shopping or on the move. As well as encouraging customers to review your business, respond promptly to any feedback.
There are few shortcuts to building a great reputation. As advertising guru Jeremy Bullmore said: “Customers build an image of a brand as birds build nests. From the scraps and straws they chance upon.”
But engaging customers through live chat, social media, and other technologies allows you to keep in touch and present a friendly, approachable face to the world. There’s no doubt it takes time and effort to build a following. But there are few assets as important as a good brand name and a stellar reputation for customer service.
BIO: Christian Arno is the founder of professional translation services provider Lingo24. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 170 employees spanning four continents and clients in over 60 countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated around 55 million words for businesses in every industry sector, including MTV and World Bank.