What’s the ultimate cost of a negative online image to your business? It may be a lot higher than you think. Some business owners believe that only a major scandal can throw their professional online reputation into a tailspin. They assume that, as long as their company avoids any epic PR failures, they are free to ignore any of the minor negative commentary anyone may post about their brand. They believe that, compared to some brands, their bad press isn’t really all that bad.
While, it’s true, an epically unfortunate incident can quickly wreak havoc on your online reputation, it’s not the only thing that can impact your business. Consistently poor online reviews and social media comments, from both consumers and employees (both former and current) can slowly and steadily begin to reverse motion on even the most positive brand image. If left unmanaged, online under-the-breath grumblings from unhappy staff and previous customers can build sustainable momentum beyond Internet buzz and actually impact your bottom line.
Okay, it isn’t all that shocking that a bad online reputation can result in a loss of customers – but it’s still worth exploring. A report released by Cone Communication found that 4 out of 5 consumers actually change their purchasing decision after reading negative information online. Can you afford to possibly lose 80% of prospective new customers who may use what they find about your business online as their first (and often, only) impression of your brand? Probably not – that’s why it’s crucial to continuously tap into what former customers are saying to ensure they don’t poison the waterhole for new business.
Most entrepreneurs recognize that a poor brand image can quickly diminish their business’ standings with consumers. However, many don’t realize that unfavorable comments, posts, and reviews can also prove a human resource nightmare, particularly when it comes to your recruiting efforts. Just as consumers turn to the Internet before making a transaction, candidates in your hiring process will go online to read up on your business before considering a job offer. Recent statistics show that 69% of applicants would not accept a job with a company that had a bad reputation…wait for it…even if they were currently unemployed. In short – no job at all is better than a job with you. As a result, consistently missing out on high-caliber talent based solely on online reviews can impact productivity, quality, and the ability to effectively command market share within your industry.
Not only can a bad reputation mean losing candidates you want…it can also mean losing the employees you already have. An article published on Glassdoor noted that 84% of employees would consider leaving their current position if they received a job offer by a business holding an excellent reputation. A negative brand image can quickly influence overall corporate morale and risk passive candidates in your organization getting lured away by your competition. You can quickly find yourself in the same lather, rinse, repeat cycle listed above – losing morale and current staff also impacts productivity, quality, and market presence.
The first step in effectively managing your online reputation is to not wait until your struck with a PR crisis. Instead, work to pinpoint your brand’s current standing with both consumers and employees. Proactively and consistently monitor review sites where your business is showcased to determine if you are in need of a reputation makeover…or, if you actually have a positive online rep that you need to protect. Additionally, use various available online metrics that will help you gauge trends and statistics regarding your brand. Developing a vigilant, ongoing online reputation management strategy is the best way to create, repair, and boost your online image with sustainable results.
Contact the team at Repair Bad Reputation for more proven tips on navigating through bad reviews and safeguarding your online reputation.