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Reputation is Not a Dirty Word!

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Employee Relationships can affect your online reputation.

Most business owners are concerned about getting bad reviews online from a customer, but few think about where else they may be vulnerable.

Owner and employee conflicts happen. Descriptions of these conflicts can now be quickly blown out of proportion and shared across the Internet. When they do, they can cause some real damage to your business reputation. Worse yet, that damage can hang around for an extended period of time if you aren’t keeping track and responding to it on an ongoing basis.

We’ve worked with a number of businesses that have faced these issues. We recently worked with a business that was receiving only negative reviews on Google. The business owner believed the reviews were generated by a single, angry, ex-employee. Whether or not that was the case, the problem was a big one that needed to be addressed.

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A disgruntled employee can be a volatile verbal enemy of your business. Their emotions can be blasted online and injure your hard-earned reputation. Online reputation monitoring and management have quickly become a must have for every business owner.

Sometimes, what pops up is not a bad review or negative comment. In some cases businesses suffer when search results for a similarly named company shows up in their results. We had a client whose company name was very similar to one in another state. That company had some inflammatory information associated with it online. For any user looking for my clients company – this is what they see (Example B).

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So what can be done?

It depends upon where the negative feedback is posted. For example, if it’s on Twitter and isn’t shared it may simply die a quick death. If it’s on Google Local however, and shows up on the map that everyone sees when they search online for your company, that’s a bigger deal.

Here are 3 simple steps I recommend you take right now:

STEP 1: Don’t be caught unaware.

Implement a reliable Reputation Management Tool. Get email alerts every time someone references your business online. There are a number of free versions available – but each has it’s drawbacks. To be confident you are covered, we suggest you outsource your Reputation Management to a reputable company that you have confidence in and you would enjoy working with.

STEP 2: Apologize.

You must remember to be professional at all times. (Particularly when your response is shared online). So if what you read is difficult for you. Take a step back and wait to compose yourself and your response.

STEP 3: Respond.

If the review site allows you to respond on their platform, do so immediately. Address the client’s concerns in a professional manner just as you would if he or she were standing right in your showroom or office. If you can offer to rectify the problem, do so. That way, anyone reading the negative comment can also see your response as well. Your response at this point can go a long way to improving the situation all around.

If, however, there is not an opportunity to publically respond, then respond privately if at all possible. Email the client or customer if you know who they are and reply kindly and with good will. Once the issue is resolved you can ask them if they would amend their complaint or write a follow-up to it online.

The key is to respond swiftly and professionally with a sincere offer to help the person with the issue they raise. This will go a very long way toward repairing your reputation.

Almost every service business will receive a negative review at one time or another. They may come from a customer or they may come from an unhappy employee. The important thing is that you are aware of it and are responding to it in a timely fashion.

If you would like to know more about managing your online reputation, feel free to contact the team at SpiderWeb Connections in Easton, MD. 443-595-7746