“Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~ John R. Wooden
Back in the day when we were all practicing Old School Marketing you could expect an upset customer to to tell 7 of their friends. Back then an occasional upset customer was acceptable and expected, but not potentially devastating.
Today, monitoring and managing your brand reputation has recently become as important as any other marketing activities you may be doing. If someone has something bad to say about you, their comment could show in a google search for months… even years. Their comment can negatively impact your brand in front of hundreds, even thousands of prospects.
In fact, people are increasingly using the search engines to research people, industries, and brands they are considering doing business with. All it takes is one angry customer, employee or business partner and your brand reputation can take a semi-permanent hit.
But there is good news. You can pro-actively manage your brand reputation whether you are big business or a small independent contractor. Ideally you fix the every problem fast. Have in-place a pro-active customer service policy… an open door so to speak. So that if you get an angry client (and you will eventually) encourage your clients to contact you with any complaints first so that you can intervene and save the relationship.
If the situation gets away from you, have a strategy in place to combat a negative comment. Just remember that 100 positive comments on the internet will outweigh 1 negative comment. So it is always a good idea (and a pro-active strategy) to invite your happy clients to flood the internet with good reviews and testimonials.