Online Reputation Management: Tools vs. Professionals

man erasing chalkboard

Can you get professional online reputation management from a tool? A few companies certainly want you to think so. Let’s look at what these web-based applications offer, as compared with reputation management professionals.

Some of the features of tools include:

    • The ability to automate some of the process of getting customer reviews — for good and for ill. Think about how you feel when you receive a form letter. Does it make you feel like the company who sent it knows you, cares about you, and honestly wants your feedback? Automated forms run the same risk. You’re liable to miss out on some satisfied customers who would respond to a request from a human.
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    • The ability to offer coupons to dissatisfied customers in an effort to encourage them to give you another chance. On the surface, this sounds great. Why not offer incentives to try your business again? The problem is that it’s relatively easy to game the system. You don’t necessarily want the word to get out that a negative review inspires a coupon giveaway. That’s rewarding precisely the behavior you hope to avoid.

 

  • They’re a lot cheaper than hiring a reputation management professional. This is a case of “You get what you pay for.” In addition, most professional reputation management companies offer a variety of different tiers of service to fit your needs and your budget.

Some of the features of hiring a professional include:

    • They work with you to determine exactly what your business needs. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution for any reputation management problem. Depending on what you require, a good company can recommend the perfect blend of prevention (monitoring your reputation and responding quickly) and cure (soliciting more good reviews, etc.)
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    • They understand how the internet changes, sometimes seemingly by the day, to make yesterday’s solution tomorrow’s big Google no-no. SEO experts follow trends to make sure that they make the very best recommendations for you and your company. Tools are only as smart as the day they were invented, and no amount of updates can change that.

 

  • They provide real customer service. If you’ve ever tried to find an answer to your question in a “help forum” you know what a misnomer that can be. Stick with real people who will answer the phone, and you’ll never have to guess whether your company is doing everything it needs to do in order to make sure its reputation is sparkling clean.

The bottom line with building and protecting your company’s online reputation is to be as honest and forthright as possible: no creating fake positive reviews, trying to bully sites into taking down legitimate bad reviews, building dummy sites to bolster your rep, or engaging in other shady tactics. You need a real person to wear that white hat. Contact us today to see how humans do reputation management.

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