Poor Online Reputation: A Pitfall for Small Businesses.

Creating a lasting business depends on so many factors, some within your control, and some outside the control of the CEO, but often, business executives do not give much consideration to factors within their control (like developing public speaking skills), and rather they dedicate their time worrying about issues beyond their control. . This has led to the death of many start-up companies.

Credit: Marketingprofs.com

In one of my previous articles, I wrote extensively on the importance of social media in promoting small businesses. This article would consider the “evil side” of social media on small businesses. Some people would say “What is worth doing at all is worth doing well”, the summary of what you’re going to learn in this article is this: If you can’t do it well, don’t bother starting it because not doing it well will mare you and your business.

Must Read: 7 Strategies to Improve your Small Business in 2013

You can as well stop reading and move on, but a curious and intuitive mind will care to ask, why would not doing it well mare and ruin my company?

Why should you take your online reputation seriously?

Have you ever searched for the name of a company on the internet before? Take for instance, you’re watching the television and somehow you saw a TV advert and you want to know more about the company. What an average man would do is checkup the company’s name on the internet and probably get a link to the company’s website. How would you feel, if the first few pages that shows up based on your search query contains bad feedback about the company? Will you still make purchase when you see comments like “Poor customer service” or “Shipping my item took 2months!!!” or “The item was never delivered!”

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It might sounds absurd to you, but some companies actually have such reputation online. From experience, the thing with bad online reputation is that, they stick around much longer than you want! (If only good reputation would just stick around that long!). The only way to escape the pitfall that comes with poor online reputation is to avoid bad reputation. Online reputation for small business is like feedback on a seller account on e-bay, the number of good feedback you get from customers, determines the level of confidence buyers will have in you.

Let’s take a look at what might probably lead to bad online reputation for small businesses:

Poor Customer Services

One of the most important unit of any company, either small or big, is thier customer service unit. Customers want a representative that is ready to listen to all their complains, fix their issues and give them a reason to come back some other time. When you have somebody that is not able to do this on your company’s front desk, then you’re gradually jeopardizing your company’s reputation.

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Satisfying your customer should be your utmost priority. Answering customers calls, replying emails and fixing their issue is the most important way to keep customers coming back. Once your customer relation department is unable to do this effectively, then you’re in for some serious issue, the only place where people prefer to register their grudge is through the internet because information travels fast across the internet, your poor customer service would be flying all over Facebook in a matter of minutes!

Fake Online Information

In a bid to make things attractive, in order to make people check your company and probably order for your product or service, you might probably have made the mistake of listing the product or service you cannot deliver. I once saw a freelance writer that promised to create 1000+ words article on any topic within 24hours. This is fairly possible provided he procesess small orders per day (let’s say two or three orders), but the question here is, would he be able to turn in the project when the volume of order increases to about 10 articles per day? Obviously he can’t unless he hires an assistant.

What I am trying to imply is this: Don’t say what you can’t do, let your customer like your service because it’s your service, not because you’ve sugar coated it for them. Try your best to be sincere when describing your product or services that you render, it would be inappropriate to fool customers; this can jeopardize your company’s online reputation.

Must Read: Simple Tips to Improve Your Website or Blog

Some months ago, I was reading through customer’s review on a particular shopping website, there was a particular customer that was very upset, he wrote all sort of bad things about the website, the reason being that, he saw a product that he like so much (it was a mini laptop computer), the configuration was so attractive that he did not hesitate to input his credit card details, but when he got the product he ordered for, it was another thing entirely, no DVD-RW as it was stated on the internet, the RAM size is different from what was on the internet, so he made a phone call to the retail office and the best explanation they could give him was that, there is every tendency that their webmaster made some mistake while uploading the data on the website. Obviously the buyer wasn’t satisfied, so he took to the internet to register his displeasure. Years after the occurrence of this incidence I was able to read the negative review online.

Poor website/blog design

I know you’ll be wondering what this got to do with your online reputation. Well, it has a lot to do with it, by now you should know that your website can be likened to your online shop/service outlet and you wouldn’t want to operate from a dirty or unkempt service outlet. When your customer can’t access your website due to poor design or some other technical issues, then they would start complaining. In fact, a poor website would not only affect your reputation, it would also affect your sales.

Ensure that everything is set-up the proper way, contact your webmaster if you’re not satisfied with an aspect of the design. Remember, it’s your shop, you’re expected to keep it clean.

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This post was last modified on December 1, 2019 2:23 PM

Don Caprio: Husband, superdad, ubergeek, lazy writer, serious gamer, gadget collector, amateur photographer, web designer. I'm on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

View Comments (31)

  • Quite informative. Thanks for these tips on profitable small business ideas in Nigeria.

  • This is an insightful article. Like the author has rightly said, building reputation is very important especially to make money. It is also important to maintain a good reputation coz it's difficult to do.

    • Where I come from, they have this proverb that translate thus: " The wisdom needed to live in your house is far greater than the one needed to build it" In short, it's more than building a reputation, we must be able to maintain it over time. Thanks for reading.

  • Very well said Augustus. But remember, the press being what it is, can label quite an excellent company with a bad name...the key, if you ask me, is to make sure what is being said is false (if it happens to be bad) and vice vers. That way, you'll never lose!

    • You have a valid point Terungwa, it actually reminds me of a friend that would say "Publicity is publicity, either good or bad, you're publicized at the end of the day" His saying does not apply to the business world, as bad publicity can damage a hard earned reputation. Thanks for reading.

  • Hi Augustus,

    This is indeed a great research, building online reputation is more than things of the mind. It require a reputable strategy that will convince many about what we are made off. This is what we bloggers need for a start to start dominating our turf in a blogging respective niche.

  • Your really did your research well.
    In my online experience I think one should never preach that one does not know. We should never talk about that we cannot solve. If we do so and fail, it downs our online reputation.

    • Thanks for reading, that's the objective of this post; educating people as per the danger in poor online reputation. You're welcome.

    • You're welcome. This blog has a lot of articles that can help your career, so look around for more interesting articles.

  • nice post dude.i really enjoyed reading this wonderful post and i have leran alot from it.thanks for sharing this tips.