Online businesses survive and thrive on their reputation with customers. The Internet has provided individual entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes with the opportunity to sell products and services to a huge number of people. With this increase in potential revenue, however, comes the responsibility of ensuring that every customer receives a high level of service. Customer feedback on the Internet can very quickly make or break a business' online reputation.


First Impressions

The building of an online reputation begins with a business' website and domain name. These will be the first points of contact for potential new customers. Business websites should always look professional, but more importantly they should be user friendly. Customers must be able to quickly find the products and services that they want. A website represents a business, and customers need to be able to trust both if the business is to be successful. One of the best ways to foster trust and a good web reputation is to have a customer testimonials page within a website. When people can see that a business has loyal customers giving positive recommendations they will be much more likely to spend their money.


Monitoring Reviews and Feedback

Any business owners who want to maintain a good online reputation must make efforts to find out what their customers are saying about them. Search engines can highlight customer comments on review websites and forums. It is also possible to set up Google Alerts to be notified every time a specific term is used in blog posts or website comments. When business owners monitor web activity in this way it allows them to discover what, in the eyes of their customers, they are doing well, and the areas in which they need to improve. In this way they can modify their business practices to deliver more success.


Using Social Media

As important as it is to keep track of customer comments, this should not be the only method used to maintain a good online reputation. Although it may be possible to respond to a customer in a forum or in the comments section of a blog, it is generally quite difficult to address concerns directly in this way. A much more effective way of communicating with customers is to have a strong online presence on social media platforms. Modern businesses are missing out if they do not have accounts with social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These social media platforms allow businesses to communicate directly with customers on a one-to-one basis, to deal effectively with complaints and explain decisions. People always feel respected and valued when they are treated in this way, and a business that does this well will have a very good web reputation with the online community. It can also help to offer special discounts and rewards to followers in order to generate goodwill. The bottom line is that continual social media monitoring is essential for keeping track of the positive and negative effects of all business decisions.


Offer a Good Service

Ultimately, any online business can only maintain a healthy web reputation if it provides a good service. Doing so will result in positive word of mouth advertising, which is invaluable for building a trusted and well respected business.