More than half of British businesses suffer unfair negative reviews, according to research by online reputation management expert Igniyte, but 40% of SMEs never bother to check whether any damaging reviews about their business have been posted online.
These worrying figures suggest many of today’s SMEs, lacking an in-house IT or marketing department that can monitor how they are perceived online, are running their businesses blindfolded. This is despite 89% of people saying online reviews influence their buying decisions and 77% of SMEs stating that a good online reputation is important for business.
Whilst most SMEs fully understand the value of word-of-mouth recommendations in the offline world, they make no attempt to counteract negative reviews in cyberspace, by creating positive online PR.
This area of risk management – online reputation management (ORM) – is new to most SMEs and, even if they know about it, it is probably something on their to-do list that they will not have had time to explore.
Busy businesses find it hard to stay abreast of negative customer reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor and TrustATrader. They can also be oblivious to vocal and frank comments posted by former employees who use recruitment-focused websites like Glassdoor. However, there are ways to tackle this issue and reduce the influence of potentially damaging opinions and ratings.
As the online world grows in importance and continues to inform purchase decisions, there are a number of tools available, to assess the business risks you could face because of your online profile, that we as your broker can access. Using the outputs from such tools will better inform and help you consider remedial steps to put in place.
The cyberworld is full of new challenges and opportunities. We are here to help our clients face them. Online reputation management is a key area of business risk management that should not be overlooked. If you would like to discuss your options, please contact us.