It’s the year 2016 and by now you’d expect that all companies are aware of just how crucial their online reputation is to their overall growth. But not so.
A recent survey by CPL recruiting agency has found that 33 percent of companies aren’t monitoring what is being said about them online, either by employees or customers.
We found this statistic a bit unnerving. As a survey software company that actively encourages businesses to monitor employee and customer sentiment, we are surprised that a relatively high percentage of companies still don’t get it.
To be clear, your company’s online reputation — through social media, customer review sites like Yelp, and employee review sites like Glassdoor — can make or break you. Quite literally.
There are several examples of businesses — from mom and pop shops to multinational conglomerates — that have suffered major financial losses, or have gone completely under, due to unfavourable online reviews. A quick Google search brings up many of examples.
So, what’s a business to do to avoid this type of mess? Several companies try to remove negative online reviews once they are posted, others try to bury them among a sea of positive ones. But a strategy that is often overlooked is how to avoid them in the first place.
We understand that there will always be employees and customers who are unhappy despite your best efforts. You may be thinking what’s the point in trying to please them. The truth is that the stakes are far too high to not try.
One of the best way to avoid having employees and customers get to the point where they would even think to slag you online is by collecting their feedback through a survey. Our survey platform, QuickTapSurvey, lets businesses capture real-time feedback and is trusted by companies in over 100 countries to give them the insights they need to avoid negative online reviews.
But administering a satisfaction survey isn’t enough, you must act on employee and customer suggestions and let them know what actions you took. And if it doesn’t make good business sense to act on their suggestions, then at least follow up with people individually to address their concerns. Too many businesses capture employee and customer sentiment, only to fail to do anything meaningful with the data.
Here are two inspirational examples of companies that have done this well.
Last month, Starbucks announced it would donate 100 percent of unused food from U.S. stores, a policy that was implemented because employee feedback surveys showed concern about company food waste.
In 2014, Chipotle burrito chain heeded the suggestion of one customer who said he wished he had something to read while at their stores. They launched a “Cultivating Thought” marketing campaign where brief messages from writers like Toni Morrison and Malcolm Gladwell appeared on company cups and store walls.
Both these companies made a point of letting everyone know in their press releases that customer and employee feedback was the reason behind the change. This is key. If you don’t want unhappy employees and customers to vent online after giving you feedback, you have to let them know what you did to address their concerns.
It’s really that simple. Collect feedback. Analyze the data. Follow up personally. Make policy changes. Let everyone know.
BAM. Watch negative online reviews dissipate.