In an increasingly digital world where b2b companies are rapidly embracing ecommerce and moving their sales operations online, reputation management has become a significant challenge – and one that many organisations are failing to address adequately.
These days, when everyone with a smartphone is a potential reporter, stories and reviews about your products and service are easily posted and shared through an abundance of online forums and social media channels.
Those posts could be positive comments or helpful suggestions, but equally they could be harsh complaints or damning criticisms. Either way, you need to be aware of what people are saying about your business online so that you can make the most of the good news and manage the impact of any negative comments.
Your customers and potential customers are likely to be tracking comments about you as part of their purchase decision-making process. According to research by Oracle, 92% of b2b buyers start their research online, while a study by IDC says that 75% of b2b buyers use social media to help with purchase decisions. This is not altogether surprising when you consider that around half of all b2b researchers are now tech-savvy millennials.
So, with an abundance of information, comments and opinions available for buyers to review online, how can you protect your business reputation to support new customer acquisition and increased sales?
Perhaps the best place to start is to make sure your ecommerce platform provides your customers and prospects with the best possible user experience. Class-leading solutions integrate seamlessly with business and accounting systems like Sage and Pegasus Opera to deliver a streamlined and personalised buyer journey with rich, informative content, customer-specific pricing and promotions, and real-time inventory data.
With the right ecommerce system in place, you can then turn your attention to what’s being said about you online – and there are plenty of software tools to help with this. Use social media to share and promote the positives, and don’t be afraid to respond and and address any negatives.
By engaging with the conversation and dealing with problems and complaints in an efficient and effective way, you can turn an unhappy customer into an advocate for your business. And don’t try to play the system by posting fake comments and reviews – you’ll only end up alienating customers and could even find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.
Staying on top of the online conversation also allows you to access valuable customer insights relating to your products and services. View it as a kind of low cost market research to help you refine product offerings, iron-out issues and fine-tune the way you deal with your customers.