People who receive a communication about an unpaid bill may not trust it at first glance. With the prevalence of scams, many consumers like to confirm your company is legitimate before paying. That’s why brand reputation is so important.
Consumers searching for you online want to learn more about your company. If your top results are negative Better Business Bureau (BBB) comments or other poor online reviews, this can dissuade consumers before they even make it to your site.
However, there are many steps you can take to build or repair your company’s brand image. All of which starts with understanding the importance of an online reputation.
What is Brand Reputation?
Tactics to Improve Online Presence
When a major part of your business (or your entire business) is collecting bills, bad reviews are going to happen. But you shouldn’t lose hope. If you put in the work to uphold your image, your few bad reviews will soon be outnumbered by compliments from satisfied customers. Where do you start?
“There are a few things a firm might do when bad reviews are populating their Google search,” says Financial Services Brand Strategist Phoebe Assenza, Rhetorica Creative.
Operations reviews, better client relationships and adding helpful content are some of the tactics she suggests to improve your online reputation.
1) Internal Operations Review
“First and foremost: figure out why people are complaining about your firm online. Take what they are saying seriously and look at your internal ops to rout out problematic practices.”Phoebe Assenza
Look at your company’s reviews to see if there is a common thread throughout their complaints. If so, use them as a blueprint for how to improve the consumer experience. Conducting a root cause analysis of your operations will give you deeper insight. Look at:
- Policies and procedures - Policy and procedure documents should be continually reviewed and updated. Having a dedicated plan for how this is done will identify problems before they get out of hand.
- Communication training - Good communication is the key to good reviews. Train employees to handle payment stalls and objections and other difficult situations while also practicing empathy, making consumers feel heard.
- Call scripts - Call scripts should strictly adhere to all compliance needs. Review what your agents are using to avoid complaints of noncompliance or possible legal issues.
2) Know Your "Client" (The Consumer)
“You've probably heard of the "Know Your Client" rule in the investment industry — where firms must understand their client's risk tolerance and make recommendations based on their specific circumstances,” says Assenza. “Take a cue from this rule by understanding who your consumers are, their level of financial literacy, and how they prefer to communicate.”
Just as Assenza says, the key to a positive brand reputation is knowing the needs and expectations of your consumers. Industry experts often speak about the importance of conversational intelligence during interactions, how consumer connection can improve business and the big role empathy plays in de-escalating calls and keeping interactions positive.
“Empathize with them. If a consumer feels like you are on their side with their best interests at heart, and you back up your brand promise with outstanding customer service, they won’t talk trash about you online.”Phoebe Assenza
None of this is possible without understanding the motivations and preferences of your typical consumers. Get to know what they respond to, and incorporate that every way possible.
- Language - Avoid industry jargon and use positive language wherever possible. This applies to any communication you may have, whether it is a direct interaction or consumers are guiding themselves, such as using your website or making an online payment.
- Tone - Consistent tone throughout your website and other channels is vital. It standardizes the experience for every consumer, ensuring they all receive the same impression of your brand.
- Communication Channels - Get to know the ways your consumers prefer to communicate. Do they want text message reminders? A phone call? Email? Catering to their preferences shows that you are focused on the customer.
3) Add Helpful Content to Your Website
Another way to improve your online reputation is to build out more content on your website. “The more you control your brand narrative through content like blog posts, how-to's and action lists, the less impact one or two poor online reviews will have on your search results,” says Assenza.
Creating quality content with consumers in mind will bring focus to the positive work you do and minimize a bad review’s impact.
This content strategy improves your digital brand reputation in a number of ways.
- Demonstrates knowledge and builds trust - useful content can show you understand the concerns your consumers are facing, and you have the answers they are looking for.
- Passively helps consumers who find you - Some people don’t need to speak to an employee for every question or they don’t have the time to do so. Offering resources on your website saves staff time answering simple questions and helps consumers in the ways they prefer.
- Gives you greater control over your brand narrative - The more content you offer, the more chances you have to tell consumers about your brand. Show consumers what your brand is by producing the high quality content they need using your company’s unique tone.
- Lessens the impact of bad reviews - The more content you offer, the greater your online presence will be. With trusted, quality resources and content showing up in search engine results, the few bad reviews you may receive may not seem as worrisome to a new consumer.
Your website should be the heart of your online presence. To learn how to build a website for every accounts receivable audience you serve, download our guide.