With the advent of the Internet, more and more people are using it to search for information about businesses. As much as publishers of Yellow Pages directories will have you believe, almost no one grabs a phone book to look for a business these days and they go straight to Google to look for a business online. When people go online and search for a business, you want your business to look good.
For companies that provide financial services such as credit cards or loans, online reputation management should be a top priority. People trust your business with their money and people who read negative reviews or comments online or anywhere about a financial company will hesitate to entrust their money to the company. It should be argued that financial companies allocate more of their marketing budgets to manage their online reputation or at least see their investment in this field to be equal to what they spend on traditional media, like newspapers and television.
Managing online reputations for financial services companies can be challenging but companies have no choice but to take these challenges head on. The first thing for managing your online reputation is to search for your company online and see what shows up in the first few pages. Look at the search results and especially the top results because this is what people will most probably click on. Let’s run down a few challenges that companies that provide financial services—like yours–may encounter as they manage their online reputation.
Challenge #1: Review Sites
Review sites lets the public rate the products and services of companies. Many review sites are able to rank very well on search engines and the reviews from these sites can come up whenever people search for your business online. The danger for companies, of course, is that one negative review out of hundreds of positive reviews can sway the opinion of a lot of people away from your business. Reputable review sites will allow the company being mentioned to give their side of the story. Use this to your advantage and resolve the customer’s complaint as best as you can on the same forum. This helps show others know that your company is listening and cares enough to resolve a customer’s complaint.
Challenge #2: Social Media
People also use their online social networks like Facebook to post complaints about your company. Your customers can also use their blogs to rant about your company and their posts can also show up high on search engines. Write a comment on the Facebook post and resolve their complaint, this is when it will be worthwhile for a company to get a dedicated employee to manage social media accounts of the company.
Challenge #3: Build Your Own Online Reputation
Companies can build their own online reputation by creating websites that give users a good experience. They can fill the website with informative articles that help address problems that many of their consumers face. They can get SEO (search engine optimization) specialists to make sure their website is built in a way that’s easy for search engines to find and index. Financial companies should also consider taking out online ads and allocate the same budget to this as they would for traditional media.
“You’re What Google Says You Are”
That’s an oft-said phrase these days and it’s true. Customers make many decisions based on what they find about your company online. They choose to get a credit card or take out a loan from you over your competitors because of what they read online. Building a good online reputation may be challenging but financial companies can be proactive and take some steps—like hiring someone to specifically manage their online presence—in order to overcome the challenges of building their online reputation.
Ryan Del Villar is a writer at Money Max, Philippines’ leading online comparison portal. Money Max is an independent and impartial comparison portal that helps individuals in making important decisions by comparing different Credit Card, Broadband, Mobile and Insurance providers.