In the modern world of online reviews, highly competitive industries, and growing consumer demand, business owners need to take a proactive approach to reputation management. And corporate events offer some of the most high-profile opportunities to strengthen or hurt a reputation.
But first, what exactly is reputation management, why is it important and what can business owners do to ensure their reputation remains positive?
If you've ever responded to a review of your business, sponsored a charity event, or trained your staff on customer service, you are managing your reputation. Anything you do to ensure your business or brand is seen in a positive light can be considered reputation management and can be a highly successful strategy for increasing revenue and expanding your customer base. Consider:
• Eighty-six percent of people would pay more for services from a company with higher ratings and reviews.
• Businesses lose 70 percent of customers when four negative reviews are found online.
• Businesses with mostly one or two star reviews fail to convert around 90 percent of prospective customers.
• 74 percent of consumers have greater trust in a company if they read overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Managing Your Reputation at Events
Reputation management is never more important than when your business or brand is either hosting or attending an event. During an event, your business is at its most vulnerable as it is in the public eye and there are so many elements that are out of your control. There are a number of steps you can take to grow your reputation at event:
Events offer the perfect opportunity for some proactive public relations. Business owners get the chance to show their brands personality, values, or what they've been working on over the years to an engaged audience. Perhaps you might want to use your own business as a case study for a point you are making during a talk, or even get a guest speaker in from a brand or charity, which relates to your brand values.
Dispute Resolution Policy
Always go to your events fully prepared with a dispute-resolution policy. You should have a document outlining the processes and procedures for dealing with disputes, whether those disputes are with customers, event attendees, or employees. You should also ensure your staff is fully trained on dispute resolution so that they know how to handle difficult situations and stop them from spiralling out of control. Finally, take out an insurance policy for your event for good measure, just in case something does go wrong and you need to pay compensation -- you'll want to do this as quickly as possible to save your reputation.
Managing online comments is a huge aspect of reputation management, but it's not all about dealing with negative reviews; business owners should also be encouraging positive reviews -- and events are a great place to do that. With a captive audience in front of you, make them aware of how and where they can review your brand, business, or event and encourage them to do so, perhaps even offering a prize for a randomly selected reviewer. There are a number of places your audience might leave reviews online:
• Social media: Respond to your reviews, good and bad. Avoid disputes online, taking the conversation offline when possible. If negative reviews become a real problem, you can disable them on Facebook.
• Review sites: Again, respond to reviews and try to build up the positive ones. For any fake or abusive reviews, request they are removed from the site. If you have lots of negative reviews on a review site, trying using SEO techniques to get other pages ranking above that one.
• Forums: Get actively involved in conversations on relevant forums. These online communities can hold a lot of influence.
By implementing a reputation management strategy which involves all of the aforementioned elements, you will find your business in the best position to enhance its reputation. You can find out more about reputation management in Event Insurance Services' Guide To Growing Your Reputation.
Dan Rose is a director of British-based Event Insurance Services, which specialises in insuring events. His team prides itself on providing affordable, reliable insurance, tailored to fit the scale and style of the occasion -- from conferences and weddings to high profile festivals and events.