There is a free “reputation management” tool available to anybody. It’s easy to use and, yes, 100% free. There aren’t even any strings attached.
Google Alerts for Reputation Management
It has been around for years and years now but some people just never ran across it and it seems like SOME people even just forgot about it during the hustle and bustle of being offered 20 other new apps or online services every day.
What it Does
Google Alerts simply ALERTS you via email to any online content containing keywords — any keywords — you want that are relevant to your business. And, it can do it pretty much in real time.
It’s easy to setup. You’ll need a Google account (an email address). Then, go to www.Google.com/alerts. They kept the layout simple, which is great. There’s basically just one page.
See the screenshot. You fill out those fields — don’t be afraid to be pretty specific with keywords — and press the “Create Alert” button.
You will start getting emails that look something like a search results page for the keyword you setup but they only include content added recently so it’s succinct.
Ways to use Google Alerts
It seems like Google Alerts was first used to track what competitors are doing but there are so many ways to use it now:
- Reputation Management — setup alerts with variations of your company name so you know about reviews as they come in
- Competitive Analysis — watch for info about specific competitors
- Prospecting — track specific project or event types to find out who is involved
- Sales — track news about specific companies or people, “Hey [prospect’s name], I was reading [your industries magazine] and saw you got an award! Congrats!”
- Research — Track an industry for the latest info
How to Use Google Alerts for Reputation Management
Here’s the big value for reputation management: Google alerts will help you respond to, clear up, and generally deal with bad reviews. It will also help you make the most of good reviews.
To be clear, Google Alerts will not MANAGE the reputation issues for you. It is a tool to alert you to issues and, maybe, to opportunities. (Use the good reviews in testimonials and such).
Set the alerts up for your company name (use multiple variations) and watch for alerts about it. If reviews or other news is posted online about your company, Google Alerts will send you an email including a link to it.
From there, it’s up to you but, in general, you should respond to all reviews posted about your company (if you are authorized to do so). At a minimum, give good reviewers a “thanks for your business and for the review.”
Try to take bad reviews as feedback and respond politely and professionally, even if — no, especially if — you know the review is legitimate. Review responses are a great opportunity to humanize your service and maybe even make things right. Everybody knows that everybody makes mistakes. Maybe you could try something like, “We really appreciate your business and can’t stress enough how sorry we are about your bad experience. Try as we may, with 150 customers daily, we are bound to make a mistake here and there.” For this situation, you might even add a “please call me at xxxxxxx to discuss. We’ll make it right.”
Sometimes a more direct approach is warranted BUT BE CAREFUL. If the customer really was being a jerk or just plan unreasonable and left a terrible review then maybe something more general will have to suffice. Don’t whine or complain. Be as objective as possible and always appreciative. “We appreciate every one of our clients and are sorry about your experience. It is not representative of the service level we strive for.”
There are too many possible situations to keep giving examples but hopefully you get the point.
Yes, we handle this for our clients who need this kind of service. For some clients, we simply help guide the responses.
Google Alerts is totally free and very easy to use. Give it a try. Feel free to call us if you would like to consider outsourcing this and other marketing functions.