You may think not having an online presence means the Internet does not have an impact on your business. The truth is consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for information to help them in their offline buying decisions. In fact, according to a recent study by comScore, nearly one out of every four Internet users reported using online reviews prior to paying for a service delivered offline.
This means that it’s critically important to be aware of what customers are saying about you online. Even if you don’t have a Web site, comments about your company may appear in any number of sites—from consumer review sites to social networking sites.
Capitalize on this increasingly consumer-driven economy by participating in the online dialogue. Monitor and manage comments about your business. Encourage your customers to share their positive experiences online. Reward customers who recommend your business through loyalty or coupon programs. Use negative comments to your advantage. Respect valid customer criticisms and make changes when warranted in how you run your business. Respond to negative comments and reach out to those who have had a bad experience with your company. The bottom line is your customers are using the Internet to talk to one another. For the benefit of your business, join the conversation.
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