Your brand image is something you’ve likely spent countless hours, maybe even years crafting. You’ve built a strong customer base and ensured that your clients trust you and your staff to discreetly and carefully take care of their homes or business properties. In fact, trust is crucial in the cleaning industry. It can be the difference between a thriving business and bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to spark a reputation crisis that spins out of control in our world of 24-hour news cycles. There are obvious places where someone can leave negative feedback, like Yelp, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or even Facebook.
But, local and national news outlets can cause just as much reputational damage, if not more. Because Google favors timely content in the search engine results, news stories tend to be stickier and rank high up on Google’s first page.
A single story about an alleged theft, poor working conditions, or unsatisfactory services can have serious consequences for your brand image. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to significantly reduce your chances of experiencing a brand image crisis.
1. Own your story online
If you never publish anything about your business on the internet, Google will dig up whatever it can find when potential customers search for your company. That could be irrelevant content about a different business with a similar name, or the one negative review someone left about your company several years ago.
Owning your online narrative goes way beyond having a website. Remember, there are 9 other search results that can occupy page one, and if any of them are negative, potential customers will read them. Think of the first page of Google like your company’s resume. If there’s anything on page one that you wouldn’t print on an advertisement, you should take action to correct it, or bury it. Your goal should be to occupy as many search results on the first page of Google as possible.
2. Take a holistic approach to customer service
A common error well-established cleaning companies make is assuming that word-of-mouth referrals will be enough to protect their business’s reputation. Although valuable, spoken compliments don’t show up in your search results, but negative online reviews do. Therefore, you need to be willing to take a customer-first approach to prevent complaints from surfacing in the first place.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent customer complaints from reaching the front page of Google where they can wreck your brand image:
- Make it easy for customers to reach you so they don’t get frustrated and vent on social media
- Monitor comments and post frequent updates across all of your social channels
- Professionally respond to customer feedback on review sites
- Invest in customer service training so your whole team is prepared to handle complaints as soon as they arise
3. Don’t engage in controversial topics online
It can be very tempting to speak openly about politics and personal opinions online, especially from your personal social account. The reality is, however, that no conversation is truly private when it takes place online. It’s best to operate under the assumption that anyone could take a screenshot of what you’re saying and bring it to a public social media platform or news agency.
With this in mind, it’s crucial that you steer clear of controversial topics that people could tie to your brand image. Keep your tone light, professional, and informative across all of your social platforms, even on your personal profiles.
It’s also important to inform your employees about your policy. Ranting online about a customer’s dirty home, or posting selfies with their belongings could put your company out of business. Or worse, those comments could spark expensive lawsuits from angry customers.
4. Bury negative Google search results
It’s important to keep a constant, mindful watch on your company’s search results. Of course, you’ll want to look for reviews and other stories that celebrate your cleaning business. But, it’s equally important to monitor for unfavorable reviews and news stories that could damage your brand online. Whether you find slanderous comments on a Reddit thread, or a rant on a consumer complaint website, it’s essential that you take appropriate steps to address them.
Sadly, negative search results are nearly impossible to remove from Google, unless they fit very specific criteria. That means you’ll need to push them off page one buy building up your online presence. This brings us to step 5.
5. Build a strong online reputation
Building a strong brand image online takes time, but it’s worth the effort to protect your business from a crisis. The more content you create about your business, the harder it is for unwanted search results to surface.
- Own your own website that accurately represents your company’s history and vision
- Create a blog, and regularly publish information your customers will love
- Create and optimize several social media profiles for your business’s name
- Continue to post fresh content on several social media channels
- Produce positive press releases about your company’s good deeds
- Share your client success stories online
- Establish a program to earn and promote positive reviews
- Write thought leadership content about the cleaning industry
- Get quoted by journalists in relevant stories
Build the brand image you deserve Residential and corporate cleaning services are vital. Professional cleaning is also extremely hard work, and running a successful cleaning business takes dedication. That’s the story you want Google to tell your clients, and that’s the story your brand deserves. Preventing a brand image crisis takes strategy and work, but your brand is worth the effort.
Author Bio: Racheal Morrow is a blog writer specializing in digital marketing, SEO, and online reputation management. She helps brands share their unique story by increasing their visibility across the web.