Reputation management is an ongoing task that is never complete. But what you probably weren’t expecting is that a former employee could be a huge danger to your online reputation if you aren’t careful.
Make sure you’re monitoring the right channels and taking the right measures to protect your online reputation.
Importance of Managing Online Employee Comments/Reviews
Although you do your best to hire the best people, encourage them and coach them to success, sometimes they still leave your business disgruntled. And they’ll try anything to get back at you, including posting reviews and negative comments about you online once they are no longer under your employment.
And despite having outstanding products and services as well as customer service, all the work you’ve put into your online reputation can suffer greatly in just seconds.
Comments from former angry employees can have two major impacts on your business:
- Changing perceptions your customers have of your organization
- Deterring top talent from choosing to apply for positions with your company
Where to Look for Negative Employee Comments and Reviews
Before you can take the proper steps to mitigate the damage a former angry employee can cause by sharing their negative thoughts online, you need to know where to look. Here are some locations where the former employee might share their opinions.
- LinkedIn, including negative references for executives and other employees
- Social media, including Facebook and Twitter
- Industry-specific review websites
Reviews can be about their experience working for you or can be made up to sound like they were a customer of your company. They might post under another name to mask who they really are. But you’ll be able to tell from the way the posts are written whether they are from real customers or not.
What to Do to Protect Your Online Reputation
When an ex-employee goes on an online reputation slamming campaign, you’ll need to do your best to stop the reviews as quickly as possible before potential customers see it and it impacts your business. Here are a few steps you should take.
1. Remain Calm
The situation is quite frustrating. But the last thing you want to do is get angry and respond in the same way that your disgruntled former employee is responding. If your responses show a lack of composure, it will tell your potential customers something about you. And it can make the situation much worse.
So before you go online and start reading what the employee said about you, take some deep breaths, go for a walk or relax any way you can. Don’t rush into things and respond impulsively.
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2. Prevent Negative Employee Reviews
The best thing you can do is work to prevent the issue before it happens. Ideally, no employee will leave your company feeling like they were treated unfairly. This begins with hiring the right people, training them fully and outlining their job responsibilities with incredible clarity. And while you’re explaining their role, tell them what happens if they fail to carry out their job responsibilities correctly, which will set proper expectations.
Conduct regular employee evaluations and help struggling team members succeed with success plans if they aren’t meeting their goals or benchmarks. That way, if they still don’t succeed, their job loss won’t come as a big surprise.
Firing an employee without warning is a way to incite the kind of anger that might send them on an online tirade. The more delicately you handle a severance with an employee, the less likely you’ll be to face online backlash.
3. Flag the Reviews for Removal
Most online review sites offer a way companies can identify reviews that are inaccurate or not from previous customers. Flag the employee’s posts for removal by tagging them as inappropriate or letting the platform know there is a problem with the review.
However, you should also know that you can’t flag all negative reviews. This will tell the platform that you just don’t take feedback well.
When providing the reasons for why the review should be removed, be sure you list out the site’s policies and how the review violates those policies. This will give you the greatest chance for success in having it removed.
4. Respond to the Comments Accordingly
You want to be as friendly as possible in your response to the former employee. Open the comment by thanking them for their time with your business. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the comments or not. You should still be kind. Use neutral language and demonstrate that you care about what the employee is experiencing.
When possible, state policies and procedures for why things happened. Never engage in back and forth with the employee on the review site publicly. Invite the employee to contact you directly using a phone number or email address.
5. Run a Campaign to Get New Reviews
In some cases, you can’t do anything to make the reviews go away. But you can bury the review under many positive and real customer reviews. Run a special campaign to get new reviews and consider offering an incentive to customers, such as a gift card drawing.
The deeper down the negative review is, the less likely they’ll be to have an impact on future customers. And the more positive reviews you have, the less relevant that disgruntled employee becomes to potential customers.
6. Monitor Your Reputation
Reputation management is ongoing. You need to have a way to learn when a new comment or review is posted about you anywhere online.
Not sure how or where to get started with managing your online reputation? New Light Digital is a premier online reputation company. We can help you improve your ratings and earn more customers through inbound marketing strategies.
Schedule your free consultation now to learn more about how we’ve helped companies just like yours get found online through word-of-mouth marketing.