11 ways you are damaging your online reputation

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By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing

It might be called SOCIAL media, but when it comes to your brand, letting your guard down, not doing your research and being plain rude to your fans can really damage your online reputation.

If your business is guilty of any of the following, you are risking harming your reputation with dramatic and long-term consequences for your business.

1 Denying the issues

In today’s 24/7 news-hungry world, denying issues when they happen is a major mistake. These days everyone has access to a smartphone and before you know it, a video of the disaster is being played to millions on YouTube, a photo of a badly behaved staff member is going viral on Facebook and an image of your brand is being destroyed on Twitter. Don’t try to hide. It will just make things a whole lot worse.

2 Deleting comments

The good news is that you can delete comments – but only some. If they’re the spammy kind that bears no relation to your business, you can remove them. But otherwise it’s a big no-no. When a crisis it is all too easy to hit the delete button when the comments are mounting up and you don’t know how to handle them. Don’t do this.

Social media cannot be stifled and when people are emotionally attached to a situation, deleting their comments can just escalate the issue.

3 Allowing issues to flame

Any delays to handling the issue will only feed the flames of hostility. So do not employ the spin tactic of delaying bad news. It will only be leaked. Make sure that you are the one in control of bad news, frame the discussion and maintain the trust of your customers.

Being indecisive can also cause issues. it is better to say that you are looking into an issue than leaving it hanging, waffling or misleading your customers. Own up and get on with it.

4 Over sharing

We all know that it’s important to be authentic and accessible when it comes to social media. However, that does not mean that you have to tweet and post constantly, sharing information your clients really don’t need to know. Be careful what you post. Ask yourself if it is relevant and will posting actually open yourself up to issues.

5 Being rude and obnoxious

While it might get you instant attention, being confrontational, unkind or selfish is a disastrous way to manage your online reputation. Keep your inflammatory remarks to yourself – they haven’t a place on social media. Remember, once online, always online.

How many actors and celebrities have lost their reputation (and jobs) because of tweets and posts written years before they were famous? It will come back and haunt you. If you wouldn’t find it in a Disney movie, there’s no place for it on your social media platforms.

Online reputation

6 Not thinking through the repercussions

You have a great marketing plan, but don’t think through every aspect of its implementation. Before you know it, your plan is out of control because some team members were unaware of the possible results of their actions. Make sure that everyone is signed-up to the plan, knows key dates and what they can, and can’t, share.

7 Not learning from others

Everyone will have an online reputation disaster at some point – even the biggest brands have suffered. Think about Applebees, Nike, Lockheed Martin and even the US Air Force. Learn from these. See how these companies responded, what they did right and what they did wrong.

8 Not checking your content

Remember when YouTube tweeted the wrong flag for their 4th of July celebrations? And when Snapchat’s advert for a game app featured Rihanna and Chris Brown slapping and punching? Don’t just proofread your content; check your images and tags as well.

9 Ignoring online influence

Influencers these days are not just from TV, news and film. Your followers may also be influencers in their own field with huge followings. Treat them badly and they are going to share that out to all their fans. So make sure you are polite at all times. Check out their profiles, do a little research before you respond. You never know whom you are messaging.

10 Publishing wrong information

In the world of fake news, it is easy to break trust with your followers by make inaccurate statements – and then keep making them. Building a strong reputation online is achieved through authenticity. Don’t just head to the keyboard before checking, and checking again, that what you are saying is correct and honest. Getting your facts wrong can end up fuelling the cause you’re working against.

11 Forgetting to do your homework

Releasing a new product or service? Make sure you’ve Googled the name to check that it’s not a rude word somewhere else, culturally or historically sensitive or just plain offensive.

Think about the damage Kim Kardashian did with her Kimono brand of shape wear which offended most of Japan? Now think of the costs she had to cover changing the branding when she renamed it. Do your homework.

What to do next?

If you’re guilty of any of these, then contact EVC Marketing today and are worried about your online reputation. We can help you develop a reputation marketing strategy that builds up positive sentiment for your brand, reduces the impact of any negative practices and will prepare you if, and when, a crisis hits your business. Contact us today on +44 (0) 208 123 9273 or +1 239 444 8176 or by email.

If you’re looking to find out what your guests think about your brand, then CustomerCount® offers a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution. With detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities, CustomerCount’s feedback management identifies the issues, builds customer loyalty, and improves your bottom line. Contact Bob Kobek now by email or by telephone on 317-816-6000 for further information.


How to manage a brand reputation crisis

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By John Heffernan, digital marketing specialist, EVC Marketing

In today’s instant social media world, sadly, most brands will experience some form of crisis affecting the company brand, reputation, product or even personnel.

The one common trait is that the vast majority of businesses are wholly unprepared for such eventuality – despite the likely disruption to the business operation, reputation and finances.

To manage any crisis involves retrospective action – after the horse has bolted and so on. However, businesses today need to do more than just look back and learn the lessons.

Businesses need a robust reputation marketing strategy, producing positive sentiment and building the brand’s reputation before a crisis occurs. Then having systems in place to act when it does so.

A reputation marketing strategy is designed to manage the crisis and minimize the impact on brand and reputation. Being unprepared can lead to knee-jerk response, poor action and weak decision making from key stakeholders causing further and enhanced damage within an already difficult situation.

Without a strategy in place, the time to respond can also be delayed and this only adds to a potential ill-managed and inadequate rush to judgement.

Common reputation management statistics suggest that one negative article on the first page of search results can cause an estimated 25 per cent loss of business. That statistic alone should send shivers down the spine of any CEO.

Crisis management as part of your reputation marketing strategy
Crisis is a wide-ranging term and can be minor to catastrophic for your business

What is a crisis?

Crisis is a wide-ranging term and can be relatively minor to catastrophic and include:

  • Loss of data/security breach
  • Non-compliance to legal requirements
  • Product fault or recall
  • Social media, ex-employee or other vindictive comments (most often false)
  • Management resignations
  • Poor salesmanship/customer service

We should all be clear that where a crisis event is preventable, the damage that results must have a documented and clear response strategy.

Bad reviews can escalate out of control as a direct result of the crisis action taken and the minor can very soon become very major. And let’s face it, bad news still travels faster.

A professional and coordinated response has to be in place for such eventualities.

How to manage crisis prevention:

  • You must identify and train key stakeholders;
  • Assess and evaluate any areas of vulnerability – and encourage staff interaction and feedback;
  • Create a response/action process and a plan – tailored for potential crisis issues with a clear delegation of responsibilities and response budget allocation; and
  • Implement a reputation marketing process – be proactive not reactive!

If you need to nominate a face-to-the-public, ensure they are not only comfortable with PR, camera interviews, written statements and, of course, the full details of the crisis.

A key element of reputation marketing – proactive prevention – must include a look, listen and monitor process:

  • Online review sites/social media channels
  • Your own website comments/user-generated content
  • Google searches/Google Alerts

Your team must be focused on resolving the problem, communicating with the source of the problem and advising and training relevant internal staff involved with the problem.

Communicating your resolution actions (both internally and externally) is one-step towards re-building trust or limiting the damage caused.

Finally, with the potential of negative posts, comments, articles or Google Search listings, solving the problem has to be complemented by a range of positive actions to improve your brand digital standing.

Reputation marketing and reputation management working hand-in hand.

For more information and an audit of your brand risk contact EVC Marketing today on + 44 (0) 208 123 9273 or +1 239 444 8176.

You can also contact us on Facebook Messenger at m.me/evcmarketing and follow us on Facebook .

About EVC Marketing

John Heffernan and Emily Collins of EVC Marketing are WRAP’s digital marketing experts. With over 25 years in the travel/timeshare market working with developers and service providers such as RCI, Interval International, CLC World, DaE, RDO, EURoc and TATOC, the EVC team understands the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC Marketing’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities. It supports process improvement efforts, builds customer loyalty and improves ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. Follow them on LinkedIn or Facebook.  


Top 10 ways to keep your online clients happy

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By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner

You might think reputation management is simply a matter of setting up your listening tools and working through your worst-case scenarios. But that really is just the first part of the job.

Having plans in place is one matter, making sure you keep your clients happy both on and off-line is something very different – and one of the biggest jobs of all. Here at EVC Marketing, we believe it requires a dedicated resource, sign-in from everyone at your resort business and an understanding of who your clients are, what they like and what you want to achieve.

When you have happy online clients, who know, like and trust you, your resort will benefit in a number of ways. From increased sales and rentals, to owner advocacy and ongoing support. So, it’s definitely worth the effort.

So how do you keep your clients happy? Here is our guide to the top 10 ways to create happy online clients – and keep them happy.

1. Define your ideal online clients

Take some time and write down ten key characteristics of your ideal client. What is their education level, what do they love to do on vacation, what do they value, how old are they, what do they all have in common? Knowing who they are will help you write for them in your blogs and posts, identify their issues and provide content and products that solve them.

2. Be clear about who you are and what you do

This is easier when you have a resort – you provide vacations. But be specific about the additional products and services you offer. Some of our owners and guests may be totally unaware of what you do other than check them in for a week each year.

3. Keep your tone empathetic and understanding

A time will come when you get a rude or irrational comment on a blog or social media. And it will be hurtful and frustrating. But don’t rush in with knee-jerk aggressive reply. Our experience at EVC Marketing is that sometimes your loyal fans jump in and reply to the comment in your defense. We call this owner advocacy and it’s amazingly powerful. So keep a level head and reply in a positive voice moving any further conversation to private channels like email or messenger.

4. Be generous to your online clients

No, we don’t mean giving away vacations! But be generous when it comes to the information, training and news you provide through your channels. Recognize those who contribute to the success of your resort, feature them in your posts and blogs, invite them to special events and ask for their views. For too long, resort teams have held owners at a distance. It’s time to change the dynamic. Let them know they are special to you and they’ll become your best brand ambassadors and owner advocates.

5. Be authentic

Think about the image you want to cultivate online as part of your brand. Then write about the things that fit in with that image. If you’re a family resort, then make that clear in your posts and blogs. If you’re a couple’s resort, the messaging is going to be very different. If your resort is based in Florida, then there is no reason to write about Hawaii. And remember to keep up to date with trends so that you’re writing and posting fresh content and not what happened two months ago.

Keep client happy online
Top tips to keeping your clients happy online

6. Stay focused

Remembering what your aims and objectives are means that you won’t stray from your message. If you know that your blogging and posting is ultimately about generating vacation rentals, you’ll stop you writing about things that take you off message and upset your fan base.

7. Use a social media monitoring service

Using tools such as Google Alerts and Mention are a great way to track your brand’s reputation online. However, occasions may arise when you need to hire a social media monitoring service. Don’t try and do it all yourselves if there is an issue. Outsourcing to experienced teams, like EVC Marketing, can make a huge difference – so be open to it.

8. Be engaging, meaningful and entertaining

Show your personality, have fun with your owners and rental guests and provide them with what they are looking for. If that means lots of lovely images of your resort and surrounding area, then post them. If your owners love particular staff members, then post staff birthdays and anniversaries so they can congratulate them. Have a funny photo from behind the scenes? Post it. Your owners and guests will love you for it.

9. Connect with online clients as friends

One of the most wonderful aspects of a vacation ownership resort is that you can build long-term relationships with your owners. Treat them like friends and not sales targets and you’ll get more from the relationship.

10. Tell your story

Share your background story and let everyone know why you’re in the vacation ownership business. Let them see your passion for your resort, explain your plans for the future and why their vacation happiness is behind every decision you make.

These days, keeping your owners and rental guests happy is more than just ensuring their apartment is clean and ready when they arrive. It’s a year-round effort of constant communication that ensures they continue to pay their maintenance fees, book additional vacation rentals, refer their family and friends and come back year after year.

To find out more about EVC Marketing and our reputation management and marketing services, you can email or give us a call today on +1 239 444 8176 or +44 0208 123 9273.


How to manage negative customer feedback

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By John Heffernan, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner

negative customer feedback management
One situation, two points of view

What is customer feedback?

At its simplest level, customer feedback is authenticated and continuous measurement and reporting of customer experience in order to manage.

What is negative feedback?

Some may say that negative customer feedback is a response to poor service, poor product, poor salesmanship or at worst, a combination of each.

In truth, and readily backed by statistical surveys and analysis, we (and I do mean you and I) including our clients and prospects, are all too keen to complain and to highlight and share perceived negativity.

The fact remains that positive feedback remains the poor child to an overwhelming majority of negativity. This is fed by the ease of social media and email, offering shielded anonymity and instant gratification with aggressive, self-righteous and, sometimes, valid comments, posts, likes and mentions.

The business impact of negative feedback

From a business perspective, the impact on brands can be minor all the way through to calamitous.

Indeed, many major complaints have escalated from a small issue that was badly managed, ignored or remained unresolved.

We all make mistakes; we all have examples of client complaints that caused major issues where we have differing perspectives on the actual truth and events.

The old adage of the customer being always right may still hold true, but it is being stretched to breaking point by all too often unrealistic or unwarranted negative feedback.

The image cartoon above is a light-hearted way to depict a difference of opinion and negativity, which is often sourced from a polarized view of events.

How to manage negative customer feedback

Customer feedback, positive or negative, can be attained in a variety of ways including;

  • Online Feedback and Surveys
  • Customer service responses
  • Individual complaints
  • Social and digital media including ratings sites

Perhaps the focus should be on:

  • Improving your brand reputation (Reputation Management);
  • Brand strategies to encourage positivity and 5-star reviews;
  • Highlighting internal issues/training to prevent issues arising;
  • Management buy-in and training on feedback management;
  • Posting positive feedback to encourage more positivity (Reputation Marketing); and
  • Having a plan!

In any form of sales training, sales being the foremost contact with a potential or existing client, a salesman is instructed to listen more than they speak. And any salesman will tell you, that is a task more onerous than it sounds!

Negative customer feedback managment
How to manage negative customer feedback

Two ears and one mouth!

With two ears and one mouth we should all listen at least twice as much as we speak. And listening may be the first step on the road to solving negative feedback.

  • What is the problem?
  • Is it siloed or potentially more widespread?
  • Is the fault genuine and attributable?
  • Can the negative be resolved with positive response?

One way of managing negative feedback is to remember that an argument often has two sides and perhaps no ends.

If you can agree on the problem and resolution (perhaps without admittance of liability), the situation can usually be managed and an unhappy client becomes a satisfied advocate.

The skill in moving negative to positive cannot be underestimated in terms of customer service and lifetime value. Some important aspects to keep in mind include:

Listening

But when listening, the key is to actually hear what is being said!

Emotions

You must distance knee-jerk or emotional reactions from a professional and caring stance.

The problem

Being argumentative or taking the moral high ground will only serve to escalate the problem. Get to the root of the problem. What is the problem? Ask questions, review the issue and consider the personal impact to the customer.

Resolution

A resolution has to be two-way. It has to be satisfactory enough to turn the source into an advocate and sufficient enough to work for each party.

Lessons learned

Share the solution, resolve the root cause, train and continue to train key staff, continue to review plans and strategy.

Be positive

Positivity will win out!

Take steps and move forward with positive steps. Develop a positive brand reputation. And put resources into positive brand management.

CustomerCount delivers branded survey communications direct to your owners, clients and guests with questions that maximize response rates and get you the information you need.

Used as part of your reputation management and reputation marketing strategies, our surveys help you discover issues before they become negative feedback. And they support your daily activities providing real-time customer feedback that meets your business needs.

To find out more about our customer feedback management solutions, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.

About EVC Marketing

John Heffernan and Emily Collins of EVC Marketing are WRAP’s digital marketing experts. With over 25 years in the travel/timeshare market working with developers and service providers such as RCI, Interval International, CLC World, DaE, RDO, EURoc and TATOC, the EVC team understands the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC Marketing’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities. It supports process improvement efforts, builds customer loyalty and improves ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. Follow them on LinkedIn or Facebook.  


WRAPped up in marketing with EVC Marketing

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By Georgi Bohrod, RRP/WRAP Partner

What do I have in common with Howard Bendell RRP, John Locher RRP, Carlos Marchi and Emily Collins, EVC Marketing ? We are all members of WRAP, a strong coalition of Mobius Vendor Partner (MVP) Associates, each of whom brings valuable professional expertise to create comprehensive resources to support each other and their clients.

Last year CustomerCount® launched WRAP, a detailed qualitative analysis program combining touch point sentiment and accuracy with industry expertise and insights. CustomerCount’s WRAP is specially tailored to address client’s strategic and tactical priorities, particularly those derived from feedback and surveys. The subscription-based service takes customer feedback to a new level, offering the expertise necessary to formulate conclusions and offer operationally based recommendations oriented to improve service efficiencies and drive profitability.

In context of our professional relationship under the WRAP banner, Howard Bendell’s expertise rests primarily in qualitative analysis.  John Locher of Locher and Associates is an expert in membership/ownership engagement and business development.  And Carlos Marchi, CustomerCount EVP of Mexico and Latin America, has years of experience in contact center compliance.

About EVC Marketing

Which brings us to Emily Collins, of EVC Marketing — WRAP’s digital marketing expert. She has operated within the travel/timeshare market for over 25 years. Due to this long term experience with numerous developers as well as service providers such as RCI, Interval International, DaE, RDO and TATOC, Emily and her colleague John Heffernan understand the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum  puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.

In addition to revamping the CustomerCount website for easier mobile access, and enhancing its visibility on the web, her part on the WRAP team is geared to promoting CustomerCount®’s Customer Feedback Management system on the international radar.

Emily Collins EVC Marketing

About CustomerCount

The system, available in 40 different languages, is the only enterprise feedback management system designed specifically for the leisure travel industry. It is easily adaptable to gather information for numerous industries and a plethora of purposes. 

Emily, a UK citizen currently residing in Barbados, is carrying the message that CustomerCount is a multi-lingual platform, available in 40 languages.  Clearly, CustomerCount is an ideal fit for the international marketplace and Emily’s international connections are moving the survey system to new horizons.

MVP launched CustomerCount® in 2007 for a major timeshare exchange company.  Since then,  the acceptance of the platform has been widespread in the global  hospitality sector and other industries as well. An enterprise customer feedback system, CustomerCount is a flexible solution providing intuitive real time reporting, fast turnaround on updates, detailed and dynamic data gathering with comprehensive reporting for process improvement and customer loyalty to impact the bottom line.

With the WRAP brain trust poised to assist CustomerCount, each other and our clients, we can exponentially increase our depth of services and know-how.