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Companies can rely on the internet to fix their online reputation because there is a great deal of DIY advice on how to approach and negate the subject.   Thanks to experienced social media professionals, companies can also rely on marketing services.  Does either resource know about offline reputation management?  Before the internet boom, offline reputation was the only thing to combat – it just didn’t have a name at the time.  Unhappy customers will and still use TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and word of mouth to ruin a company.  Is there a way to combat offline reputation management in the digital age?

Offline reputation is not as simple as hiring a publicist or PR representative to spin the bad press into a positive experience.  Offline reputation management is not waiting for the negativity to die down.  It’s a little more complicated now.  The complication is getting a different defense mechanism.  Businesses need a separate plan to handle this effectively without ruining the brand.  This is the foundation for an organic and positive offline experience.

1. Rely on a stable online reputation.  Perceptive shoppers find information about products and services online before purchasing in person.  If the responses are mostly positive and neutral, the offline reputation is easier to maintain.  Make it a top priority.

2. Emphasize word of mouth.  Before the internet age, word of mouth was the main source of offline management.  It was and still is the reason businesses thrive.   When you get one customer happy, that customer spreads his or her experience to their family and acquaintances.  When their friends or family gets a positive experience from the company, it spreads to their connections.

3. Satisfy your customers.  In order for that one customer to spread the good news, give that customer a reason to say anything.  Offer discounts, sales, freebies, VIP membership deals, and customer appreciation days.  Go out of your way to satisfy every customer from enter to exit.

4. Use old-fashioned methods for measurements.  It’s hard to put a number or a figure on offline reputation because it’s hard to document.  The best documentation for a business is customers due to their unbiased nature.  Ask for customer feedback through hard-copy surveys, polls, and comment cards.  Use the information to improve your services or products.

As online becomes paramount, the offline world isn’t leaving.  As long as we interact in person, there’s a need for offline reputation management.  For more information on online and offline reputation management, contact us.

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