Unexpected ways your business reputation can take a blow online

Online product and service reviews aren’t the only way your brand can be tarnished online. Here’s how to help protect your brand from a negative employee review or unexpected cyber situation.

In an age where it’s all too easy for employees to publish their opinion about your workplace online, protecting your employer brand is critical.
Just as restaurants can’t afford to ignore reviews on Google or Yelp, nor can employers ignore workplace reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and Seek. When competition for good staff can be fierce, having a positive online reputation is particularly important.

A survey by Software Advice found that almost half of respondents used Glassdoor before even thinking about applying for a job (good ratings of a company’s compensation and other benefits were found to be the most important and reviews less than six months old had the greatest impact on jobseekers’ perceptions).

Glassdoor and Seek aren’t the only mediums disgruntled employees can use to air grievances. Comments posted across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are also important to monitor.

A constructive approach to criticism

“In today’s wired world, everyone can access the internet from a computer or phone. A bad experience can cause extreme negative side effects to the business without the owner even being aware the problem exists,” says Chris Miles, Head of Operations at Online Reputation Management Australia (ORMA).

“The easiest way to fix a bad online reputation is to prevent it from happening in the first place” he continues. “Implementing a strong ORM (Online Reputation Management) Strategy before it’s needed is the perfect way to deal with bad online publicity.”

Unfortunately, even with a perfect strategy in place, someone somewhere can still publish negative content online. Miles recommends taking the following positive, practical steps to avoid or manage this:

  • Try direct contact first. Contact the author of the negative feedback and try to come to an agreement where the content is either removed or corrected.
  • Have a feedback system in place to encourage good publicity. Sometimes all it takes to get an employee to leave a positive review online is to ask.
  • Introduce a confidentiality policy that forbids employees to talk about your business on any media platform. Although hard to police, it can lessen the chances of an online scandal and may give you a reason to have the post deleted.  
  • Do the right thing. Take every step possible to ensure your employees are treated fairly and that any complaints are dealt with swiftly and professionally.

Be cyber risk aware

Unfortunately, cyberspace holds even greater dangers than narky feedback. Cyber hacks like denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and data breaches of sensitive Personally Identifiable Information can not only result in significant costs arising from interruption to your business and getting the problem resolved, but your reputation can also take a blow.

The easiest way to fix a bad online reputation is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If a small business is reliant on its website to impart information to prospective clients or as an e-commerce platform, then one of their biggest exposures is a DoS attack, whereby a hacker can pull down their website and impact the business” says Troy Filipcevic, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Emergence Insurance. “Cyber risk is a major business risk and business owners should be giving it the attention it deserves, not just leaving it to the IT guy to sort out,” says Filipcevic.

While it’s currently difficult to insure against having their brand tarnished by malicious staff or customers, business owners can make sure they are prepared in the event of a DoS attack or if customer data is stolen and their reputation takes a hit. 

Also Cyber protection insurance can protect your business by covering the costs of getting experts to fix the problem, as well as any lost revenue arising from it. Policies vary, but can cover financial losses for business interruption, cyber extortion, electronic data replacement and external management costs (including public relations). For  advice on the cover you need to protect against cyber risks, contact your Steadfast insurance broker.

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