It’s been said a hundred times, but it’s true: your name is your best asset. Plenty of tears and toil go into building and maintaining a good online reputation, but even the best can be fragile.

Everyone who starts a business wants to do the best job possible – but mistakes happen and sometimes those slip-ups affect clients and customers. They could lead to minor problems – like a bad article on the first page of your Google search or much bigger ones, like legal action.

James Brady, Deputy Head of  Speciality Underwriting, UK, at Hiscox, knows the importance of reputation management. “Reputations can take years to build and only seconds to destroy. Never more so than in today’s connected world, where a poorly timed social media post or slip of the tongue at an industry event can have adverse consequences. On top of that, negative feedback from a customer or shortcomings in your work can now reach a much wider audience.”

An important part of running and growing a business is online reputation management, and with the continued prevalence of ecommerce and social media, this will continue to be the case. Below we’ve set out some of the most important aspects to making sure your online reputation is as professional as possible.

Reputation management tips

  • Keep your ears peeled – Listen out for what people are saying

In a way, it should be easier than ever to manage your reputation – much of what people are saying about you will be on the internet. The challenge is finding it. Set up Google Alerts, keep tabs on media coverage, share the good stuff and do whatever you can to avoid repeating the bad.

  • Be polite and professional – Stay cool no matter what

No matter how tricky some clients or customers get, respond to them quickly, keep calm and don’t slag them off to third parties. You might have a relaxed atmosphere in the office but make sure that all employees know the right tone to use when dealing with everyone else, in person or online.

  • Know some experts – Build a support network

Have a PR specialist and a lawyer that you know you can call on if anything takes off. In the thick of unexpected or unwanted media attention, you’re unlikely to make the best decisions or know what’s the best thing to say. But with good advice, it might be possible to turn bad press into useful exposure, turn angry customers into happy ones, or at least minimise the long-term damage.

  • Indemnify yourself – Protect your business against mistakes

Most accountants, lawyers and architects are required to get professional indemnity insurance. But any business that offers advice, design or a service should consider taking it out, in case a grumpy customer comes after you. It will also cover you for any accidental breaches of copyright – say, if someone claims you’ve used their logo on your site.

At Hiscox, we understand how critical our clients’ reputations are and tailor our cover and claims handling to ensure that reputational issues are protected and on-going commercial relationships can be preserved where possible.

Reputations can take years to build and only seconds to destroy. Never more so than in today’s connected world, where a poorly timed social-media post or negative feedback from a customer can have adverse consequences.
That’s why, in association with Courier, we’ve created this video so you can find out how you can safeguard your reputation.

To find out more, read the full guide to managing business risks