People are talking about you. Are you listening?

Being in the construction field, I am aware of the amount of time it takes to work on a project. There are meetings with clients to discuss the various aspects of the project, and going over their expectations. Then there are meetings and planning times to arrange for materials and subcontractors so everything runs smoothly. And, let’s not forget the actual time involved to physically complete a project. Now here I come telling you that there is more to be done to keep your business moving forward. Yet, the world is changing daily and new ways of business are constantly evolving. You could ignore them and hope it goes away but I find that impractical.

Today, the internet and smartphones have changed how almost everything works, and I’m sure you use various aspects of them daily to help make your business more efficient. You may research products, contact various suppliers or even check on your competition from time to time, but have you looked at what people are saying about you and your business online?

I have been surprised at how few businesses look online to see what anyone is posting about them. Now, everything that is posted isn’t always negative, but no matter what is said you should be responding in a timely manner. People today will write reviews, submit comments about almost everyone and everything. Again, you may not like it but it's happening and your business reputation must be monitored so you can respond to these comments.

Some of these people are just looking for attention and some may have legitimate concerns. Ignore those that are seeking attention or trying to pick a fight as they will eventually fade away. You’re not giving them what they want.  Most readers can identify a trouble maker or disgruntled employee, so their comments won’t be taken seriously. However ignoring the rest of the comments is a mistake.

I will give you a true example that was brought to my attention recently. The small business owner saw no need or use for monitoring what was said about him and his business online, and thought that was a waste of time. He said his business was doing great and questioned who’s going to listen to or read those things and take them seriously. Still, he asked me to do some checking. So I did some searches and sure enough there were many comments on various sites. Some of these were complimentary, but there were many that weren’t, and in all cases there was no response from the owner. I relayed what I had found to which the response was it was stupid and he didn’t care. Later, he started getting phone calls asking questions about online comments I had brought to his attention. People were reading what others had been writing and now he was concerned. He went into a mode of denying it was an issue to asking if I could get them deleted, and finally - “How do I fix this?”

As of this writing he is still in business but activity has dropped off dramatically. Is this because of the online comments, the economy, something else or a combination of things? I really don’t know. What I know is that people were talking about his business and he wasn’t listening, and that has hurt his business.

People communicate in many ways today so make sure you’re listening and responding for the sake of your business. 

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