Most small businesses need to be customer-centric to retain clients, and martial arts schools are especially dependent on student loyalty for success. However, if studios maintain an online presence, they need to actively protect their reputation because one negative review could make a big difference for prospective students.
In addition to a martial arts school's website and blog, Yelp provides local customers with an outlet to express their feelings about businesses in the area. People do not usually visit review sites in hopes of seeing positive feedback – they are seeking negative commentary to avoid a certain business, according to an infographic from Business 2 Community.
Consumers are unlikely to express an extremely satisfactory experience with a local business, but if their visit does not meet expectations, they may take to social media or review sites to express frustrations. In the past, unhappy customers were likely to tell their friends and family members about a bad experience, but digital media has given consumers a new channel, and it can have a serious impact on businesses. This highlights the importance of martial arts schools working to manage their own reputations to prevent negative perceptions.
How martial arts studios can maintain a positive online reputation
Because many social media users have a large number of followers, the average unhappy customers can reach more people. However, martial arts schools can leverage their positive reputations to improve their online presence. Owners can manage their websites and create active profiles on various social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If negative comments do occur through these channels, martial arts schools can improve their reputations by responding in a timely fashion and offering an appropriate solution.
In addition to website management and social media, martial arts schools can build a strong online reputation by asking loyal students for customer testimonials. These can be posted on the website or review sites so potential clients find positive commentary when searching for martial arts schools. As an incentive for posting reviews, owners can consider offering students a few discounted classes.
Maintaining an online reputation may seem like a daunting task for owners who have a variety of other tasks, but it can be simplified with a user-friendly management system. While martial arts schools may not be able to eliminate all negative comments online, how they respond will influence their reputation.