Online, Every Business’s Reputation Is At Risk
Before the advent of the internet, if a consumer was unhappy with a product or service, they usually had just a few choices. They could contact the business, and failing that, they could file a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau.
Whether the complaint was resolved or not, unless it rose to the level of a legal matter and a lawsuit, it’s impact stopped there. And why? Because it was almost entirely a private matter.
Today, blogs, complaint sites, and Google Places Pages have given consumers unprecedented power using free outlets for distribution of their opinions – and consumers are using them!
Businesses of all kinds find themselves confronted with highly visible commentary when searched on Google, Yahoo and Bing….and those same business owners often feel helpless in protecting their online reputation from these comments, especially if they suspect some may be from competitors.
So, do all these online ‘reviews’ and comments get read, and really matter?
Apparently so. The New York Times reported a survey by the Opinion Research Corporation, in which 84 percent of Americans say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions.
Having a proactive strategy for disseminating positive customer feedback can often be the best defense against future negative attacks.
Protecting your business reputation online can start with using a simple tool called “Google Alerts”. Once you create a free Google account, you can enter specific search phrases into your own watch list. Google will then send you an email with links to articles that include the phrases in your watch list.
For many businesses, unfortunately the damage has already been done. If negative comments are appearing on popular consumer report –type sites, it may be time to call in experts.
This new breed of consultant specializes in removing where possible, or at least minimizing, these damaging reviews. The best consultants do it in an ethical manner, and can restore a business’s reputation, given time and of course money.
Still, it’s probably worth it if your business depends on word of mouth, and today, what business doesn’t!