Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What is Reputation Management?

Probably the most asked question that we get from our current and potential clients is "What is Reputation Management" which is typically followed by "Does My Company Need It". 

What is Reputation Management
Regardless of what industry you are in or what position you hold within your company, there is one thing that all of us have in common and that is we are consumers. Whether it is going to the local shopping center, having a service performed on your vehicle or doing a little online shopping, you are a consumer. As a consumer, we have a valuable resource at our fingertips in the form of the internet. It is estimated that more than 3/4 of all consumers use the internet to conduct searches on companies they are considering doing business with from batteries to home buying and everything in between. What the consumer finds out about that business when doing research is typically the deciding factor of whether they pick up the phone to call or hop in the car and visit the location in person. One negative review can impact a business for years and years and is often times enough to steer that potential client to a competitor. 

Reputation Management is a campaign that is designed to ensure your company, products and services are making a positive first impression. We work with clients who find themselves on both sides of the fence. Sometimes it is a company who has received a negative review online and they are feeling the rippling effect of that negative perception and other times it is clients who have never had a bad review and want to ensure it stays that way. Through our reputation management services, we monitor the review sites, directories and internet forums for any mention of your company whether it is good or bad. If a bad review surfaces, we use a predetermined path to combat the review and get it away from the frontline of your companies web presence. 

There are two things that we always point out to clients when it comes to Reputation Management:

1. Bad Reviews Are Here To Stay - Once your customer hits the submit button on your review, it becomes an indexable and searchable piece of your business. Negative reviews, even if you don't agree with them cannot be removed. If you run across a company that claims they can have your bad reviews removed from review sites such as Yelp, Google, Angie's List or others ... run! The fact is that it becomes public once it is published and anyone at any of the aforementioned review companies will tell you that it cannot be removed. 

2. Fake Reviews Make The Problem Worse - There are some companies out there who openly solicit services that provide fake reviews. While it is true that more positive reviews will outweigh the negative, the posting of fake reviews is not the answer and can make your problems worse. Yelp, for example has recently implemented a system that is able to decipher when reviews are not legitimate and will flag your company as posting fraudulent information. So now, not only have you provided bad service but you are also labeled as dishonest. By rule, we do not encourage, provide or recommend using fake reviews to offset the negative. There are ways to achieve true and organic reviews which is what we focus on. 

It must have been over 20 years ago at one of my first jobs where the trainer told me "When someone has a great experience, they will come back. When someone has a negative experience. they will tell ten to fifteen people about it." That theory has not changed. As most of us are aware, the satisfied customer is not usually the first to run and brag about the services you gave them. On the other hand, the disgruntled customer will quickly let their feelings be known. Fast forward twenty years from when I first learned that lesson,  the internet changes the unhappy customer from telling 10 or 15 people about how poorly your company performed to letting thousands know for years to come with the click of a mouse. 

Back to the second question we are often asked - Does my company need reputation management? The answer, regardless of your industry is yes. Multi-million dollar businesses have folded and collapsed due to having a negative online presence. There is no way to determine who, when or why someone will choose to slam your company online. However, there is a way to be prepared for the dreaded one star review and control how and where that information is received. Visit us online at Bulldog Consulting Group to learn more about this and the other great services that we offer. 

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