We live by five star ratings to just about anything you can buy or do in the online world these days. To plan a holiday or buy a best-seller we go by ratings and reviews online on TripAdvisor or Amazon. Real people telling you their joyous experiences helping you decide it all. Or NOT! This New York Times article lifts the lid on fake rave reviews. Here is an excerpt… Read the rest of this entry »
From restaurants to hotels there are reviews for just about everything and doctors are no exception. There are millions of critics eager to post their last night experience about a chicken dish or grumble about a lethargic service and they will find a place to post them. Similarly websites like ratemd.com or angislist.com is a place where users post comments about their physicians. A Doctor will have hundreds of happy patients, but it only takes one bad review to trash a Doctor’s online reputation.
We have been approached by many tourism companies both agents and hotels alike requestiong help with negative comments appearing about them on the search results. More often than n0t they come from sites like tripadvisor whose business model is based on customer feedback.
There are 2 big issues with this:
- You tend to get more genuine feedback from customers who have had a negative experience rather than a positive one.
- Competitors write negative things about another company which are false.
So quite often Tripadvisor will not give a overall balanced feedback from customers because the same old saying is true “a customer who has had a bad experience will tell a 100 people where a customer who has a good experience will tell 10″. Customers will normally only give feedback to a site like Tripadvisor if they have had a negative experience rather than a positive one.
We are also now seeing what we believe to be competitors writing bogus negative feedback about competing companies in order to trash their reputation. It’s very bad practice and something we frown on and will certainly not get involved in.
What can you do about negative comments on Tripadvisor?
- Make sure there is genuinely not an issue that needs addressing if many customers are complaining about the same thing.
- Offer customers a gift if they write something positive about their stay at your hotel on Tripadvisor
- Hire a company to help protect your reputation online and bury negative results in the search results.
The outcome, although you can’t get rid of negative comments totally is you can show a much more balanced view, in many ways this is much better than just positive or negative views.
There are certain types of industries that seem more prone to getting negative comments and competitors playing dirty tricks and trying to trash their company’s reputation. Here are some of the main industries our clients come from recently:
- Recruitment and HR
- Construction and building
- Travel agents / hotels and other accommodation types
- Dating websites
I used to hear business owners talk about the Internet and not really understand it, back then companies just missed out on another great sales channel. Today, however, I have to say when I hear a business owner having the same attitude I have to hold back from calling them crazy and telling them they will be out of business in 5 years.
Why do I feel so passionate about this, well in the past when you played ignorant to the Internet you were just loosing possible sales, but now people and competitors could be killing your business by trashing your reputation online. Never has it been more important to take SEO and Online PR more serious, as a business owner you may not use the Internet much, but I am sure as hell your customers do. You may not only be missing sales but loosing them when customers Google your company and see negative feedback and unhappy customer experiences.
If you had someone standing outside your business’s front door saying “your company was a scam, sold terrible products, had terrible customer services” then what would you do? I am sure you would do something rather than ignore them, well the same thing could be happening online right now.
Every company now needs to take reputation management serious and not wait until negative comments and results appear on the first page of the search engines. Businesses need a to have in place a proper procedure for complaints and feedback. Monitoring or having a company like Reputation Management For defending your reputation online could prove invaluable.
What’s else can motivate you to stay at home this Christmas? With the fall of Flyglobespan, BA managing to stop a strike, Eurostar trains not working and the roads, well quite frankly a nightmare. Why bother having all this stress and just enjoy what I hope is a White Christmas back in the UK.
It was crazy how Eurostar dealt with the crises of people being stuck on the train for 7 hours. The first thing that sprung into my mind is what would happened if that was a fire? Would you be stuck on the train in the middle of the tunnel for 7 hours with smoke building up. I hope not.
What I don’t understand is why so many companies get it wrong when it comes to keeping its customers up to date. I hear time and time again that people are left standing in stations, airpots, etc and don’t have a clue what’s going on. This can be just about the most damaging thing for a companies reputation, management should have responded to their customers immediately, even just to say, sorry we’re on it just not sure what the problem is. If a negative situation happens, sometimes this can turn a potential nightmare into a dream situation if its dealt with correctly.
This is just another blow to tourism in general, with the recession, new flight taxes, companies failing and strikes imminent, you can understand why staycations have become so popular. Unfortunately for Eurostar 1000′s of people are going to remember how they ruined their Christmas. What should Eurostar do now to fix their reputation and win back customers?
Flyglobespan, British Airways, where does it stop, the tourist industry has been hammered with negative news and press. On the BBC last night they were talking about the average staff’s wages, the average BA cabin crew gets almost double what they get at Virgin. Either BA is paying way to much or Virgin is under paying either way there are no winners when figures like these are released.
The tourism industry as a whole is under attack with hotels reputation being tested with negative feedback on sites like Tripadvisor putting potential customers off. This latest news about Flyglobespan certainly will not help the industry, who wants to go abroad and worry about not getting back. The hotels miss out big time on all the destinations that Flyglobespan flew to. The knock on effect is massive, restaurants, shops, taxi drivers, the list goes on.
The Internet can be very one sided, hotels, air carriers, tour operators by the very nature of what they do have tens of 1000′s of customers. It is totally down to the laws of average that no matter what you do or how fantastic your customer service, you will have someone, somewhere not happy about the service. Obviously having a bad customer service and ignoring issues can compound negative press online. In the good old days word of mouth was normally the only place annoyed customers would vent their frustrations. With the dawn of the Internet came along blogs, social network site, forums and other avenues for people to write about a bad experience they might have had with a hotel, restaurant etc. Now the whole world can listen rather than just friends and family.
Customers who have had a very good experience do not often tell people about it unless asked, and they certainly don’t write about it, so because of this the Internet can become a company’s worst enemy rather than best friend.
Fixing this could be easier than you’d think, yes it does take time, resource and require systems in place, but done correctly it can not only help manage your reputation online but even attract more customers. Having for example a facility to capture customer feedback and publish them to the web is a good example.
The big lesson with PR and reputation management is don’t leave it until it becomes a crisis and you are loosing business, make sure you are take a proactive approach and protect your businesses reputation.
Most businesses want their websites to show up on the first page of search engines. How good is it if your website appears on the first page of Google or Yahoo? You search for your company/product name and to your surprise you find one or more listings on top. You have been waiting for this, but then the sudden change in weather on search engines is astonishing. Have a closer look, do you see anything unusual? Well it could be those negative comments about your products doing the rounds and inviting so many visitors and obviously putting your website on top. If it is so, you are in big trouble.
One negative comment is enough to frighten away many likely customers. How genuine these reviews or complaints are is not the question, but it is about the impact. Your company’s reputation is at stake besides loss of revenue in millions.
Reputation management has become a crucial tool, but then very few companies go for this service to counter negative propaganda waged against their firms. Airlines, banks, hotels are the most vulnerable and are always at the receiving end, by disgruntled customers or envying competitors. By being ignorant of reputation management these firms end up sorting issues through litigation, which is twice as expensive and time consuming as compared to hiring reputation managers.
In such situations, our suggestion is to ‘nip it in the bud’- suppress the negative comments and bring up the positive ones. It is all about customizing a strategy to corner negative comments and design a campaign to keep positive reviews of your company above others.
Safeguarding your business from on-line damages and ensuring its smooth run is tantamount to running a business itself. New and small companies need to understand how vulnerable they are and how important reputation management services are for their business.