Real Reputation Management – Part 2
TRANSCRIPT: Step 2 – Once we know what people are saying about us – let’s assume they’ve said some negative things – we need to determine the veracity of those negative comments. Now, what does that mean? It means we need to find out a couple of thing – number 1, are they true? Is what was written about us written by a competitor? Are they phony or did these things really happen? Are these complaints recent? If they are recent we have to spring into action in step 3 and correct these. We’ve also got to find out if these conditions still exist.
So, let’s assume we have a negative review from two months ago and we find out that the employee the review was written about still works for us and is still treating customers like shit. It is sometimes common to discount the occasional bad review as some one-time event or some overly demanding customer, but that is a mistake because a bad online review can potentially reach millions of people. You don’t believe me, go to youtube.com and look up “united breaks guitars”, right? Search for “united breaks guitars” on youtube.com and you will see how many millions of people have seen one consumer’s bad experience with United Airlines.
If nothing else, please know this – you cannot be a rat bastard offline and have a great online persona. It just won’t let it happen. There are too many consumers; too many places for them to go and complain about you.
Step 3 – Alright, we’ve found some negative comments and those conditions still exist: we need to retrain, we need to repair, we need to retool, we need to replace or we need to rehire to solve those problems. We have to eliminate the issues that led to the bad reviews and this may lead to drastic measures. So, we’re going to try to retrain people first, right? We’re going to try to repair or retool or replace some bad equipment that’s creating this problem. But, you know what we may need to do? We may need to rehire. We need to be prepared, as leaders of our business, to fire people. It doesn’t make them bad; they just can’t work for us. And, so, we need to rehire. We need to get someone new in those positions. That’s if we’ve tried everything else.
See, firing people over their conduct generating bad reviews really is a last resort. It should come after our efforts to repair, retrain or retool. Then, and only then, do we need to fire them. By the way, that then becomes the most important step and we’ve got to be willing to do it.
Now, as I said in Step 2, it doesn’t matter what you do online; you cannot escape who you are offline. If you’re a rat bastard in real life, eventually the reviews will bubble to the top; the negatives will be there and you’ll be treated as a rat bastard online. It’s just the way it is. There are too many consumers; there are too many places for them to tell their stories. You cannot control the conversation about you forever.
Businesses who will win in the end are those with great online personas that match their great offline personas. Again, you can’t fake it.
Step 4 – In the ‘Eight Steps from Bad to Great’ to create this great online reputation, you need to verify the 3 or 4 most influential review sites in your market. Now, every market is a little different but I can tell you that, as of this recording, Google is the most important, most influential review site out there. It doesn’t matter what city or town, if you’re in America, if you’re a retail business, you’ve got to make sure that your Google reviews are perfect; that they are ‘five star’ across the board. Besides Google, you’ll want to pick 2 or 3 other web sites that provide reviews influential in your market or in your industry and we’re going to use these in Step 6. Right now we are on Step 4.
Now, for some industries, like I said, there are going to be review sites that are industry specific like, for car dealers there are Edmunds, cars.com and others, but for most businesses, you are really going to just have some generic review sites and these will be sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Kudzu(if you are in the south). Now, because of their integration with the iPhone, at least as of this recording, Yelp should probably be the second most important review site for any business out there, at least for a retail business even if you don’t (currently) have any reviews on Yelp.com.