We’ve spent the last 5 years becoming experts at unsecured business loans and unsecured business lines of credit so I’m not an expert at this subject and I don’t want to pretend to be one. However, the world of online reviews is a slippery slope. First of all there’s Googles now infamous auto-suggest feature that you see below. As I type in the name – and before I hit “enter” – google is suggesting how I can finish my search. What happens as you type in your business name and things like “[your name] reviews” or [your name] scam comes up? It means people are going to see what others are saying about you. That’s good and bad. So let’s talk about it.
I’m not sure about you but I love it when prospects of ours do their “due diligence” or “check us out.” It means we’ve got a concerned person who wants to make a good decision. I do the same thing when I make purchases. I go to Google and see what I can find…good and bad. Of course we all love the great reviews and all the wonderful things people say about us! But what do we do when there are some “not so great” things being said about us? And, even worse, what if those claims and allegations aren’t actually true [as is often the case]?
I don’t have all the answers but here’s a couple of my thoughts. One is that nearly every company, as they scale and grow their business, is going to have some people who weren’t happy and who would not exactly qualify as a Raving Fan. I used to work for the Better Business Bureau and I remember that they always said that complaints were a normal part of being in business but it’s what you do about them and how you respond that is so important. So these things are going to come and esp. as you grow your website, work on SEO strategies, and work with more people.
Secondly, we’re like most people I think in this arena. We hope that most people understand that sometimes things don’t go so well and there will be people who are disappointed. It’s one thing if a business is small and has multiple reports or bad reviews on sites like ripoffreport, complaintsboard, or scamvent. However, it’s another thing if they have worked with hundreds or thousands of clients and now there’s a couple of unhappy clients who are sharing their frustrations all over the internet.
We had a guy recently who contacted us and requested to be a referral parter. We normally accept these requests and then put them through our orientation and onboarding process. This guy was different and we noticed right away that we were not crazy about how he spoke to us on the phone, the tone of some of his emails, and how he conducted business. As a result we told him we did not want to work with him, we did not want him to send us his prospects, and we wished him all the best [and told him he could easily work with one of our competitors]. As soon as this happened we had an “anonymous” online complaint show up about us that said we were a scam and that people should avoid us. It was clearly this person who acted like a scorned lover and wanted to hurt us since he was mad that we wouldn’t work with him. This sucks – but it also happens even when you’re doing business ethically and with integrity.
So here’s what we do about it. First we respond. I don’t care what anyone says or what some “SEO expert” says about not responding to these reports because it only drives more traffic to that negative site. I’m going to respond if someone talks about us or me negatively. If it’s true then I’ll admit error, own the mistake, and make it right. However, if it’s not true then I’ll tell my story so that the readers have the chance to hear both sides of the story.
Here’s a great article about what someone did when their online reputation was in question. Consider some of their strategies.
Another good idea is to make sure you monitor your business name and personal name [as well as ALL variations of your names] on google alerts. This way you can get an email sent to you directly when anything is said about you online.
I love the idea of someone typing in Hawkeye Management Reviews on Google and doing their due diligence. I don’t even mind if they type in Hawkeye Managment Scam. I’m not scared of those questions and I know we’re not a scam but I just don’t want them thinking that someone who writes a false review or a highly-slanted review is going to help them make a decision about working with us. None of us like the idea of false and negative information influencing the decision of a prospect of ours!
Let me know your ideas about this. We are not experts or guru’s on this stuff but it’s a concern for us like it may be for you.