• ItsMalRay

    All good, common sense stuff, but some tips on dealing with malicious posts would be useful. I set up a Google Local/Places page for a client last year and a disgruntled former employee began posting scathing reviews. It took over 1 month of email correspondence to have Google remove it.

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    I definitely agree with your tip on blogging! It definitely does give a you “home ground” as well as a place to vet your business’ beliefs and stance on certain issues.

    But the most important thing it does it puts your content on the first page of search results for your name. What a lot of people don’t realize is that by blogging they’re communicating with all of the search engines because search engines like to pick up things that are fresh and relevant.

    So, the more you blog the better your chances certain negative reviews will disappear from the SERPs.

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    If you can prove those reviews are libelous in any way, you should be able to have them removed within a week or two. Check out our blog if you’re interested in learning more: http://www.brand.com/blog/

  • Ralph D. Klonz

    Have to agree with itsmalray, the previous commentator. It’s a common sense approach for daily dealings and interactions. Love the part about social media. right on the numbers there, need to stimulate these accounts with regular interesting posts. Even if it’s stuff from social activities of the staff and owner.
    Ralph D.
    San Antonio, Tx

  • http://lathesis.com/ Lathesis

    Agree with you Smith !!

    Nowadays, effective customer communication management has become a foundation for successful business expansion. Despite what the intention of a business, the primary aim is to manage communication with your client base.

  • http://www.sovainfotech.com/ Sova Infotech

    Strongly agree with the fourth point. It is no longer enough to craft an image for business but an image must be crafted for the founders or the owners as well. The profile must be well maintained and blogs or messages can be published from time to time. This brings the owner or the founder of business closer to people, that in its turn has a role to play in online reputation management.

  • http://www.mylocalservices.co.uk/ Steve Richardson

    Reviews can be such an emotional subject, and the damage irresponsible review sites does is unmeasurable in terms of financial loss and stress. This includes big players and the likes of Facebook.

    As a review site, we take the approach that there is always 2 sides to every argument, and any a business should have the ability to question or resolve a negative review before being made public, or at least given the opportunity to respond. But this isn’t the easy option, human moderation takes time, resource and money, which is why so many sites automate it.

    We find the majority of negative reviewers would prefer their actual issue to be addressed or resolved than start an online witch hunt.Those that do go live, can actually make a business look more human if a simple response states “we screwed up, we gave a refund, and we’ve updated our process etc blah blah..” Followed by a few good reviews, I would be happy to hand over money, as it shows they have customer service when things do go wrong.

    Negative reviews don’t have to be the end of the world if you have the ability to publicly address the issue. But unfortunately there are too many easy outlets for anonymous, unmoderated reviews. With the rise of reputation management as a business model, I suspect review policy/regulation will be the next battleground to be addressed over the next 12 – 18 months.

  • Scott Allen

    That’s great, Steve — sounds like you’re one of the good guys in this matter. The huge problem that so many companies (and those of us who work to help them with this stuff) face is the sites that are purely negatively-focused, like Ripoff Report, Pissed Consumer, Complaints Board, etc. Many of them have a “no takedown” policy, and there’s no verification of the identity of the poster, so really, anyone — including a competitor — can go on these sites and post pretty much whatever they want, with no reprisal.

    In one case recently, the person got bent out of shape because they couldn’t get support in the middle of the night, so they hastily went on Ripoff Report to complain. The problem was resolved the next day, but now it’s there forever. The person can’t even delete their own complaint.

    Or then, the uninformed business owner, or one of their employees, responds to the thread, which just continues to give the search engines a signal that the information is fresh and relevant, so their attempt to be responsive ends up just exacerbating the problem.

    So Chris, I think that’s one thing to add to your list — simply don’t participate in these negative forums. If you know who the complainer is, contact them directly, off the site. If you feel you absolutely MUST respond, do so IMMEDIATELY and ONCE. Say that you’ll work directly with them via customer service, but not in that forum.

    It’s only in very rare cases that we recommend that to clients, though. Usually, it’s best to steer clear.

    Legitimate review sites, though? Absolutely respond and do the best you can to appease the customer, assuming they’re being reasonable. If they’re not, stay professional, and just give them enough rope to hang themselves. :-)

  • Scott Allen

    Another good tip — for anyone, but especially for local businesses — is to make good use of video and images. Both have a “preferred placement” in Google (and Bing), and it should be pretty easy to take a couple of the top 10 spots with these. Don’t skimp on the images — take LOTS of pictures, and share them on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, etc. Oh — and be sure to tag them with your business name! :-)

  • http://www.homesalarm.com/california/adt-los-angeles-ca/ Mike Munter

    For points 7,8, and 9 above, businesses ought NEVER comment on an existing negative thread, ripoffreport, pissedconsumer, etc. By commenting on the same page you want to get rid of, you are only making it stronger and more relevant in Google’s eyes. You add length (better for rankings) and you add a datestamp (reviving the freshness, better for rankings).

    I know it’s hard to ignore but Chris’s advice about “taking it offline” is prudent. Plus, if you’re able to fix the issue and satisfy the customer, maybe they’ll willingly take down their review.

    That aside, you’re going to need some aggressive reputation management. You can compare our pricing to some of the corporate firms here – http://affordablereputationmanagement.com/