The negative impact of a bad online reputation is often overlooked until it starts showing up on the bottom line. President of Big Blue Robot, Don Sorensen, has been working with companies large and small for the past 10 years to improve their online reputations. Sorensen says many marketing executives fail to grasp the importance of online reputation management and how it, if handled poorly, can damage company sales. The impact negative search results can have on a company’s bottom line are enormous. The corrections that should be made go far beyond the complaint department.
Interdepartmental communication to track down and correct the problem at multiple levels is the only solution. Your complaint department, however, should be thoroughly trained in customer service skills. Sometimes it is not a customer service problem at all, but a competitor that is slandering your company or a short seller in your stock, both looking to make a buck off your bad reputation. In this case, your only alternative is legal action and proper public relation to resolve the problem. In any case, never underestimate the cost of a poor reputation.
For instance, Sorensen once consulted with a mid-sized company that had a severe negative online reputation. Seven of the top 10 Google search results were negative, if a customer were to search for their company name. He projected the company was going to lose nearly $2 million in sales that year. After a careful review of the previous years revenues and rankings, the company confirmed his estimates—but as being low. Clearly, online reputation was having a big impact on the company’s revenues. Every company has a few negative reviews but if you discover a proportionally high number of them, talk to a specialist in the field to track down and correct the problem before it is too late.
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