I can see your underwear. That’s right. And so can everyone else. In these transparent days you have never been more exposed, as companies and medical practices been called to meet their maker. With the advent of online review sites like Trip Advisor for travel, Yelp, Chowhound (and gazillions more for restaurants),Yahoo Local, etc. etc., if you are a B to C service business especially , plan on being in the spotlight. What a pain in the belly. Better start exercising.
In working with doctors this issue has become the big pink elephant in the room. A few years ago, I had an experience that brought this all to light. In searching for clients, I’ll often plug their name into a Google search just to see what comes up. On this particular day I was targeting a few Ob-Gyn practices in my area , doctors that I’ve known for years who I’d worked with in my last incarnation. In the medical field in particular, online review sites have become fast, furious and powerful. They overshadow and outrank even the most sophisticated of medical practice websites, and often one will have to sift through 12 or 13 before getting to a website, if in fact there is a website at all. (Another story for another day). This doctor was a pioneer in his field; was known for his cutting edge Vitamin D testing long before Vitamin D deficiencies became a buzzword, and for years had a great reputation and was very difficult to get an appointment with because he was so in demand. No more. One look at the organic search engine results and it was clear that the online review sites had this doctor by the jugular. The very top of the search engine’s review did not even need clicking into; it was on the face as clear as day, calling out to all who might be searching for a good Ob-Gyn in their area, or who may have been referred to this particular doctor and just needed to check her out online first. Not good. Not anywhere close to good. As the adage goes: one bad review can skew 100 great ones. This doctor needed damage control in a big way. Seth Godin says it well: ”The web changes everything it touches, sometimes in significant ways. Travelers ranted about poor service for a generation, but once the internet makes it easy to rank and sort and connect, the service has no choice but to change. Some businesses see Yelp and others as a tax, a burden they have to pay attention to in order to stay relevant, and they grumble about it. Others see these sites as the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to deliver service (which takes guts and care, more than money) to get ahead.”
Hence the advent of yet a new service, which we offer as well: Reputation Management, where all stops are pulled out to suppress the bad and build the new and good on top of it in an effort to do damage control. Does it work? Yes, as long as there’s a good balance between a crappy online review and plenty of good service to temper it with. If you are under servicing and performing sub par service as your new norm, then sorry…all the Reputation Management in the world is not going to dig your dying business out of the black hole. Can you spell BANDAID? But hey! There’s the rub! What is your alternative?
Wonderful service! Out performance. Under promising and over delivering. Delighting your customers. Now more than ever the bar has been raised and people are not only watching but being invited to participate in a way they never could before on your companies success. Prior to the internet, this news was only available via word of mouth or by calling consumer protection agencies. Now it’s at the consumers fingertips and can fly much faster and spread much broader. Rather than seeing this as a threat, why not look at it as an opportunity for free PR? Take advantage of these sites and challenge your business to be viewed on Google and all the relevant review sites with 5 stars and glowing reviews. This is more effective marketing than you could ever pay for, and it’s free. The only cost is your standards, and living up to them.
Make sure you are aware of the review sites in your particular field, whether it be B to B or B to C. And while you’re at it, google yourself every now and then. It’s just as important as running a credit check on yourself.