Wait, I can fix your reputation. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PROVIDE BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE!

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I am continuing my diatribe about reputations. I realize in this modern social media based world we have changed the rules about what someone’s reputation is. That ultimately fame is one post away from appearing (and disappearing). Fleeting and fickle would be the way my grandfather would have described it.

Reality is though with the great explosion of information is the reality that more people are given voices. I do not support the stalking of celebrity’s by photogs to get the revealing picture. What I do support is a world where good and bad feedback can live equally.

One of my first bosses in IT always said “one ah crap (he didn’t say crap) wipes out 25 atta boys.” It is effectively true. One bad review can set a business back. One bad review with an addendum (and after I posted this review the company reached out and made the original problem right) can actually be more effective advertising than wiping all the negative reviews away.

I’ve digging around this question for the past three or four days. What does a negative review really mean? Last night as I was working out I realized in fact it can be placed into an OODA loop process with the intent of changing the orientation.

The problem is quite simple. I have negative reviews of my company on the Internet. Therefore I seek to remove those. In effect attempting to whitewash the second O of the OODA Loop (or orientation.) Everyone however, knows that in fact every company has negative reviews so they dig deeper. What pushing the negative reviews down does in effect is create a multi-layer orientation that modifies observation radically.

Initially you find the sugary sweet comments of happy customers. You dig a little and below that layer you find the meets expectations reviews of satisfied customers. Then you find the dark layer of the failed expectations. The thing that companies that purchase reputation cleaning don’t realize is that you have to dig deeper for the negative which means the discerning customer’s who would in the end write a good review, are left with a negative impression before they buy and end up looking elsewhere.

My theory of reputation marketing is that over time if you push your negative reviews to the bottom you will ultimately cost yourself the customers who would have written the positive reviews of tomorrow. That makes it harder and harder to push the negative reviews downward because the positive reviews become older and stale.

In the end the best thing any company can do is make sure the negative reviewers post follow on reviews reporting their issues were satisfied. Not all the negative reviews but let’s say 10% or so should have that.

Not everyone posts reviews.

Not everyone updates their reviews.

In the end not everyone can be happy.

But you don’t want to annoy people that will repost negative reviews. I have five or six different reviews on various sites of one company. All are negative. All are slightly different. All have my name on them so its not unfair, but each is written for a different audience. Those are the reviews you want to in the end make happy.

No reputation fixing company. Good customer service and in the end work with reviewers that post you have bad customer service.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.