Aug 19 2007

Online Reputation Management

Published by at 5:25 pm under business,social media

Reputation Management

Here’s a question for you bloggers out there. The last time you had a bad customer service experience, at any stage (in the back of your mind), were you thinking “You’ll be sorry, I’m going to blog about this”?

I know I have had that thought, and I did blog about my Bigpond issues not that it got me anywhere. It provided a little bit of ranting satisfaction and the knowledge that over 200 people have read that post.

What really surprises me is that many companies do not seem to pay attention to reputation management. There used to be an adage that a satisfied customer will tell between 5 to 7 people, but a dissatisfied customer will tell between 14 to 20 (see customer satisfaction). In the era of social media, this needs to be rewritten.

Consider 3 Mobile. Mark Jones had 3 Mobile Issues, Cameron Reilly wrote about Why he Hates 3, and Shane Williamson weighed in with 3 Australia Vs Cameron Reilly – a customer’s support nightmare. I shudder to think of the combined audience of these three bloggers.

When Laurel’s in a bad mood, she has the occasional rant. At least Retravision Bunbury had the presence of mind to read reputation management 101 and address the issues at hand. The managing director;

  1. admitted that they’d stuffed up
  2. offered an explanation
  3. apologised
  4. offered a rectification
  5. was humble and sympathethic

But for the most part, do big corporations even care? If it’s true that it costs 7 times more to source a new customer as retain a current one, wouldn’t they be wiser investing their money in efficient customer service and reputation management? Or are their pockets just so deep that they think they don’t need to worry?

How to Manage Reputation Online

The most comprehensive guide I’ve seen on reputation management is Free Online Reputation Management Beginners Guide by Andy Beal (found via Semfire). Andy also offers his services as an online reputation management consultant. He writes

By now, you should have an understanding of just how powerful consumer generated media (CGM) is. Your next action could be the difference between your company’s success or failure. Do you click the “back” button and ignore the conversation, or; do you read the tips and strategies outlined below, arm yourself with valuable knowledge and join the foray?

I was going to recommend starting with the obvious – Google Alerts. Creating alerts for your business name, brands, products, URL, competitors, key staff names and having someone monitor these, is a bare minimum.

Andy, however, lists over 20 sites (and tools) that could be used to monitor a company’s online reputation, and offers practical solutions on how to manage tricky situations. It’s an essential read for any business.

Caution Ignore CGM at your own risk

16 responses so far

16 Responses to “Online Reputation Management”

  1. Bryceon 19 Aug 2007 at 5:50 pm

    Bitching is well and alive in the blogosphere, have you ever read The Consumerist? We need one of them for Australia.

  2. Megon 19 Aug 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Bryce – I was having a look at that site today. Maybe they will bring out an “au” version like gizmodo & defamer? does well with ISPs… But I don’t think they care too much.

  3. Martin Neumannon 19 Aug 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Funny you should mention 3 – I’m at the brink of doing my own “rant” post on them, because I’m really, really frustrated with them and it’s been building up. :(

    But it’s not just the immediate rant (eg: 200 or so readers) from a few bloggers. It’s the fact that these posts will hang around in Google for well … for ever. Future searchers will come across these and it does noting for the brand in question.

    Companies such as Three have to realise they have to engage in this “new” media if they want to manage their brand.

  4. Megon 19 Aug 2007 at 7:59 pm


    I agree with them hanging around on the search engines – that’s how most of the readers have arrived at my post.

    Fortunately for three (3) they have a very generic name, so the bad press sort of gets lost a bit… It’s no excuse though.

  5. Garyon 19 Aug 2007 at 8:37 pm

    I’d love to have a real dig at some companies, services and restaurants on my blog, however, being in Australia there’s a real possibility I may end up in court.

    “A court in Australia has ruled that a critic’s unflattering review of a restaurant in a Sydney newspaper constituted defamation, and that the critic may now be responsible for damages.”

  6. Andy Bealon 19 Aug 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Hi Meg, thanks for taking a look at my guide and for sharing it with your readers. Good luck with your own efforts.


  7. Megon 19 Aug 2007 at 11:37 pm

    @ Gary – Yes, I’m still trying to work that one out. It seems to fall within the parameters of the law (as in fair comment/honest opinion), and yet the case was successful…

    I can appreciate your concern (although with the cost of litigation, you’d want to be worth a few bucks to make it worthwhile for someone to sue).

    @ Andy – Thanks for providing such a comprehensive guide, and for stopping by.

  8. Christine Parfitton 20 Aug 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Meg,

    I’m glad you found Andy Beal’s guide (thanks for the link to my post : -)).

    There are some fascinating case studies about ORM. I don’t know if you’ve come across the Kryptonite story? They manufacture bike locks and had the unfortunate claim to fame a few years ago for completely ignoring the blogosphere when someone blogged about being able to pick their locks with a ballpoint pen. If you do a search there’s a lot of info about the case. Interestingly, Kryptonite started a corporate blog this year (3 years after the original blogging incident).

  9. Megon 20 Aug 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Christine

    No, I hadn’t heard about that, but ouch! Classic case study, thanks.

  10. Jason ( 24 Aug 2007 at 5:06 am

    I haven’t thought of reputation like that before.

    I did hear about the adage that a satisfied customer will tell it to a few and a dissatisfied customer will tell it to many. I think it was in a Wikipedia article about Viral Marketing.

  11. Jerion 24 Aug 2007 at 6:44 am

    I actually use the concept in the reverse. As a project manager, I background-check new vendors before signing contracts. The references they provide are always going to be positive, of course. And yet – I worry when I find a vendor with no extraneous online mentions, just their own press releases. Is their market share so small – or does no one care about them enough to talk about them?

  12. Megon 24 Aug 2007 at 1:21 pm

    @ Jason – thanks for stopping by.
    @ Jeri – that is a very good use of the concept. Still, if what you found was all negative, it wouldn’t look great for the vendors!

  13. Alister Cameron // Blogologiston 24 Aug 2007 at 10:19 pm


    The nuff nuffs that installed our central heating drove me nuts and I had exactly this thought, but I’m not naturally a “retributive” person, so I decided not to.

    They installed the heating and then that very night… one of the coldest of the year, it stopped working. It has had faults intermittently since then.

    So I called the CEO’s mobile… the guy who sold us the thing. No answer. Voicemail. Later I got a call from his admin lady.

    In subsequent fault-finding escapades I called him again and to this day he has never called back. So I get the message loud and clear that this is a company boss who is prepared to talk to sell to you, but never again after that.

    Very very annoyed and disappointed.

    If it wasn’t that their independent contractor had done a really good install (the non-faulty bits, I’d have really let loose, I think.

    Anyway, there’s my anecdote. I’m hearing ya, sister!


  14. Renataon 24 Aug 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks Meg!

    You always have great articles!

  15. Megon 25 Aug 2007 at 12:12 pm

    @ Alister – thanks for sharing that. I hope you get it sorted…
    @ Renata – thanks :)

  16. […] her post Online Reputation Management a few days ago, Meg Tsiamis wonders why so many companies “do not seem to pay attention to […]