So I have been kicking around changing our phone service. Our internet company has a bundel package deal and was preasuring me to switch. When I talked to my phone provider to look for opportunites to compete or lower our prices, somehow I got on a call with Preferred Long Distance. Maybe it was lucky timing or maybe they have some tie with my current provider, although they said they were an AT&T rep.
They gave me this spiel about not having to swich phone companies and lowering my rates per month. They called several times. Honestly I wanted to know what the catch was. You know, where are you making your money sort of stuff. When I asked her that, she said she was paid by AT&T to keep people on their lines instead of switching to cable or other options.
There is no catch, she told me, just agree and talk to my supervisor and we will get you on this new package in no time. If you don't like it just cancel your savings program and you will go back to your regular providers rates.
When I went to the first organic link on this page, it took me to TrustLink's review of Preferred Long Distance. The second link took me to the Preferred Long Distance BBB listing where they scored an "F" out of an A through F rating system. Both sites offer a ton of bad reviews and the BBB site had 248 complaints but only 4 serious complaints.
The point here is it is easier and easier for people to file complaints and give you poor reviews. If you are not offering great service to customers that you too will get poor reviews. Poor reviews means that you will loose business. This company has lost my business. In the real world people trust other people more than they trust you. Because of this it is important to monitor your online reputation from time to time and see who is talking baddly about you.
You can do this by using google alerts where you track things like your company name, personal name, or something like "Brandwise Reviews". This will give you an email every time there is news about these topics online. Another thing you can do is just run a search from time to time on your company's name and reviews. If you are providing a great customer experience and you are doing a great job of inbound marketing then when you do these searches, they should return nothing but glowing reviews of you and your business.
This is a tip for businesses to manage their reputation, but keep in mind as in this instance, it is a powerful consumer tool as well. If any company seems questionable, do a search on them and the reviews they have gotten. This probably saved me a ton of headaches down the road by doing a 5 minute search and review of postings.
If there is only one bad review and many good ones then you need to decide if you move forward. As in this case though, every review was bad and there were a ton of them. Obviously something is not right with this company. Before we end, one quick note if you find yourself with bad reviews. Reach out to this person and offer to fix the problem. Do whatever it takes to get them happy again, sometimes, people just want to be heard. Let them vent about you, then find a solution to get them happy again. Do this online and see a poor review turn into a goldmine of new business by publicly showing great customer support. If they see you make mistakes and more importantly handle them well and fix the problem, people will be happy to do business with you.
I hope this helps you build your online brand and keep your reputation in tact. Good luck!