Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Blogger have allowed the average Joe to scream his displeasure with whatever is on his mind (or in his way). Companies are spending more and more resources to defend themselves from these often unruly customers because of one bad experience out of 100. Don’t leave your online reputation in the hands of complaints boards — take charge by building your credibility on sites like the Better Business Bureau.
We’ve all had that one consumer loudly and repeatedly complain about not receiving his product (because he deleted the email) or not getting the $5 discount (because he didn’t follow the instructions). But that one bad apple can spoil more than just his basket. Because your online reputation is owned not by you, but by what other people say about you, it can be quite damaging to have that lone man’s misdirected comments appearing front and center on the first page of search results for your business.
How Painful Is That??
At least these new forms of social media communication afford you the opportunity to respond and voice your side of the story. Unfortunately, the damage is often already done because other unhappy customers gravitate to that online hub and pile on their similar complaints. This becomes a downward spiral of increasing complaints that also appear higher in search engine results.
What Can You Do To Fight Back?
One way to combat such complaints in North America is to contact your local Better Business Bureau. You may not even realize it, but if you have been selling online for the last few years, you likely already are in their database. To find out, go to www.bbb.org and search for your company name.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization that attempts to moderate disputes between unhappy customers and companies. The BBB does not pass judgment on who was right or wrong, but simply attempts to find an amicable resolution.
The BBB receives complaints from customers, mails them to the business and mediates each party’s response. Based upon how the customer responds, issues are usually closed within a month or two. Depending upon the number or complaints, responsiveness of the company and how long company has been working with the BBB, a letter grade, like in school, is given to the company.
This is important because the BBB usually gives a good grade (B or better) to companies that work with them to resolve complaints. They issue a public report of these “grades,” which is indexed by the search engines. This report can help push complaint boards and negative comments down the search engine results page, as well as prevent some customers from contacting you at all, if your profile is positive. Of course, by trying to use the BBB for this purpose, you will need to promote your rating on their website and therefore need to continue to pay them each year to be accredited.
Take control of your BBB rating to help drive down unjust negative comments that appear in search engine results.
What has your experience been with the BBB? Are there any other services outside the U.S. and Canada that function in a similar way?