So what do your customers really think of you?
From our recent research study we've found that online review sites account for a lot of your business visibility.
Citysearch.com might show a 5 star user rating for your business and no one notices you because the 5 stars are almost expected now. But there can be a particularly devastating effect to your business if your ratings are low, and you would feel it.
Several members of our team are currently working with a large supplier that has a disastrous online reputation. Every review site has dozens of complaints about them, but until we got involved they simply didn't know how to fix the problem. Let's use our experience and give you some ideas that will help in your own reputation management.
Sometimes those online reviews can illustrate a long standing problem, not just with employees in your store, but specifically about you, the retail jewelry store owner. Let's look at today's example.
Take a look at this listing on Citysearch.com: http://bit.ly/n6TEeJ
Roslyn Jewelry in NYC has a horrible online reputation, and makes for a good case study of what not to do.
Their online reviews date back to November 2002 where they were given 5 stars, but then a few months later in 2003 the rating quickly dropped to 3 stars, then 1 star. The complaints are all about high prices and horrible customer service.
What's even worse is that the reviewers are name-checking "Roslyn herself" as being the problem. This is bad. If your customer is upset enough that they will mention you, the store owner, by name in their negative review then you must have really pissed them off.
Roslyn's reviews span 2003 to 2007 with negative reviews. Some are very long, and for the new generation of consumers these reviews will stand out and turn customers away.
In 2009, Roslyn must have realized what was happening because the next five reviews are 5-star ratings from obvious review spam sources. One review comes from the "ReviewBoost" company, two reviews were posted 1/04/11 and another two reviews posted on 1/21/11. The savvy generation of digitally connected shoppers will eventually see those for the spam they are.
Unfortunately, Citysearch leaves few options for correcting your bad online reputation unless you pay them at least $299 per month. Although, there is an argument here that such a damaging reputation is losing you more than $299 per month.
Claiming your business is easy when you click the "Own this Business?" link to create an account. They don't even verify your email address. However, they don't allow you to answer online reviews without buying into their $4.70 pay per click advertising program with a minimum of $299 per month.
Perhaps the benefit is that you are paying for advertising, attracting new customers, while at the same time you can correct your Citysearch reputation.
If you'd prefer to take the frugal approach, then we suggest not posting fake 5-star reviews like those Roslyn has. Instead, we would rather you take a different approach which we will explain in detail tomorrow.