Do you have a right to own your online reputation?

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There’s a radio commercial doing the rounds at the moment, selling online client management programs and CRM reputation consultations.  A self-proclaimed authority on saving you from a disastrous online reputation, while charging you eye-watering fees too do so, the advert begins by revealing a series of brand tragic scenarios: the very unfortunate CEO whose name is continuously mistaken on google for the name of a local drug lord, or the hotel who can’t quite get their negative trip advisor reviews under control. After scaring you, it finishes by simply stating “We believe you have the right to own your own online reputation.” And for several arms and several legs, presumably they’re the ones to help you do it.

So what’s this all about? The idea that online retailers and brands can employ an external agency to ostensibly manage “AKA spin'” your reputation so that your brand is squeaky clean at all times, is not a new phenomenon, but it’s certainly gaining traction in a sort of ambulance chasing way.

Much as I’m sure external brand management agencies have their place, particularly for medium to large-sized businesses, I always wonder if we really have ‘a right’ to essentially edit out the bad bits.

We love to brandish the word ‘right’ around, almost as much as getting worked up with the thought of someone threatening to take it away. So every time I hear that particular radio advert, it makes me ask the question: do we at WBC have a right to own our online reputation? Because in a tech savvy world where thanks to social platforms like twitter, never before has the consumer voice been so publicly and collectively heard; and relied upon! It would seem to me that now more than ever, your business reputation – like everything else that makes you successful – must be earned. A bit like your respect. Be good at what you do and people will talk about it.

We recently added a new feature to our website called Ekomi. It’s an online feedback service; Europe’s largest independent provider of transaction-based customer review and ratings management. Simply a jargon laden way of saying that Ekomi allows our customers to be the voice of our reputation; to tell it like it is, the good the bad and the ugly. Not just about our services in general: appraising how easy it is to process orders on our website, or whether we deliver on time like we say we will. It offers them a real chance to scrutinise our products too and inform other potential buyers of what they think of the products they use daily.

  • 71% of all online customers read customer reviews
  • 77% of them are influenced by customer reviews
  • (Forrester & Jupiter Research)

How does it work? It’s simple really. We randomly ask you for your feedback after placing an order and you give us marks out of 5. If your mark is low we get notified by Ekomi and given a chance to communicate with you to try and resolve the issue before your comment goes live – it’s called arbitration.

At WBC, you never get a computer at the end of an arbitration review. You get a lovely Kiwi humanoid called Jessica, who if you could see on the other end, would turn the hardest of hearts into something resembling a cartoon bunny. She’s really nice.

Seldom as it is, thankfully, we’d be lying if we said a negative review didn’t hurt a little. We’re passionate about what we do enough for us to take it personally. But that’s the nature of transparency…it’s good for us. It helps us as a company to remain at the top of our game, maintaining quality control and ultimately avoiding that awful naval gazing ‘out-of-touchness’ that can so easily creep into growing companies.

So try out the Ekomi review centre next time you purchase online with wbc. Recommend a product, tell us which bits we’re getting right and which things we could improve. We promise we won’t spin your answers, and we promise that any problem we do come across, we’ll try our level best to resolve to your satisfaction – at least Jessica will.

We don’t have a right to own our online reputation; that lies entirely in your hands.

 

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