Thursday 19 August 2010

Online reviews sparks war of words

This is an extraordinary war of words between Amy's Baking Company and Joel Latondress.

He didn't like the service he got.

She didn't like the review he wrote and shot back calling him a "tramp" and a "loser"

Now, their dispute has gone way more public than Joel's short negative review with 609 comments and counting on the Phoenix New Times not to mention comments on countless blogs, twitter polls etc. etc.

Phoenix New Times
Be sure to read through the comments to see all of the slings and arrows being exchanged.
Matthew Petrow

Wednesday 18 August 2010

The Indignant Diner Who Went Too Far

A Web Campaign to Smear the Mussel Bar.

A diner who goes by the handle, “Anna” (or sometimes “Anu”) has been strafing the landscape with essentially the same comment. She has posted it on Zagat, Urbanspoon, CultureMob, Metrocurean, Yelp (where it’s been filtered), and even our, (the Washington City Paper's) little blog. Here’s the gist of it:
The food is ok..overpriced yes but ok. The reason for low rating is the service we received from none other than restaurant manager and owner.
 I plan on telling everyone about how little he thinks of his patrons. I am also a writer so you can bet this is what’s on my mind and where my writing energies will go.
And so she did.  Read full story

Wouldn't have happened had she'd been in the UK and posted on HelpHound because Resolution™would have given the business the opportunity to respond before she was able to post her negative review

Defining your Social Media Strategy

Need help defining your social media strategy?
Well, this gadget will do it for you.  Try it out.
Or come speak with us

Full article from Business Insider

How To Use Customer Reviews To Market Your Business

This is a well written, 'must read'  article from Gail Goodman for anyone interesting in marketing their businesss. She keeps it simple and down to earth and gives great advice.

Increasingly, consumers are searching for reviews before they commit their dollars to buying products, booking services or donating to a charity. They want to read a positive review or comment, expressed in your customers' own words.
Sharing customer success stories demonstrates how you deliver on your brand promise in the real world, with real people. A positive customer review resonates in a way that other marketing efforts just can't. It conveys more than honesty.....
 She goes on to offer 9 tips for businesses to get and use great reviews for their businesses
1.    Make it easy for customers to give great reviews
2.    Find out where your customers are already posting reviews
3.    Ask for reviews across multiple channels
4.    Survey customers after a sale
5.    Note: Customers must give these reviews freely
6.    Spread the word and get more people talking
7.    Post success stories wherever you promote your products and services
8.    Customer-centric stories make compelling content
9.    Listen to what customers are saying about you (the good and the bad)

 Full Article

Tuesday 17 August 2010

The customer knows best

Every interaction with a customer should be an opportunity to improve your business, Paul Holstein, vice president and chief operating officer of, said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in a session entitled “How to borrow customers’ ideas and look like a genius.”
“The customer is telling you exactly how to make your company better,” he said. “All you have to do is listen.”

The problem, however, is that most consumers don’t bother to call customer service. Instead they just abandon the site. In fact, only one customer out of every 100 who experiences a problem will alert a retailer. “Many people experience problems on a site,” he said. “Of those, maybe half stay on the site. Of those, only a few will inform you of the problem.”

That means that retailers need to listen to customers, including when consumers leave comments on blogs and or on consumer reviews sites like

Retailers should also pay heed to indirect signs that something is askew, such as many failed site searches. “Failed site searches are indirectly telling you that you don’t carry what they’re looking for,” Holstein said.

Those types of indirect signs also include measures like bounce rates, which gauge how often shoppers leave after viewing one page of a site, he added.

The easiest way to understand what needs to be changed, Holstein said, is to directly ask consumers., for example, has a box, “Can we improve something on this page?” on nearly every page. That box generates 10 to 15 suggestions a day, including valuable questions like “Why don’t you carry a manufacturer’s new line?” or comments such as “You have a typo on your site.”

“Those types of insights can help you adjust your site to make you look like a genius,” he said.
Source: Internet Retailer

If you don’t have anything nice to say, post a review instead

This article about marketing to women has great advice to businesses on how to deal with unhappy customers.

Deal with it by getting smart.
1) Take a deep breath and remember that unhappy customers can become your biggest fans and most vocal evangelists if you respond quickly and work earnestly to fix the problem.
Turn an unsatisfied customer into a very happy one and guess what happens. She’s got a great story that will be told again and again and again. And guess who’s the hero? You are. The word of mouth that results is the stuff branding director’s dreams are made of.
2) Find another way to solicit honest feedback. Face -to-face is uncomfortable for most people and is particularly tough for women who are literally hard-wired as gatherers to keep the village working together. So make it easy for people to give their reviews anonymously (if they choose) and on their own schedule.  Allow for ratings and reviews on your site.
3) Ask for opinions in YOUR voice. Don’t just send a standardized “your feedback is valuable to us” missive with an equally canned survey. Let your brand personality and EARNEST desire to do a better job ooze from every detail.
Consider that even your email asking for their feedback is a form of marketing on your part. Work it.
4) Act on what you learn.

Bad reviews are a roadmap for getting better.  The tools for listening to consumers are there.
We’re just not acting on them.

Read full article

The Power of Reviews 3

According to a survey by business management consultants Deloitte LLP,  when it comes to online product reviews across all web sites, 51% say that an online review has influenced their decision to make a purchase and 50% say a review helped persuade them not to buy.
Read full article

The Power of Reviews 2

If you sell TVs or consumer packaged goods (CPGs), you’d better keep an eye on what customers are saying about you on product review Websites: According to a study of nearly 1,500 consumers by Epsilon, those sites are the most influential source of buying information for shoppers.
Product review sites were almost the most influential source for shoppers looking to book a hotel or sign up with some sort of communication service, according to the survey. People shopping for phones, computers, and credit cards, however, relied more on family and friends, while those in the market for auto insurance said that brand Websites were most influential.
Read full article on Direct Magazine

Beware the websavvy moms

When Melissa Garcia was frustrated by Old Navy's scanty coupon offerings, she didn't just complain to the store. She vented on a message board tied to her blog, which is read by at least 30,000 people each month and now, increasingly, by corporate America.
Within weeks, chatter in the so-called mommy blogosphere led Gap's Old Navy stores to begin issuing coupons several times a week, instead of just once a week.
When mad moms blog, stores listen
Read full story

Make your gripe heard

I treated my daughter and son-in-law to lunch. The appetizer was scanty and lukewarm. A side order didn't show up until after we'd finished eating. Our glasses remained empty even as we spied the waiter sitting and chatting.

Printed on the check was a "How'd we do?" survey. I filled it out.
Two days later, a manager called to apologize -- and to offer $50 worth of gift cards.
Sometimes it pays to complain.
"They cannot fix the problem if they don't know about it," Tschohl says. "You're doing the company a huge favor if you complain."

Best Practices for Responding to Online Hotel Reviews

As a hotel manager, when a guest comes to the front desk to register a complaint, do you: 
1) look busy;
2) skulk out the back door; or
3) handle the matter personally?
Not that difficult a question, is it? 

Then why do only 4% of negative reviews on TripAdvisor get a response? 
Daniel Edward Craig, a former hotel general manager turned consultant gives his views on how to respond to online hotel reviews

This is a summary
  • Respond to any feedback that is damaging to your hotel’s reputation, even if simply to acknowledge the issue and apologize.
  • Respond to positive reviews occasionally to show you’re listening, but don’t feel obliged to reply to each one.
  • Responses should come from the highest level - but not necessarily from the owners themselves. “As a rule I discourage hotel owners from responding. They have too much at stake and aren’t always as diplomatic as managers.”
  • Respond as soon as possible - the longer a complaint is left to fester, the more business it will drive away. Just make sure you have all the facts and the response is thorough.

Monday 16 August 2010

Gordon Ramsey on Customer Relationship Management

Watch this...

The Power of Reviews

Blue Cedar's take on what to do about Review Sites.
I think we would wholeheartedly agree.

 More and more consumers rely review sites during their purchasing decision making process.

What should your company do about these directories?
  • Be there. As consumers rely more heavily on review sites and local directories, not being present can cause you to be overlooked. List your business with the national  ones –the ones we’ve mentioned, plus HotFrog, Brown Book, and, among others – and then track down the ones specifically for your local community. If you’re not primarily a local business (for example, you do e-commerce), you can still benefit from local listings. It’s a link to your website, after all.
  • Register or claim your business. In many cases, only those businesses that register or claim their listings can respond to reviews, add a link to their website, and in other ways have some control over the listing. Brown Book lets you upload videos and other content. Yelp lets you communicate with those who leave reviews. Merchant Circle hosts a blog for you. Explore the options.
  • Encourage happy customers to review your business. Trying to game the system by posting fake reviews will backfire, but asking customers to support you is smart.  Train staff to respond to compliments with, “I’m so glad you liked it! Would you write that at Yelp?”
  • Respond to unhappy reviews. You can’t please everyone, but a kind and helpful response can turn a bad review into a good opportunity to show your excellent customer service.  Calm down, if you need to, before you make your response.
  • Quote the good reviews. People who’ve made public comments about your company have already shown that they’re willing to share their opinions. Use the things they’ve said as testimonials online and in your marketing materials.
  • Watch your analytics. Keep track, with whatever kind of web analytics you use, of the kind of traffic that comes to your site from directories. That information can help you make decisions about advertising and future linkbuilding.
    Full Article

The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth, So Help Your Reputation

An interesting commentary on the state of Reputation on the internet by  Travis Kalanic, with one marvellous observation

 "...a reputation site that has a bad reputation itself 
is worthless"

See full article

The Truth About Online Reputation Management

Mitch Joel writes,
"There's no difference between what's being said online and in the "real world."
In fact, let's call a moratorium on the separation of the two... because that no longer exists. If someone tells you about a brand, product or service, what's your first action at that point in time? You do an online search (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Twitter, whatever...). You don't run down to a retail store to look for yourself, and you don't call up an office and ask for more information ("can you please mail me your corporate brochure?"). You look to see what is being said about the brand online (by them, their competitors and your peers). Positive, negative or neutral, that is your first brand interaction...."
Most people have their first brand interaction at a search box.    More...

Goodbye cruel world, I’m moving to the internet

In cyberspace you can erase people, in the real world you’d have to murder them
A light take on the internet from Caitlin Moran.  More....

Sunday 15 August 2010

Many European companies have started their customer experience journey.

In a survey of 53 Western European firms with annual income of over $150 million, 47 of the respondents said that customer experience was either critical or very important to their firm’s 2010 strategy.  Three-quarters of the respondents said that there company is trying to differentiate itself with customer experience.
Yet only 6% of the respondents said that they had a very disciplined approach to customer experience management.    More...

How word-of-mouth fuels e-mail campaigns

 Customer reviews and other forms of word of mouth make great fodder for e-mail campaigns.
International apparel brand Boden crafted a post-purchase e-mail that went to each customer upon placing an online order with direct links to review submission forms and in four months, 90% of Boden's products had been reviewed. 
eSpares, the UK's largest appliance spare parts retailer, found that a link to customer reviews in e-mails outperformed all other links in its e-mail, including other text-based links and a “buy now” button. In addition, incremental traffic to the Web site from the “read reviews” link ended up generating additional revenue, 2.5 times that sold through the “buy now” button.
Urban Outfitters took customer reviews and personas one step further.....   More

Trust and the art of corporate transparency

In the internet age, opinions aren't hard to come by. Bloggers, celebs, experts, journalists, total strangers - they're all on hand to let you know what they think. But who do you trust?

This is an ad feature for firstdirect bank but it's survey confirms that good reviews are worth their weight in gold and it is important to manage negative feedback.  More...

Beware the websavvy artist

'The artist in question is HiddenEloise, a British independent artist who sells artwork via Etsy and other independent online stores. Discovering that Paperchase had allegedly stolen and "badly traced" one of her unique designs, she contacted the stationery company to ask for the artwork to be removed from their shops and Amazon. Not only has Paperchase ignored her, but it is now selling even more products featuring the plagiarised artwork.'
Realising that contacting the lawyers would result in astronomically high legal fees that she simply couldn't afford ($40,000 for court expenses), HiddenEloise instead took to her blog, accusing Paperchase of plagiarism, and asking readers to contact the stationery firm directly.
This blog post was subsequently tweeted by the English science fiction author, Neil Gaiman. With his approximately 1.5 million followers, it's unsurprising that the story was quickly gathered momentum on Twitter and was subsequently retweeted thousands of of times. It is now one of Twitter's top 10 trending topics, which spells trouble for Paperchase.   More
Play the Hidden Eloise video here


 I love being reviewed, either way. Then, of course, there’s Yelp…
As long as I have been picking up the phones, I have received calls from Yelp salespeople offering me sweet deals in which my rating would go up, my negatives would go down, and special “Elites” would come review me favorably if only I signed up for a $300/m sponsorship.  More...

There is a grown up alternative you know...

Beware the websavvy customer

When customer service fails, today's consumers take things into their own hands and the results can be disasterous.

This one ran and ran and was featured on multiple sites and in multiple publications.
Don't get caught in that trap.
Read the full story
And this
This is precisely what HelpHound is set up for.  To avoid negative feedback going viral

Hotels fight back, sort of...

 BRITAIN'S hotel industry is getting increasingly agitated by the power wielded by online review sites. So says the Independent, in light of TripAdvisor’s recently released “dirtiest hotel” rankings. Hotels complain that there is no way of knowing if the writer of an online review is a genuine guest as opposed to a mischief-maker.
More...   from the Economist
More...   from the New York Times

What to do?
Quite simple, speak to HelpHound about Resolution™ 

Saturday 14 August 2010

The Brand, Reputation Management & how they are connected

Everything Jeremy Clarkson said about it is right, however I won't be buying another one if I have to deal with Stratstone, their staff are so miserable when you go into the showroom its unreal.

Don’t wait till it’s to late.
Get on top of your reputation management, listen and learn it could save and make you a fortune.