Thursday 29 April 2010

Unhappy Customers Gain Google Ranking

This article highlights how just one 'negative' review can quickly go viral, damaging the reputation of a company almost overnight, if a unhappy customer doesn't get a satisfactory response to their complaint within a reasonable time frame.  


Answer? Try these phrase searches on Google, and you’ll be brought here.

The ongoing blog post about the Kwik Fit deathtrap car blog (another popular Google search phrase at the moment) has reached great heights – more than 100 hits per day, with numerous comments on the blog post itself and the anti-fan page on Facebook.

Other popular routes to the undoing of Kwik Fit’s reputation (a hugely-popular search phrase in the last 3 weeks) include:

Kwik Fit operations manager
Kwik Fit Ian Fraser
Kwik Fit Simon Benson
Kwik Fit Dave Rees
Kwik Fit service reviews
Kwik Fit Bristol
Kwik Fit Whiteladies Road
Kwik Fit Head Office telephone number
Kwik Fit Rob Sandow
Kwik Fit rip-off

These are the top ones at the moment, but the list goes on – and each damaging search term makes an impact on Google, as we know. It’s an incredibly-interesting exercise, and I am noting that Kwik Fit seem to be investing more heavily in search terms and SEO at the moment – obviously in an attempt to keep unhappy customers such as myself from gaining Google rank with our accounts of atrocious service and life-threatening mechanical work undertaken by a corporate who really should know better. The consumer PR’s best effort to date has been an attempt to rubbish the story with a journalist on a daily newspaper. Tut tut.

I am, to be honest, loving the interactions. The hundreds of other ex-Kwik Fit customers who have got in touch with their sorry stories, the countless comments on the blog post, the cutting disdain from ex-Kwik Fit customer on the Facebook anti-fan page, the tweets and retweets from many, many followers. It all adds up to an extremely messy online reputation management case.

I certainly wouldn’t want to be the PR Account Director in charge of sorting this mess out by smoothing over the Press, or attempting to silence an unsilenceable Google build-up of customer condemnation. Treat your customers properly please.

Wait til the eBook on corporate reputation and Kwik Fit is published imminently. That should shake things up still further. Maybe it won’t be of the proportions of recent social media uproar caused by Nestle, but it’s already costing Kwik Fit thousands of customers, a massive hit to online reputation, a total white-walling on social media platforms, and a significant dent in Brand trust overall.
The big question for me is: Would I buy anything from a company which had been consistently slated online by customers? More importantly – would you? And of course, the final question – would anybody? Did silence ever sound so deafening I wonder.

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