Collector - May 2017 - 8
Should you respond to online criticism?
By Anne Rosso May
n the age of trolling, fake news and
plain ol' bad reviews, the tide of
negativity rolling through the Internet
can seem unstoppable-especially if it's
directed at you.
These disparaging comments are more
than annoying, they can have a serious
impact on your business. Companies risk
losing out on potential clients when just
one negative item is found online, and if
consumers are on the fence about paying
a debt, online complaints attacking your
collection methods aren't going to persuade
them to respond to your communications.
It's time to take action. Here are four tips
for online reputation management you can
put to use today.
START PAYING ATTENTION
TO ONLINE CHATTER
The first step is to uncover what's out there,
so designate a staff member to monitor what
consumers are saying about your company.
Timothy Collins Esq., general counsel, does
this for Convergent Outsourcing, relying on
two tools to monitor comments: Mention
for social media and Google Alerts for
websites, blogs and articles.
Of course, there are dozens of other free
and low-cost options you can try, such as
Yext and Go Fish Digital Complaint Search
Box. The key is to pick the tools that work
for you and get started.
If you're doing a Google search of your
company name or key stakeholders, focus
primarily on the first page results. Almost
three-fourths of online searchers are looking
only at what shows up on that first page, so
think carefully about how you can dominate
DETERMINE IF YOU CAN
PUT OUT THE FIRE
Now that you know what people are saying
about your company, it's time to decide
how you will take charge of the situation.
Ignoring negative chatter can imply that
either you don't care about consumers'
problems or that their bad experiences and
impressions of your company are true.
"'No comment' is a comment if you
don't respond to someone saying your
company is a scam," Collins said. "If you
don't get there quick enough, they will get
a lot of misinformation and that becomes
searchable. You need to get your response
Don't forget that potential clients will
see your response when they search for
information on your company. How you
handle the situation will be a pretty clear
indicator of how you treat consumers in
general. Keep your response professional and
respectful. Words like "sorry" and "thank
you" can go a long way when responding
to these comments, along with a link or
email address where consumers can contact
someone to get their problem solved.
In some cases, if the comment breaks the
rules of the site or is based on something
inherently false, you can get the website to
remove it completely. That's what Rodney
Meeks, president and CEO of Credit
Consulting Services, did when a consumer in
a state where the company doesn't do business
posted negative comments about CCS on Yelp.
In fact, CCS didn't even have a Yelp page
prior to the consumer's false comments.
Meeks believes the comments were the result
of someone who threatened to go viral on
social media because CCS wouldn't accept a
settlement offer. The consumer told CCS that
he would make it his sole purpose to ruin the
company's reputation. Based on these factors,
Yelp removed the page at Meeks' request and
he created an official page for his business.
BE HELPFUL-BUT DON'T
GET CARRIED AWAY
Consumers posting about your company are
often just looking for information or help,