Paying for online reputation management? Don’t get ripped off.

In the English lexicon it is an accepted fact that the terms ‘watch’ and ‘manage’ in the verb form do not mean the same thing at all. This is true regardless of ones accepted parlance or particular vernacular.

Yet, it appears that every once in awhile the lines are blurred and a reminder is due.

I was talking to a friend this week. This is someone I’ve known in business circles for quite some time. Today he is a very happy Sky Care MEDIA client .

We were talking about how Sky Care MEDIA hopes to revolutionize the way that Healthcare providers market their businesses online and how truly few people there are in the Healthcare space who do proper online marketing.

In our conversation, he mentioned a particular local digital marketing firm that contacted him recently to plug  their “Online Reputation Management Services,” for his healthcare facility.

So what did they offer I asked him?

Well, for a monthly fee, they told him they would send him an email every time someone posted an online review about his business on his facility Google Business Page, or other online webpages.

Ok, and then what, I asked?

Well, that’s it., he replied.

That’s it?!

So they are charging the client to watch the Google page, but what are they doing about actually managing the page, I pressed?

Does this marketing firm help their client establish and ascertain the veracity of each review in order to properly respond and/or contest on behalf of their client?

What if it can be established via proper due diligence and research that a particularly nasty online review isn’t from a customer at all, but from an ex-employee or a mean spirited competitor?

Moreover, what happens when a disgruntled family member goes online to publicly excoriate the facility over an injustice, perceived or otherwise? How does this marketing firm address these incredibly damaging 1-star reviews, that will continue to exist online in perpetuity and do irreparable harm to the business? Does the firm  work to help the facility locate the poster in order to address their concerns, fix their problems, make things right and placate them? Do they further invest any effort to collaborate with the facility in order to ameliorate and ultimately to request that the poster remove or amend their review?

After all, the purpose of an online review is to be a clarion call to the facility to either accept thanks due, or to fix a problem vented in frustration, but not to simply be ignored?

My friend’s response to my questions was eye-popping.

He said he asked them these questions, in fact, and was told that “once a review is published online, nothing can be done about it, except for the facility to try and respond to the review…. and that for an additional few hundred dollars, he could purchase their “upgraded package” whereby they would feed him with several “custom tailored” (read: boiler plate) responses for him to copy and paste, depending upon the nature of the specific comments.

REALLY?!

I simply couldn’t believe it.

So this company is charging folks for the simple task of watching their online reputation develop and are calling this “online reputation management?!” What exactly are they managing?!

This isn’t management at all, but gross mismanagement.

If the review is illegitimate and unfounded, a proper marketing firm should be able to help the client establish that and then work diligently on their behalf to have the hosting website remove it.

All of the biggest online consumer reviews sites have rules and guidelines for posting online reviews. It isn’t the wild wild west and one may not simply post slander, defamation and libel disguised as “honest and subjective customer feedback and opinion.”

If, however, the review is established as legitimately posted by a real and unhappy customer, then the marketing firm should be able to help the client work with the unhappy family to make amends and fix whatever was bothering them and then they will have earned a customer for life and have the ability to turn a 1-star review into a 5-star review.

The story doesn’t begin and end with a simple notification and a boiler plate choice of responses for another few hundred bucks?! That is a travesty, in my opinion.

Let me share with you a story that concluded just this week with one of our clients.

On June 13, 2017, they received a really nasty online review (1-star) posted on their Google Business Page by a very unhappy daughter of one of their residents.

I immediately notified the Administrator of the facility and he was surprised to learn of her concerns and set up a family meeting right away to address them in person.

The postscript to this review is that a few days ago, the appreciative daughter went back to her original Google review and edited it to add another 4-stars and to insert the text you see below.

We then responded on behalf of the facility to thank them for their acknowledgment of our efforts to make things right.

This became a win-win situation for everyone; the facility, the family AND THE RESIDENT.

THIS, my friends, is online reputation MANAGEMENT.

Don’t pay for ‘whale watching,’ when you’re really looking to catch a big fish and don’t pay for “Google watching” when you’re actually looking to save your business from being caught.

That’s the moral of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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