Managing Your Business’s Online Reputation
Category : Business Management
The Internet is an effective and low-cost way for many small businesses to spread the word about their products and services. But what happens when you are hit with a bad review?
Yelp, Google Local, Citysearch, Trip Advisor, and other online review sites are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, a survey by the Opinion Research Corporation found that 84 percent of American consumers consult online reviews when making purchasing decisions.
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook can also be a way for businesses to interact with their customers. However, you should be prepared to deal with both praise and complaints. Designating a staff member to monitor social media and online review sites. In most cases, quickly addressing concerns can remedy the situation. Of course, it is imperative to always respond in a respectful and courteous manner, no matter how justified your position may be.
While no one wants to read unflattering (and often untrue) statements about their business, it is also generally not a good idea to try and manipulate online reviews. Regulators and online review sites are increasingly cracking down on the practice of “astroturfing,” which is defined as “[t]he practice of preparing or disseminating a false or deceptive review that a reasonable consumer would believe to be a neutral, third-party review.” It is essentially a modern day form of false advertising.
Trying to game the system can lead to administrative penalties and costly lawsuits. In New York, the state attorney general levied more than $350,000 in fines against companies who attempted to manipulate consumer-review websites by posting fake reviews. In California, Yelp filed a lawsuit against a firm that used its own employees to post favorable reviews.
The bottom line is that despite advances in technology, delivering a quality product or service in conjunction with superior customer service is still the best way to generate positive reviews.
How We Can Help?
Marketing activities can lead to significant liability, if you don’t play by the rules. Our knowledgeable business attorneys can evaluate your current marketing program and offer personalized legal advice. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.