“You’ve Tried the Rest, Now Try the Best” That’s one of my favorite pizza box slogans.

Another, I’m sure I’ve seen is “If you love our pizza, tell a friend. If not, tell us.”

Mr. Cynical side has always interpreted that latter suggestion as ‘tell us and it will die with us,’ but my inner optimist prefers to think the goal is to know there’s a problem to be addressed.

If you’ve ever shopped online, and who hasn’t, you may have noticed this preemptive tactic, mostly aimed at avoiding negative feedback and bad reviews on sites such as eBay and Amazon.

Where a ‘feedback score,’ is involved, eBay sellers in particular know that negative reviews are demonstratively bad for business.

I’ve never noticed a sign on a wall in a waiting room reading “Please Bring Your Concerns to the Receptionist before Blasting Us Online.” Perhaps there should be such signs. When folks are empowered to vent in real time, their post-trauma assessments can become less venomous.

ReputationThere are dozens of online reputation management companies out there, more than 40, according to a Business News Daily article which attempts to weed through the field and select the seven “Best” for 2017, based on transparency, cost, service focus and customer service.

Some of these focus merely on SEO, others on crisis management. In my opinion hat’s the different between proactive and reactive management.

Some will blog and post for you, as you – a corner of the industry I find particularly distasteful and borderline dishonest.

Some offer a range of public relations and marketing services, which are part and parcel to building and maintaining reputation.

Some do it all.

Recent incidents onboard commercial airliners most recently United and later US Airways, show there are good and bad ways to respond to a public relations and public perception crisis.

Perhaps the best defense is a good offense. An overzealous employee might act out –

Integrity Max Means Upper Limit And Sincerity
Max Integrity Representing Upper Limit And Peak

we’re all only human, after all. But I can’t help wonder if employees were less stressed, less overworked, less fearful for their jobs, less backed into a corner, might they be better able to face extraordinary challenges with their company’s best interests at heart?

Witnessing the double-talking, disgraceful executive response at United Airlines, summed up nicely by CNN, I have to think that airline’s employees weren’t equipped to succeed.

At the end of the day, I think of the pizza box.

Inside is what should be a no-brainer. Dough and sauce and cheese. If the dough is fresh, the sauce well-seasoned and the cheese from a quality maker, it will be a great pizza. Old dough, topped with nothingness and dried out junk? Not so much. bestsmallThe folks slicing that pizza and closing the lid know if the pie inside will be well received or a disappointing mess prepared with no regard for the consumer.

Consumers have always expressed their displeasure with their dollars and feet.

In the Internet age, a few pointed words online are potentially more damaging

Sadly, with instant access to audience many folks have lost their filter. No longer must a review be submitted to an editor and set on a page pending publication.

A quick press of the ‘enter’ key and it’s live for all to see. What’s worse, perhaps is the sadistic pleasure some receive from blasting a business that might simply be having an isolated bad day.

Rather than talking to the provider and seeking resolution in real time some consumers see posting negative reviews as sport.

Think none of this matters? Read these 50 Stats You Need to Know About Online Reviews by Khusbu Shrestha, and consider that nearly 90 percent of consumers now factor into reviews when making purchasing decisions. A higher number may give a business a second chance if problems are resolved quickly and efficiently.

Sadly, they probably won’t write about it online – even if it turned their frown upside down.

 

Thanks for reading. You can also read about Jonathan Ment Photography, and follow random thoughts on twitter.

 

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