Elton John once had a hit with the words “Sad songs say so much.” United Airlines learned this lesson the supreme hard way. When the airline did a terrible job safeguarding the guitar of a musician who entrusted the airline with his instrument, the artist/passenger tries to complain. The complaints fell of deaf ears. So, he ended up creating a song and accompanying YouTube video about the fiasco. United Airlines was not only embarrassed by the 15 million views the video garnered, but the company’s stock lost a massive amount of money.
Business2Community recounted the strange tale and used it as a cautionary warning to businesses. The article on the popular site suggested businesses must treat customers, clients, and competitors well or suffer the consequences of online embarrassments.
Business owners must accept a serious reality. Anything published online in any form ends up being indexed in the search engines. At this point, bad reviews or other negative press chases off customers and requires online reputation management.
Look at the situation from the perspective of a potential customer. Not knowing anything about a particular pair of companies, the would-be patron types both names in the search engines. If the results are horrifically negative for one company, and “okay” for another, the customer is going to lean towards the seemingly better company. A less-than-obvious lack of fairness may be at work here.
The business with the “okay” rating is not a very good one, but has benefited from decent (not great) reviews and mentions. The exceptional business has suffered because of a number of unfair bad reviews or malicious content published online by a former partner or employee. Maybe even a personal friend of the business owner has a grudge and chooses to take vindictive stalking action by hurting the person with negative comments about his/her business. Things like this have been known to happen.
The Business2Community article suggests doing everything possible to reduce the potential for complaints. Also suggested is to perform consistent monitoring of the internet to determine whether or not bad things are being published. Of course, it is suggested to take action when something negative does appear and fix bad reviews.