Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
In times gone by, in a small town, reputation always meant success or failure through word-of-mouth. Everybody knew everybody and everybody knew your business. You cultivated your neighbors and they cultivated your business.
In today’s world, we live large. Everything moves faster and is bigger than ever before. In many ways, we have lost touch with our customers in the search for profits and survival. We outsource many of our responsibilities as a business to “experts” who may or may not do a task better than we could do it ourselves. It sometimes makes sense.
Does it make sense to outsource your reputation?
The Internet has redefined the meaning of reputation management. Google, Yahoo, Bing and companies like DealerRater and Yelp hold your reputation in their well-meaning hands. Many dealers have unsuspectingly found themselves vilified online by their own customers.
Along comes the riders on white horses wearing black hats, telling you they can manage your reputation and make everything alright. They have figured out ways to manipulate and game the system. They can eliminate bad reviews and replace them or bury them with good reviews. It all sounds good. Problem solved.
I say, let the buyer beware. These companies will not be liable for your “false reviews”. You are and will be responsible and there are legal penalties involved. These companies will fade into the darkness as your reviews are removed by new Google policies aiming to protect Google’s reputation for providing real reviews. Your 250 great reviews will disappear overnight.
These seem like severe penalties but are nothing compared to what false reviews will do to your reputation. One false review, revealed to the public… one review shown to have been made by a pressured customer, now recanting… destroys every review you have ever received.
They say it takes time to build trust, but only a moment to destroy it. And once destroyed, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to rebuild. Think about it. Is your reputation for sale?
When you do these things, you will not need to outsource your reputation to anyone.
Written by Tom Gorham
Editor, From The Trenches