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gpilling

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4088433 posted 4:11 pm on Feb 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have a site that sells vehicle widget accessories - we have shipped over 5000 orders in the last 3 years. Every 3 or 4 months we get that customer that is a pain in the rear, an unreasonable unhappy camper that can't be satisfied. Occasionally these folks inspire us to tighten our policies to eliminate dealing with them, or their issue. Sometimes there is no fixing the situation and I just try to deal with it as best I can.

We had a customer with a tiny amount of non-critical damage on his part - a minuscule scratch on an area that gets scratched in the first few minutes of use. He dealt with me for his order and for his customer service (I am the owner of the business) and ultimately received about 25% discount on the order for this 1/2" scratch that will be covered by other scratches in the first hour of use. Total time was a few days while we worked out the issue with the manufacturer. The customer seemed content with this on the phone.

My issue is not that the customer was an unbearable boor, nor that we lost money on the deal. My issue is that the customer proceeded to post a 1-star review on insiderpages.com (his right to be unhappy with us) that comprised of bald-faced lies about the experience. He stated that neither the website owner or managers would talk to him (not true) and that we did nothing to help him (also not true) and that it took months to get (2 weeks) and was unusable (he installed the product the first day, even with the tiny scratch).

I have encouraged my customers to post positive reviews to counteract this, and they have. We have gone from 1 star to a 4 star rating. Does anyone have any other suggestions for improving this situation?

 

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4088433 posted 11:37 am on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Online reputation management can be tough, and often the sites that solicit negative comments have strong organic rankings.

For an untruthful report on any site, the first thing you should do is see if the site offers some kind of removal or correction mechanism. While some times you may be in a "his word against your word" situation, at other times you may be able to document the truth with proof of delivery notifications, photos of damaged returns, etc.

Certainly, enlisting the help of your customers is a good approach. While it might be tempting to add posts from you or your employees, I don't advise this. If you are exposed, the damage will be far worse.

If the negative commentary is ranking for your name or keywords, try to push up some other more benign content to make the bad stuff less visible.

Good luck, gpilling!

artefaqs

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4088433 posted 12:54 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Any site that doesn't offer a mechanism for the retailer to respond to specific complaints is flawed. It does a disservice both to the business being reviewed, and also to those who rely on the site for reviews. How else do the users filter out the notjobs from the genuinely aggrieved?

I use Google Checkout for my credit card processing. After several years of taking orders I accidentally noticed that there is a "review" section. Apparently Google asks people who use its service to rate my business. I had no idea (so much for reading the fine print).

In amongst the dozens of four- and five-star reviews were about three one-stars from the usual type of nutjob snowwflake griefers. Reading their reviews would make you think horrible things about my company. But Google offers a place where business owners can respond, and so I went into my archive and pasted in the actual customer service responses these people got from my company. Now instead of my company looking bad, they look bad for taking basic facts and spinning them into webs of lies.

I know this doesn't help you out much, but maybe the fact that the web site in question doesn't offer a response mechanism is a sign it won't be around long (I'd never heard of insiderpages until this thread).

I think the only thing you can do is to ask the owners of the web site (assuming you can get in touch with them) to offer space for rebuttals in the interest of fairness.

Even if what your angry former customer wrote rises to the level of requiring legal action, remember that the web site is not responsible for what the person wrote (if it's an American site), and you won't win a lawsuit over this.

I think you're just going to have to ignore this user and his review. The internet is a big place. The chances of someone hitting this review before purchasing your products are probably pretty slim.

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