In business, reputation is a currency that is not easily accumulated, and easily lost. It can make or break a business. Online, this is more true than ever, with social media acting as an amplifier you can quickly find your brand in the midst of a public relations nightmare. Anger the wrong customer, or ignore too many customer complaints and you may learn this lesson the hard way.
United Airlines learned this lesson when they failed to settle a claim for a guitar reportedly damaged by baggage handlers. Unfortunately for United, the customer was a talented musician with a flair for social media. He wrote a song, United Breaks Guitars, and posted it on YouTube. After just two weeks the video has been viewed over 2 million times. Similarly, Urban Outfitters has been on the receiving end of a viral complaint of stealing other people's designs. When the complaints went unheeded the complainers went public with Urban Counterfitters.com
Smart businesses know that they need to manage their PR and often have a person dedicated to responding to blog posts, and posting in forums to participate, spin, and hopefully mitigate any damage that can be done by negative online posts. They also know that customer service is an increasingly important front in the Public Relations battleground. Any customer can potentially take a complaint viral.
But social media is by no means a bad deal for all brands. Many companies have benefited from socially engaged customers who rave about their products online. Keep your customers delighted and you could benefit from the best kind of PR: free unsolicited customer reviews.
All of this is a round-about way to get to the point of this blog post, Alexa's Reviews. Many of you may remember a few years ago when Alexa had a vast database of website reviews... tens of thousands of reviews for thousands of different websites large and small. Alexa was a clearinghouse of sorts for customer rants and raves and was the destination of choice for Web surfers who wanted to express an opinion about an online brand. Sadly, for technical reasons the reviews were taken offline. But today I am thrilled to announce that they are back.
So what's new? First and foremost, all of the previous reviews are available on Alexa again. Take a look here at the reviews for ign.com. Secondly, you can now create accounts and log in to Alexa with an Alexa login or a Facebook login. Your reviews will all be aggregated under you account and you can click on the names of reviewers to see other reviews that they have written.
For companies large and small, Alexa is once again a necessary stop for all smart brands that know how to manage their online reputation. Whether you run a personal blog or you run a major online operation, Alexa can give you some insight into what your customers are saying about you after they hang up the phone. Are your customers acting as ambassadors of your brand or critics? The answer to that question can make all the difference between success and failure.
Are you listening?