I know you are all aware of how quickly word spreads these days. Through blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook, and rss feeds alone, it takes seconds to spread the word. When the word isn’t good, people are not shy about making sure they are heard. Now Google is changing its search engine algorithm to take into account complaints against your company – more on this in a sec.
Prior to utilizing social networking to spread the word, when home builders wouldn’t handle customer complaints and defects properly, disgruntled home buyers took to homemade websites. It wasn’t odd to search for certain builders by name and have www.buildernamesucks.com pop up right below the company website in the search results. Most of the complaints probably could have been knocked out by, you know, actually returning calls and treating people like people. Anyhow, home buyers understandably got mad and created sites where anyone who had a bad experience could spread the word. For the most part, it didn’t take long at all for the customer complaint sites to optimize on the search engines.
As you can imagine, sites like these are really tough on business and was a hard lesson for several builders. It’s hard enough handling objections in a very competitive market. Now, salespeople had and still have to overcome objections about quality issues that happened in northern California when they are trying to sell a home in Tampa. Today, it’s probably a bit different, not only can a peeved customer create or add to a website, they can take to their Twitter or Facebook accounts to spread word in second.
Now, just this week, in response to a story in the New York Times where a merchant actually told the paper that you can actually turn negative complaints into quality links back to your site, Google has changed it’s search algorithm. Per Google’s Amit Singhal, “I am here to tell you that being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google’s search results.” Singhal adds that they “developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience.”
So now a bad complaint can land on a forum, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and also effect your search engine ranking.
Again, as if you needed one, let this be another reason to satisfy your customers.