Online reputation: Absorb, redirect the slings, arrows

In this day of online review sites such as Glassdoor, Trip Advisor and Yelp, the internet has become one big forum for people to publicly complain about and, if you’re lucky, to compliment businesses.

In this day of online review sites such as Glassdoor, Trip Advisor and Yelp, the internet has become one big forum for people to publicly complain about and, if you’re lucky, to compliment businesses.

What should a company do? Ignore the comments? Make changes? Find out who made the comments?

The Consumer Review Freedom Act, which became law in December, affirms people’s right to post truthful negative reviews about a product or service provider, even if they signed an agreement that bans them from doing so in so-called gag orders.

While some companies may fear one-star reviews, they don’t have to be a death knell and instead may offer constructive criticism that, if followed, can help a company to change, experts say.

Sybil Stershic, president of Quality Service Marketing, said companies that have a good culture don’t have to worry about the occasional negative review on sites such as Glassdoor, where current and former employees anonymously provide information on everything from the culture of a company to salaries and benefits.

“Sometimes it doesn’t make sense if you respond defensively. It doesn’t come off well,” Stershic said.

But companies shouldn’t run away from complaints, she said.

“In customer service training, we talk about running to customer complaints, not away from them. Complaining customers give you the opportunity to save your business,” Stershic said.

“The worst situation is when a complaint doesn’t make it to top management because some managers are trying to protect the executive team and don’t want them to know what’s happening or thinking they’re doing a bad job.”

Online reviews have a measurable impact on business, said Denise Maiatico, who as vice president of Meyer Jabara Hotels Lehigh Valley, spends a lot of time reading and responding to reviews of its three hotels: Holiday Inn Conference Center in Fogelsville, Hyatt Place in Bethlehem and Courtyard by Marriott in Bethlehem Township

Wendy Solomon

LVB Business Events

Business Growth Symposium

Thursday, June 13, 2019
Business Growth Symposium

2019 Health Care Symposium

Thursday, August 01, 2019
2019 Health Care Symposium

2019 CFO of the Year Awards

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
2019 CFO of the Year Awards

2019 Fastest Growing Companies Awards

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
2019 Fastest Growing Companies Awards