How Google can make or break corporate reputation

March 11, 2010

On inspecting the stats for my blog today, I discovered an amazing fact – and one which lays testimony to the power of Google and other search engines in making and breaking the reputations of corporates, businesses and individuals online.

As you may or may not know, 5 weeks ago I wrote about how Kwik Fit delivered potentially life-threatening work on my car. I wrote about this experience here, and gave Kwik Fit customers the opportunity to also comment on their experiences of Kwik Fit.

The comments that followed were a damning condemnation of Kwik Fit, its senior management, and their unsavoury customer service practices. Obviously, I gave Kwik Fit the opportunity to set the record straight and do the right thing. Their response was to try and get their consumer PR to discredit the story with the Press. Needless to say, the story has along way to go before being resolved to my satisfaction.

However, what has come from the whole episode – apart from the book I am drafting currently on reputation – is the surprising results online via search engines such as Google.

On closer inspection of my blog stats today, it appears that nearly 43% of all search engine traffic found the blog by searching the phrase ‘Kwik Fit’ where they would have been taken to the ‘death trap car’ story I posted. Not a good message on their business.

This got me thinking further about corporate reputation online. If you can’t control what is being said about you, your business and your brand on the internet, how do you limit, curtail, and prevent negative comment being widely seen online by potential customers?

Simple answer – treat your customers well, and they’ll treat you well back. And for today’s revelation? Google, I salute you.

For the record, the Kwik Fit post has consistently taken 100+ hits per day since first posting on 02 February – which means that up to now, Kwik Fit has lost a potential 3,200 customers who’ve read the blog post.

The issue of online reputation will be fully explored in the forthcoming book – with specific reference to Kwik Fit, of course.

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