It is being said that online reviews, testimonials, and comments submitted by customers on any of the online digital platforms are today’s social proof of acceptance or disappointment of a company. This is the new marketing channel that can either make a company successful, or put it out of business. Because of internet technologies and related functionality, such as instant messaging, what consumers may say today can travel virtually in an instant. This has never been made so easy to do before in the history of communications. The maturing Internet and the every-evolving web has brought web sites and free or inexpensive apps, such as social media communication platforms to a place where people around the world can engage in communications locally or globally. Also, once published, through easy-to-use software and with little or no technical knowledge, makes sharing effortlessly, very easy, and the internet will never, ever, forgot once posted. Many commercial organizations, as well as consumers, have been drawn to using the most popular reviews sites such as Yahoo!, Foursquare, Yelp, Google+, Healthgrades, and Angie’s List. Online reviews, testimonials, and comments are today's greatest influencer in attracting and retaining customers for all types of businesses today.
The problem is that many businesses today are not equipped or prepared for handling not only posting positive public announcements online, but do not find it easy to respond daily to the comments and inquiries made by customers or potential customers. Not to mention, monitoring and managing their online reputation. Online reputation management and crisis management has been proven to be very daunting and overwhelming for large companies, but even more so for the smaller ones, with lesser resources.
Self-made billionaire investor, Warren Buffet, has said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”