The other day, meeting with a new client, I learned that I have a rating as an attorney.
"You're rated almost as high as her," she said, of me and another lawyer in the city.
"I have a rating?" I asked.
Later, I looked up the rating, because I wasn't aware that I was the subject of any site -- at least not as far as my skills as a lawyer went. And it turned out to be a pretty good rating, but it shook me up a bit. I'm used to getting reviews for books, and comments on blogs -- but a rating for my ACTUAL JOB? That was a bit different.
Anyone can write a review of anyone online -- from sites like "Yelp" to the various websites that gather consumer complaints and discussions, and it can be hard to know what's being said, let alone what to do about it. I read stories all the time about businesses who are the subject of a negative review, and they sue, or file complaints, or otherwise flounder around trying to decide how to deal with the problem.
That's where a new book, Danny DeMichele's, Complaints, Reviews and Online Extortion, might be helpful. Available in an easy, downloadable form, DeMichele promises to teach business owners the ins and outs of online complaints, and how to deal with them -- in ways that you might not expect, such as offering online questions and answers and the like.
I think that's a helpful and great idea for a book. As I'm always pointing out, people who run a business are good at one thing -- that business. They are not necessarily good at another thing, and yet you have to be, because it's not enough to just be a lawyer, or bed-and-breakfast owner, or mechanic: you have to watch your reputation. Especially now. It used to be that one unhappy customer was considered to cost you 10 customers, but that was in the days when complaints were mostly word-of-mouth. What about now, when everyone googles everyone and one unhappy customer might get 100,000 hits on her complaint?
I plan on getting a copy of DeMichele's book, and anyone else who has a reputation to protect should consider it, too.