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 Importance of Online Customer Service and Reputation Management

Friday, June 11th, 2010

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Whether you are at an established company or at a startup the pressure on you as a marketer to deliver is immense.  To make matters more challenging it is likely that your marketing budget has been cut.  Every dollar you spend is questioned for ROI and in most meetings you are asked about developments in social networking, customer service and online reputation management because it is in the press and tantalizingly promises high return at low cost.

Whatever category your business is in, online customer service and reputation management are marketing tactics you should be employing that compliment almost any brand at very little cost.

Customer Service

In today’s economy no single thing matters as much for your sales and loyalty as building a great customer service brand.  This is an area of marketing often overlooked or muddled with expensive and hard to use tools.   If you are even aware of your customer service problem it is likely you first came across it the way most consumers do by finding a review about your company online on a search engine.

Online reviews are here to stay and many current and potential customers use internet search engines to help guide their online research in deciding where to buy.  You can leverage the world of online consumer reviews in your favor and often have more impact on thousands of active consumers’ purchasing intent then the best TV commercial.

Whether you have a large customer service department or none at all, already have a good customer service reputation or need to build one, many new online customer service tools exist today that are often free or low cost.

What You Can Do Now to Improve Customer Service and Reputation

Start asking your top customers to review you on customer service sites like or  By confidently asking top customers for customer service reviews you will have dozens of complimentary reviews of your company online in no time.   These will negate most bad reviews, increase your ranking on search engines and help interested potential customers to find and trust you when researching online.  The goal is not to have only good reviews as even the best companies have some bad reviews about them online.  The goal is to have a balance and to demonstrate through association that your brand is focused on improving customer service.

Online Comments

Individuals are talking about you on the Internet whether you like it or not.  On thousands of personal sites, as well as Facebook and Twitter, content that mentions you or a competitor is constantly being added.  You need to join this conversation even if you can’t control it.

What You Can Do Now to Respond to Online Comments

Identify a person on your staff to spend about 5 hours a week searching for unflattering reviews or mentions about your company or articles about something that is relevant to your business.  When there is a comment field have them write some intelligent and helpful content in response.  State that they are an employee of the company and include a URL to your site.  Do not try and pretend to be a consumer as this will likely be found out and create further uncomplimentary content.  This effort will help rebut negative views, show your company cares about its reputation and will help drive traffic to your company website.  If you come across compliments add on a quick “Thank You” comment and that you care about your reputation and appreciate the support of customers.

This tactic is focused totally on trolling Facebook, Twitter and Blogs to “invite” connections with current and potential customers.  This is a hard position to measure effectiveness on but you have to consider this proactive marketing.  The opportunity cost saved is that you don’t have uncontrolled rumors online.  Many PR firms are starting to offer this service but the fact is they don’t really get it and won’t be able to react as quickly as someone in your company culture who understands your brand.

With these two easy and inexpensive marketing tactics you can quickly augment your existing marketing efforts and start to raise your company’s social media presence, customer service and online profile while helping increase sales and build online reputation.

These tactics should be factored into your budget as the cost of doing business if you want to compete in today’s interconnected digital world.

About the author: Marc Karasu is a senior marketing executive and digital marketing expert with 20 years experience.  He is also the founder of, the leader in online customer service and reputation management. He can be reached at or his marketing consulting website

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Thursday, June 10th, 2010

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 Manage Your Online Reputation

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

MeasuredUp featured in article about Customer Service.

Your customers are likely talking about you online. One disgruntled customer can sway your online reputation and the way your company appears on search engine results.

Proactively manage your online reputation and engage good customers to write online reviews on your website by offering discounts, use counter card instore reminders that you value customer service and reach out to authors of unflattering reviews. New good reviews will help counter bad ones and improve your online reputation.

Thanks to: Marc Karasu of
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 Marchex Builds On Small Business Marketing Leadership through Multi-year Relationship with Dow Jones Local Media Group to Sell Reputation Management Product; Adds Four New Content Sources

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

June 09, 2010 09:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time 

New partner to sell Marchex Reputation Management to local business customers; Marchex to receive unique content, increase local business listings data footprint to nearly half-a-billion items

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Marchex, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHX), a call advertising and small business marketing company, today announced that it has entered into a relationship with Dow Jones Local Media Group, a Dow Jones company focused on publishing information for local communities. The relationship involves two key elements:

“Companies must be able to ensure the information about them in the digital world is accurate. And they need a product that provides them with an intelligent, dynamic feedback loop so they can be up-to-date regarding customer feedback from reviews, blog mentions and across social media.”

(1) Marchex will provide Dow Jones Local Media Group with a private-labeled version of the Marchex Reputation Management product, which it will sell to its small business customers on a monthly subscription basis and/or bundled with other Dow Jones Local Media Group product offerings; and
(2) Marchex will continue to receive unique content and information from Dow Jones Local Media Group as well as from other new content partners, including CitySquares, Joy of Spa and Measured Up, for inclusion in Marchex Reputation Management, which will benefit users by broadening the local business listing meta-data footprint of the product to nearly half-a-billion items (e.g., user reviews, listings, mentions on blogs and social media).

“Reputation management is a critical tool to help small businesses be more efficient and competitive in business. We strive to offer our advertisers the most cutting-edge and effective solutions for their needs, and as the market leader, Marchex Reputation Management fits that bill,” said Patrick Mullen, product manager for interactive marketing services at Dow Jones Local Media Group. “Companies must be able to ensure the information about them in the digital world is accurate. And they need a product that provides them with an intelligent, dynamic feedback loop so they can be up-to-date regarding customer feedback from reviews, blog mentions and across social media.”

As user-generated reviews continue to become more prevalent with consumers, local businesses are seeking ways to leverage this opportunity to ensure their online reputations are both preserved and enhanced. Marchex’s Reputation Management product enables small businesses to easily understand, manage and improve their online reputation, allowing them to expand product offerings, build loyalty with customers and generate more revenue.

Reputation Management Market:

According to a new BIA/Kelsey local advertising forecast, the E-mail, Reputation and Presence Management (ERPM) category is expected to grow from $460 million in 2008 to $3.1 billion in 2013. Additionally, the number of SMBs using ERPM will increase from approximately 500,000 to nearly 4 million during the forecast period.

Marchex Reputation Management Product

Marchex Reputation Management is the first major extension of Marchex’s small business marketing products, expanding the Marchex footprint beyond full-service search engine marketing to include comprehensive sentiment analytics.

Marchex Reputation Management was built using proprietary local search technology. Covering more than 8,000 sources and containing nearly half-a-billion pieces of local business listings meta-data, the product monitors and reports on a specific business’ online footprint, including its user reviews and news, blog and social media mentions and activities, providing small businesses with an unparalleled information advantage and a 360-degree view of customer sentiment and industry trends. Key product features include:

  • Alerts: E-mail alerts allow business customers to be notified when online information about their company—or competition—is added or changed.
  • Broadcast: Business customers can share positive news and reviews with customers and employees through a variety of sources, including email, Digg, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Competitive Marketing Analysis: Business customers can compare themselves to other local businesses in a variety of ways while including different measures, applying graphs and easy-to-grasp visuals.
  • Reviews and Mentions: Information is provided on positive and negative sentiment from customer reviews, as well as intelligence on sentiment trends.
  • Search Keyword Identification: Top terms and phrases from consumer reviews are identified to differentiate the business.

“For a small business, time is at a huge premium. This reputation management product provides an easy, quick way to find out what people are saying about my company without having to click through to a dozen or more different sites,” said Craig Abplanalp, vice president of Seattle-based custom home theater and audio firm, Definitive Audio. “There’s one dashboard, so you don’t have to do a lot of work to find out the good, the bad and the ugly, and in turn to decide what to do about it from a business perspective.”

“Understanding the digital footprint and customer sentiment is a critical component of local advertising that businesses cannot afford to ignore,” said Brooks McMahon, senior vice president of small business marketing products at Marchex. “Our Reputation Management product gives businesses the opportunity to efficiently monitor these elements and the intelligence to help them prioritize customer-focused activities and marketing efforts to grow their business.”Marche

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