Reputation is more than ORM

There are no computer screens IRL

Ever have a client that had an immaculate SERP for their name but had a reputation problem anyway? Even when you add complaints to their name for a search? I had one, err well, the MD who volunteered at the clinic I worked at did.

I had just finished redesigning and rewriting the content on the site when I got the chance to attend a local non-profit meet up. I was hoping to connect with some individuals who sat on the board of some grant foundations when I had a few people approach me about the new site design of our clinic. I thought they wanted to know what I had used to build it, but they were more interested in the new section of the site I had created, “The Clinic Staff”.

This section of the site listed the names with corresponding photos of everyone the patients would see in the clinics. This list also included the volunteer medical staff. They asked how frequent a particular MD saw patients in the clinic and if we had heard any complaints about this person’s treatment of patients. I had not. They filled me in on what they had heard. It didn’t come across as “gossip” so much as it did concern. These particular individuals I was talking with had referred patients to us on a regular basis. Needless to say I was feeling a little uneasy leaving the meet up.

I got together with the clinic director to discuss what I had been told. She sighed and said it did make some sense. That MD saw the least amount of patients and had the most no-shows out of our other medical staff. She spoke with the clinic staff and found that some patients did in fact complain, but didn’t say anything to management.

The following actions took place:

  • The clinic director met with the board and shared with them what we had found out
  • The board then moved to have the MD work at another clinic to see if it was just that location in particular.
  • The location this MD left saw increased patient visits and a decrease in no shows. Staff morale also improved.
  • The new location did see an initial spike in visits, but this was followed by an increase in no shows which was then followed by a decrease in visits.
  • The board met again and the MD was asked to not participate in the volunteer cycle with our clinics

I wish I could go back with what I know now and do some research to see if anything was showing up online either for that MD’s name or for the clinic’s name. I had Google alerts setup to get notifications for our clinic, but never got anything negative. But just because nothing negative was showing up online didn’t mean the business wasn’t being impacted or viewed in a poor light.

ORM is funny like that. You can hire a company to help clean up your SERPs, but that isn’t going to get rid of your reputation problems. Don’t hide or pretend there isn’t an issue, face it and deal with it.

If something feels wrong, even just a bit it’s okay to investigate and figure out what’s going on. Don’t let a slightly disgruntled employee turn into someone that actively drives away potential clients. Get policies in place so that any complaint that comes in gets tended to and researched right away.

When clients visit your establishment or hear your sales pitch they aren’t looking at a computer screen with SERPs masking negative content; they’re interacting with you not a webpage.


  1. Nailed it. Reputation management isn’t just “control the SERPs so that you look good”. Reputation is the in the heart of every business transaction. To buy form you people must trust you.
    Thomas Ballantyne recently posted..How many spiders do you eat each year while sleeping? ZERO According to this exterminator.My Profile

    • avatarJosh says:

      And as someone that works for a pest control company I bet you’re glad insects haven’t learned to type…yet ;)

  2. … good spelling helps too.

    From you, not form you… darn fingers.

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