Straw, Sticks, or Bricks…What is Your House Made Of?

When the big bad wolf, better known as online reviews, comes knocking at your door, how solid is your community’s reputation?  Think back to the children’s bedtime story, The Three Little Pigs. Each pig decided to leave home and seek their fortunes.  Before leaving, their mother told them, “Whatever you do, do it the best that you can because that is the way to get along in the world.”

The first pig decided to build its house of straw, because it was the easiest, leaving him more time to play. Is your community built of straw?  Are you doing just enough to get by? Residents living at a straw community may feel as though all they are to you is an apartment number and a monthly check. Walking into your office, they may be second in priority to prospects, a ringing telephone, or even a conversation among co-workers. Straw communities are defenseless to the big bad wolf because cutting corners and indifferent service are surefire triggers for negative reviews.

The second pig built its house of sticks. While stronger than the straw, this material had its own shortcomings. The second pig chose sticks because he could fashion a sturdy structure quickly and still have the rest of the day to play. Stick communities have great intentions when it comes to their residents however, consistency and longevity are often a challenges. By not providing a stellar level of service day in and day out, the big bad wolf has no problem lurking outside your door, waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

This brings me to the third little pig. While its brothers teased him because of the playtime he was missing, this pig never wavered in his quest to build a solid structure. The third pig had a “one and done” mentality. Building his house correctly the first time and preparing for the unforeseen proved to be beneficial for this little pig. The wolf tries to blow the house down and when that doesn’t work, the wolf decides to climb to the roof and enter the house through the chimney.  Oh but the third little pig, always prepared for the unforeseen, had a huge kettle of boiling water to meet the wolf as he came down the chimney, putting an end to the big bad wolf.

Brick communities, although resilient, are not immune to the big bad wolf. The wolf knows the community is strong and well-built, but can’t resist trying to take a shot at its reputation. Knowing that a strong online reputation begins with a first-rate onsite experience, brick communities put forth the effort to make the most of every resident interaction. They sacrifice the easy to make residents top priority on a daily basis. And when the wolf does try to get it, they are prepared with a ready response. 

Protecting your community’s online reputation starts with having the right attitude (work hard, build it right, prepare for anything) along with facing the negative head on with a counter attack. As the mother of the three little pigs said in the beginning of the story, “Whatever you do, do it the best that you can because that is the way to get along in the world.”  Straw, sticks or bricks…who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? 

Lia Nichole Smith is the Vice President of Education and Consulting for SatisFacts Research, a division of Internet Brands.