Archives Andy Beal

Duke takes another reputation hit after Professor posts racially-charged comments

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.10.27 AMA Duke University professor is in a lot of trouble with both his employer and his students, after leaving a racially-charged comment on a New York Times editorial.

The comment included use of “the blacks” and “the asians” which has caused another black eye for a university which only recently had to handle the outrage of a noose left hanging on campus.

While Professor Jerry Hough likely thought he had a right to share his personal comments on a news story, he didn’t take into consideration what just about everyone else with an internet device and an opinion has learned over the past few years:

“He represents the whole school in that one comment and that’s not a good image for the school,” said Duke student Virginue Marchand. “It’s really inappropriate.”

“You kind of want to be cautious, to make sure you don’t offend anyone,” said Duke student Xavi Ramos.

Both sound pieces of advice. Whenever you leave a comment online–whether on a post, in a tweet, or even an Instagram photo–you need to be careful no to offend anyone lest your actions soil the name of your employer.

Did Lenovo choose profit over reputation?

superfish-lenovoBy now, you’ve likely heard about the Superfish software that Lenovo decided to install on all consumer laptops late last year. The adware acts in a way that many say is both malicious and lacks security:

The adware works…by monitoring your web traffic while you’re shopping and then shows you similar products to the images that pop up in your browser. To do this while you’re securely connected to a website with an address beginning with https…Superfish intercepts traffic from the site and makes it searchable by tinkering with the Windows operating system and granting itself the ability to masquerade as any web site on the internet.

In other words, the kind of software you install anti-virus in order to prevent it from ever infecting your computer. So why did Lenovo install such junk on its computers?

While the official statement might try to convince us that Lenovo believed it would enhance the user experience, likely it all came down to money. Software companies such as Superfish generally pay computer manufacturers to install their software as default on new systems. Apparently, Lenovo wasn’t content to just make money off the sale of the hardware.

Unfortunately for the Chinese-owned company, the decision is now coming back to haunt it and executives are on major damage control–and already working on a solution to remove the software, having already halted it from being installed on new computers.

You would think that a company that already has to deal with conspiracy theories which suggest a Chinese computer manufacturer can’t be trusted, and is likely spying on us, would know better. While hindsight is 20/20, Lenovo has at least identified that this bone-headed decision has left a huge question mark over its reputation.

Lenovo’s chief technology officer, Peter Hortensius, acknowledged that “our reputation is everything and our products are ultimately how we have our reputation.”

The lesson here? Don’t make a decision that will make a quick buck at the expense of your long-term reputation.


A great idea to increase online reviews…

…ask for them!

It really is that simple. In Repped I explain the importance of funneling your customers to the review site that will benefit you the most. That’s exactly what The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale does, with this card prominently displayed on the front desk:

The Saguaro Review Card

You’ll notice a handful of brilliant elements to this card:

  1. The sentiment is all positive: love, joy, and thanks.
  2. They invite you to share your review online–they don’t try to qualify that by only asking for positive reviews.
  3. They guide you to the review sites that benefit them the most.
  4. Lastly, they offer you a 15% discount off your next stay (which you appear to get whether you write a review or not).

Is it working? I’d say so!

The Saguaro Google Reviews
The Saguaro TripAdvisor


Comcast is leading the way in “Customer (Dis)Service”

Comcast Ahole billCovering a reputation mishap at Comcast is a little bit like reporting on the sun rising. It happens practically every day. However, the latest incident takes Comcast to an all new low:

Lisa Brown, a volunteer for a missions organization in Spokane, Wash., contacted me yesterday because of a billing problem with Comcast, her local cable provider. The issue? The name on their bill had been changed from her husband’s name, Ricardo, to “Asshole” Brown.

Apparently their customer retention specialist didn’t like the fact that he couldn’t stop her from canceling her service, so took revenge on her bill.

Of course, Comcast has apologized and promised an investigation, but so what? When something is rotten at the core, you’ll continue to have poorly trained employees and lax customer service standards.

Surely Comcast has some great customer service people that work for it. Find them, interview them, learn from them, and weed out the ones that simply don’t care.

And, in the meantime, our operators are standing by to help Comcast with its reputation. 😉