Managing reputation online is stirring up a lot of thought and is the subject of many conversations. Some businesses, those that service disgruntled consumers who purchase with a “grudge,” are afraid of social media. The fear factor lies in the what if — “what if someone writes a negative comment about our business or their buying experience?”
Yesterday’s Trackur post Gathering Business Intelligence from Online Listening by @FrankReed references the lowest-common denominator for companies as buzz branding — monitoring, listening, and quantifying online brand mentions. While the experts may believe it’s the lowest common denominator, I suggest otherwise. There are many companies not engaging in any social media, let alone monitoring the buzz.
Fear about a consumer posting a negative comment overrides the interest in testing the social media waters. So what if someone posts a negative comment on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, Complaints.com or elsewhere?
Here are some thoughts around this question; perhaps you’ll add to the discussion, too:
- Zero in on your fears about the potential for negative comments by consumers on the ‘Net.
- Is your house in order, and are your services top-notch? Do you regularly review the sales experience and pinpoint the pulse of front-line services?
- Is your management team apprised and trained about social media? How about the people who touch the customers?
- Regardless of whether you are engaging in social media, your customers have access to it and can complain without your knowledge.
- At the very least, do execute simple buzz branding and listen to the conversations about your company and competitors.
- Monitor consumer complaint Web sites; set up a Google alert for online mentions about your brand. Engage with Trackur.
- Be prepared to respond immediately to a negative complaint. With the right effort you will win over a customer long term.
Here’s a story I’d like to share…Yes to Carrots was a new brand of personal care products. I liked the clean packaging, the catchy name, and I love product. I purchased three different products at two places. Every product had packaging issues; the dispensers failed. My frustration with one was minimal, but having three malfunction caused me to take action. After I opened the third package and could not work the product, that’s when my emotions elevated.
I tweeted and Facebooked, and immediately got Facebook response from the company apologizing for the problem. The company went in to high gear and refunded my money, provided coupons and sent new samples of other products in the line. They took immediate action and did everything necessary to satisfy and assuage my negativity.
To those companies that elect not to respond at all to complaints or be in an ignorance-is-bliss mode…you’re digging a deeper hole.