The days of firing off a letter to the VP of Whatever at XYZ Company because of their bad service are most definitely over. You have to suspect that all those letters got “black-holed” anyway, right? Oh sure, you might get a coupon every now and then and a form letter but that was only because 1 out of every 5 complaints would get something for their trouble.
Well, those days are LONG gone. Now when you stink at what you do, even if it’s just once, everyone gets the chance to hear about it – immediately. One of the most underrated yet powerful aspects of the internet for business is the fact that companies can no longer hide. When things don’t work as expected people complain and if the person who complains has an audience well you better get the customer service team beefed up.
Here’s a great example. The social media craze has a new darling called Twitter. You get 160 or so characters at a clip to tell all of your “followers” what you are up to, what you are thinking or whatever. It’s instant messaging on steroids. Sounds interesting right? Well, one of the most influential proponents of the service, Andy Beal, has taken umbrage (nice word, huh?) with the inconsistency of Twitter’s server availability. In his latest blast at Twitter and some of its lesser cousins, the headline of his post on Marketing Pilgrim from June 9, 2008 says it all “Plurk Joins Twitter and Pownce on Train to Sucksville”.
Man, what might be said by someone who DOESN’T like the service on a good day? Ouch. Andy has about 10,000 regular readers that will see that and have that message branded into their collective minds. Bad day to be Twitter, Pownce or Plurk, huh?
Now imagine something goes wrong with your company and someone decides to tell the world. There could be a permanent record, so to speak, of your misstep on the internet. That one post or forum entry could cost you a major sale if someone did some digging and found the negative information about you. What do you do then? Stop by tomorrow for some options that will help you manage your corporate image that is out there for the whole world to see….all the time.
SMB Takeaway – Reputations online are fragile at best. They can change rapidly. Be aware of what is being said about you and work to keep the opportunities for complaints to a minimum.
Thanks and have a great day!