How to handle a negative online review

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Here’s an interesting video produced by Reachcast on how to handle customers who have posted a negative review online at sites like Yelp, Google maps, and other review sites.
Three major topics are discussed: 1. The Preparation before your respond, 2. The response itself, 3. Monitor and Follow up after the Response. A fourth step missing from the video is suggested.

Gary Vaynerchuk has written an excellent book called ‘The Thank You Economy’ where he talks about the value of organizations engaging in social media in today’s environment. As I read over his book, he has some important customer satisfaction messages as well. He talks about the ‘way it was’, how the age of the automobile changed everything, the customer service center problem, the internet further isolating customers and finally how consumers have revolted and using social media, have taken back power from business.

In many organizations, back office staff never get to speak to a customer, leading to problems with product features, usability, procedures,and maintainability . The authors of the book Rework talk about how they insist that back office workers spend some time on the front lines, several times during the year.

On Aug 26, 2010, Toyota announced two recalls affecting Corollas and Matrixes, one for engine stalling problems and one for the power brake issues. Customers are already outraged at the plans to deal with the power brake recall. These new recalls are negatively affecting Toyota’s Quality Reputation.

It appears that a standard is starting to form in the world of Social Media. Twitter seems to be the social media vehicle of choice for handling complaints, and squeaky wheels while Facebook is for cheery news, fans, and brand boosters. See specific corporate examples: AT&T, McDonalds, Microsoft and Vodaphone.

Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV fame, described an incident in his latest book: Crush it!: Why NOW is the time to Cash in your Passion that shows his commitment to customer service. While the individual incident likely lost him money, the culture he established in his organization was worth far more. Customer service in today’s web environment is very visible and creating the right customer service culture is even more important in order to improve or sustain high levels of customer satisfaction.

How Reputation Management firms work

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Reputation Management firms are often SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialists who move negative comments off the front page of search engines. Some of the techniques include, raising the rank of the sites below the negative entry by adding favorable comments, using social bookmarking such as Digg, Delicious and others. Creating new subdomain sites on your site also may add more positive entries to the front page of Google. It is far better to over deliver and under promise to prevent the need to use reputation management SEO techniques.

Toyota is working hard to on reputation management, trying to appease customers and restore customer satisfaction and loyalty. Despite this effort multiple law suits and class action suits have been launched against Toyota. There is a perception that the current fix being implemented is not the real solution, that there are lingering problem with the acceleration system (computer, electronic and mechanical), and the lack of a brake-to-idle failsafe, which brings the engine to idle when both the throttle is in the open position and the break pedal is depressed. There is also concern that Toyota failed to exercise its duty of warn’ customers of a defect in a timely manner. Toyota is the middle of a major reputation management nightmare.

Coca- Cola is launching new Social Media Guidelines which include how to handle situations dealing with customer satisfaction issues. In addition to guidelines, they have create two types of associates: those who will represent Coca-Cola on Social Media (spokespeople) and those who will add their eyes and ears to ensure management are aware of the sentiment surrounding the Coke Brand.

US Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping brought out new services being used by retailers who have embraced Twitter. Augmenting traditional customer questions and problems are new services such as where to find parking near the store, in store specials, up to the minute inventory in store, and more. Best Buy pilots Twelpforce – 2500 employees responding to customer questions.

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