With the rise of social media, the blogosphere, and Web sites that post customer reviews, organizations who fail to monitor these channels risk losing business.
Too many organizations still feel that, if they can’t control the conversation, then they don’t want to be a part of it. “If we set up a company blog, what do we do if a customer makes a bad comment about us?”
Well, you respond to it, so that you can, as the immortal philosopher Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife used to say, “Nip it! You’ve got to nip it in the bud!”
Case in point #1: In December 2005 I blogged about an abysmal experience at JC Penneys. More than three years later that one post is averaging 200-500 unique visitors a month. When irate customers search for “Customer Service JC Penneys” they’re being led to my three-year old post. It’s the third one on the first page. Every month I receive e-mails from irate customers thinking I work for Penneys. If JC Penney had a blog, they might recover many of those customers.
Case in point #2: In January we bought a new dishwasher. We went to consumerreports.org and looked at the top rated dishwasher, a Sears Kenmore. But the customer reviews on that dishwasher were by and large negative. Based on comments from friends, we expanded our search to include a particular Bosch model. While not as highly ranked by Consumer Reports, the customer reviews were much more positive. That’s the one we chose.
If I were running a business, I’d be monitoring the blogosphere, and various social media platforms especially Twitter. I’d have a blog on my Web site with tips on product knowledge, and suggestions on accessories that customers might find useful.
I would also be monitoring customer reviews and would be responding to them on that company blog.
“But Glenn, we don’t have the resources to do that!” Look, hire a couple of interns to monitor the conversation. Or have new managers do it as part of their executive training.
If you don’t figure out a way to participate in the discussion, it will still take place without you. And your defenders will be few and far between.