I recently attended a presentation and the speaker was talking about how his company got popular.
He made reference to the fact that no publicity is bad publicity; love it or hate it, if you provide a URL, people are going to click to see what’s up. So why give people you hate the satisfaction of more and more free publicity? Just *don’t* talk about them.
Sure, if you get burned bad, tell your family and friends, but the worst thing you can do is post it on your blog, Facebook, and everywhere else. Let’s say you do – you go all out, post on your blog, wish them a speedy death, and so on. You’ll invariably get comments from supporters of said business saying the exact opposite.
I for example, got burned bad by a bank. Will I tell you which bank? No. I want them to die a slow, horrible death from lack of customers. But will that stop me from toasting their success with a box of powdered donuts from time to time? No. (Kudos to you if you get the joke and the reference.)
So what do you do if you’re on the other end? Maybe you work in customer service, maybe you own your own business.
The best thing to do is to never burn anyone. But given how jerk-ish most customers are, you just can’t help it. In that case, you have to hope that you have built up an army of satisfied customers who will speak on your behalf. The better your customer service, the harder you work to resolve customer issues, the more avenues you have to resolve the customer issues, and the more visible each of those avenues is, the better off you’ll be.
There are a number of tools you can use to accomplish this. Probably the most well known of these is Get Satisfaction. The best thing you can do as a 21st century company is to take control over your Get Satisfaction page. They also have a great blog, which describes 2009 as the year of customer feedback. The next best thing you can do is create a well-monitored forum or a blog where your users can post comments. Posting a link on your company’s website to the Better Business Bureau listing for your company (if your BBB isn’t online, you can scan in your rating and put it as a PDF on your site) will help you gain instant credibility.
It’ll get people talking. Hopefully positively – and if not, well, at least they’ll be talking. It sure beats silence!