Op-Ed: You’re Only as Good as Your Worst Interaction

Managing your reputation on social media is an integral part of any comprehensive social business strategy.

reputation on social mediaIf you are not paying attention to the perception of your brand by audiences, then you are forgetting about one of the most important features that makes a social business successful. The management of your reputation on social media is a living organism, and you need to pay it regular attention.

One of the realities of doing business is that the larger we grow, the more likely we are to encounter that individual that doesn’t like our product, our service, or simply has a bad experience. And what happens then? Well, a recent study by ZenDesk shows that 95% of customers who have a bad experience tell someone about it, compared to 87% who shared a good experience. Maybe we just like to tell others about our suffering, but the fact remains that you can be sure that a customer who has a poor experience with your company is going to go out there and tell the world. And it is now much easier than ever before.

And so we come to the title of this article: your brand is only as good as your worst public interaction. What did an angry customer have to say about your brand? How did you handle it? Your reputation on social media – on every platform from Facebook to Yelp! – is going to be affected in a much greater way by how you handle your unhappy customers than how you handle the satisfied ones.

The Intelligent Traveler

Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Let’s say you are planning a trip and you are considering staying at one of two hotels. Assume the prices and amenities are all the same. Well, if you are like 65% of online travellers, then seeing a management’s response to comments on a social channel like TripAdvisor would sway you to book with the responding hotel. (Google, January, 2013)

People like the idea of accountability, and when you avoid dealing with issues head on, you are hurting your reputation on social media. Owning up to your brand’s mistakes, and showing people that you are taking strides to both remedy situations as they arise and prevent them from ever occurring again goes a very long way.

Nobody Cares What You Did Right

When you are buying a product on eBay, and you see that a seller has a rating of 99% from 100 buyers, are you going to care about the 99 people that said, “Great job! Fast delivery! Recommend seller!”? Or would you be more concerned with finding that one comment that reads, “Item was not as described. Seller did not respond to questions. Would not recommend.”? Probably the second one.

You can do something right a thousand times, but that one time that things go wrong, people will remember it. It is here that you need to shine. It is easy to handle happy customers. How you handle unhappy customers on public forums is what is going to influence future buyers.

The Ostrich Never Dealt with Social Media

Burying your head in the sand while people speak out against your service or brand might have worked back in the days of phone and mail. But now, when people can reach out to networks of thousands, you had better be ready to respond. Clearly, ostriches never had to deal with issues on social media.

Have a plan in place for every plausible scenario. You need to know the Dos and Do Nots for handling crises and unhappy customers before you have to deal with crises and unhappy customers. The last thing you want to do is learn from your mistakes when your mistakes have already resulted in consumers making up their minds. Read up and do the research on the mistakes of others and devise strategies for managing your reputation on social media from these.

It might not be an ideal situation, but the fact is that your brand is only as good as it’s worst interaction on social media. This is where people are going to do their research; consumers trust each other, not your brand. But you can change that by properly managing your brand’s reputation on social media!

Find out more about becoming a social business and managing your reputation on social media here.

Do you research products and services on social channels before making a decision? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!

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