What is the value of a happy customer? Is it more or less than a dissatisfied customer?
Social media has trained customer service teams to be hyper-sensitive to online negativity, possibly alienating and discouraging online positivity. Online monitoring software allows for the identification of both positive and negative sentiment in online conversations, yet negativity is given the lion’s share of attention by customer service agents trained to rectify unsatisfactory experiences. “Reputation management” has become a growth industry with public relations and marketing firms jumping in with monitoring and engagement services.
Have we forgotten the business value of positivity and public praise? A recent experience with Delta Airlines brought this notion back to the forefront for me. I Tweeted @DeltaAssist while boarding a flight en route to Orlando this past week, praising them for an outstanding customer experience, which went unanswered. In the previous few weeks however, my Tweets complaining of poor customer experiences with various aspects of their service were replied to in minutes. Below is a video blog of my experience and thoughts on this.
I’ve often stated that there is great value in online negativity about a brand if that brand proactively manages those conversations. It provides the business an opportunity to show the world that when things go wrong, it cares enough to listen and take the appropriate steps to rectify the situation. Some of the greatest brand ambassadors are those whose negative experiences were addressed and rectified by sincere customer service agents.
There is also great value in terms of social proof and brand advocacy when customers’ online positivity is recognized, shared and even rewarded. We don’t like to admit it, but like pets, as consumers we’re trainable. Give us a treat for certain behavior and we’re eager to replicate that behavior. Today, businesses are offering more treats (acknowledgements, apologies and resolutions) to those of us that complain online than those offering praise.
Join the debate. Has the pendulum swung too far? Are brands rewarding – maybe even encouraging – online negativity by rewarding such behavior with more attention than that given to online praise?
Social Media, Happy Customers and Missed Opportunities
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego