The Internet: Helpful Ombudsman or Creepy Big Brother?1 | 2 |
So what are corporations supposed to do? Following the traditional steps of good customer service would work in the blogosphere as effectively it works in a storefront. There shouldn’t be too many differences when dealing with an unhappy customer face-to-face vs. online. What is an appropriate response when encountering an unhappy customer? The most obvious answer is that corporations can listen and learn what made the experience terrible for the person reporting it. When corporations do respond to a complaint, they need to make sure that they can actually help the person.
“Sympathizing with someone will only get you so far,” Taylor said. If all you do is sympathize, it starts to look like you’re trying to buy time or are unsure how to respond. Because the entire world can see what you’re doing on the Internet, one must ensure the response is accurate.
“Above all else, when we respond to complaints in a public forum, as a company, we want to make sure we act professionally, courteously and reasonably at all times,” Taylor said.
Singh said he’s unsure whether companies should respond to complaints via public forums. “It really depends [on whether or not] they are able to solve the problem.”
If a company were simply defending itself and not solving the problem at hand, I would begin to feel annoyed and question whether or not to do business with it again. On the other hand, if a corporation genuinely tried to resolve the issue, I would appreciate the gesture and effort it put forth.
There are times when a company will lose a customer and cannot win him or her back. In such a situation, the company must learn why it lost the customer and whether it could have taken steps to avoid it. It’s also important to understand and accept the fact that a company cannot make everyone happy — and that’s OK. As long as a corporation is successful and the majority of customers are satisfied, that’s what counts in the end. There always will be that small percentage of people who just don’t agree with a company’s image, philosophy or leadership.
Today, both corporations and users try to discern what constitutes a helpful follow-up vs. an aggressive invasion. Only time will tell. The way we use the social networking tool will determine what’s regarded as acceptable in the future.
Aamir Lakhani is a security solutions architect for World Wide Technology. He specializes in information security, networking and cyber-counter intelligence and has more than 10 years of IT security experience. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org | 2 |