There is a right time and a wrong time to try and influence customers’ opinion of your brand. The right time is when you have the customer on the phone or in the process of an interaction, when you have the opportunity to deliver superior service or go above and beyond to truly delight a customer. These customers take your positive brand experience and share it – with as many as 9 others, who may then tell their friends and family about the experience.
The wrong time to try and influence a customer about your brand is after the experience has taken place. Companies who try – and who rely on legal teams armed with cease-and-desist notices rather than positive marketing and outreach strategies – find customers less than receptive to giving back “control” of the brand.
Trying to hold on too tightly to how and when you “allow” the public to discuss your brand can quickly backfire.
One of the most powerful tools a company can harness today is that of public opinion. When a product or service is talked about publicly in a social media context, it allows consumers to share both positive and negative experiences – and this can lead to a temptation to “weed out” the bad and shine a glowing light on the good. However, company interference in this kind of open conversation lets consumers know you fear that you have something to hide.
Interestingly, some brands are so quick to shut down any public conversation that they inadvertently block positive feedback as well.
Trying to chase down customer experience and manage opinions after the fact is an exercise in futility, given the social nature of our world today, and legal crackdowns are far more likely to result in even more negative brand perception than simply responding to concerns with transparency and a genuine desire to help fix what went wrong in the first place.
Does your business have a policy for responding to negative customer feedback online? Tell us about it in the comments!