Shut that door, your horse has bolted

Isn’t “managing your online reputation” somewhat shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted?

If someone’s so annoyed by your company or service that they want to give up some of their time to warn others about you online, it strikes me that you could have tried harder to stop it getting to that point in the first place.

Consider the following 2 scenarios…

1) One of your customers feels really let down by the service in your hotel. She tries to complain at the front desk but it’s busy and she feels awkward about complaining in front of a line of people. She had seen the customer service survey form in her room – but she didn’t have time to fill it in, plus it was anonymous.

Annoyed, disappointed and feeling foolish for having paid over the odds for a poor product, your customer hops onto TripAdvisor when she gets home and leaves a pretty venomous review which is picked up on websites, blogs and Twitter and retweeted around the world. By managing the internet community and monitoring the bad news about your hotel online you can fix it and make public amends.

But how much better would it be if it happened like this?

2) One of your customers feels really let down by the service in your hotel. She tries to complain at the front desk but it’s busy and she feels awkward about complaining in front of a line of people. Annoyed, disappointed and feeling foolish for having paid over the odds for a poor product your customer gets home to an email from you, the hotel manager, asking her to spare just a second of her time to hit one of four buttons to tell you how her experience was.

She hits a red button (seriously disappointed!) and you are able to call her the same day, and talk through her disappointments. You can make amends and send her some flowers to make up for the experience. You can tell her what you’re going to do about her bad experience and apologise for it. You keep her as a customer and have even succeeded in turning her into an advocate.

Doing it this way makes a lot more sense. Shut the door before the web 2.0 horse gets loose. It will almost certainly generate a more favourable review for you online – and it might even stop it getting that far…

To stop your horse bolting, why not sign up for a 10 day free trial of Customer Thermometer. It’s an outbound email feedback tool that lets your customers tell you how they feel in 2 seconds flat.