In reading “Venting Online, Consumers Can Find Themselves in Court” it quickly became apparent that some companies are better adjusting to what the internet can do than others.
Rather than trying to delete these criticisms, companies should come right out and give their side of the story. They need to monitor their reputation or they will suffer the consequences.
It comes down to what Gary Vaynerchuck has been saying for years. He said it again recently at the Gov 2.0 Expo in reference to political candidates, but it applies just the same to business: “Word of mouth is on steroids now. Things travel, and there is absolutely no hiding.”
In the days prior to “Web 2.0” and social networks, if a company gave you poor (or excellent) service how many people could you really tell? You probably could tell everyone that you knew, but you weren’t just going to bring it up out of the blue, you certainly weren’t going to pick up the phone and call them to tell them about it. You would never tell strangers on the street.
But now, every one of us is a single Facebook status or tweet away from telling hundreds, thousands, even millions of people how we were treated.
Product reviews are now open to everyone, especially teenagers. Where a few years ago teens probably wouldn’t write a letter to the editor if a business screwed them over, they can have just a big as an impact as adults can—probably even more because they’re likely to have more friends or followers.
For years business could get away with poor practices or unfriendliness and even if some people stopped using the service not much effect would take place. That era is over; if a customer leaves they’re taking their friends with them. Maybe a business could survive that, but when their friend’s friends and their friends start leaving… somebody’s got a problem.