If you want the real scoop on what people think of your customer service, don’t bother asking the folks in your customer service department.
For a much more accurate look, do an online search for your company. You might be shocked at what you find. A recent story in the Washington Post said disgruntled customers are increasingly turning to blogs where they can publicly shame companies that have ripped them off, made them mad or refused to respond to their complaints.
- Last month, for example, AOL was chastised publicly after an angry customer recorded and posted online a service rep’s emphatic reluctance to cancel his service. Count the number of times the exasperated customer says “Cancel the account” in this recording.
- Comcast fired a technician after a video showed him asleep on a customer’s couch. The technician went to the customer’s house to replace a cable modem, called Comcast customer support, was put on hold for more than an hour, and eventually fell asleep.
- As for Wal-Mart, you don’t have to look far to hear people bad-mouthing the Number One retailer in the U.S. Do a search for “Wal-Mart + complaints + blog” and see what you find.
If you find something you don’t like, it might be time to swing into action. Crisis counselor Judy Hoffman teaches companies how to react to mud-slinging, lies and other nasty comments online and offline. She says bloggers are more dangerous than traditional journalists but there’s a powerful weapon you can use to silence them.
If a blogger starts complaining about something you’ve done, email the blogger and tell them you’d be glad to tell your side of the story. If they ignore you and keep bashing you, start your own blog, and post a message saying that you’ve offered to discuss your side of the story but that the blogger has refused to listen. If the blogger STILL persists, email them again and tell them that their comments are dangerously close to libel, which is reckless disregard for the truth. If they think a call from your attorney is next on your list, they might stop.
She also says that if you find someone is besmirching your good name, knowing how and when to respond is critical.
I interviewed Judy last year during a teleseminar called “What to do When Someone Damages Your Good Name.”