I was travelling to work last Monday and heard on the radio an advert for a company which promised to safeguard "your company's online reputation", I must confess that it got me thinking.
Feedback - of any nature - if vital for a company. We need to know what we are doing right and also what we are doing wrong in order that we can stop doing it.
However, there are so many avenues for people to leave feedback, sometimes it's difficult to keep up with it all - social media, company websites, online directories, etc, etc. The chances of picking up all comments is reasonably remote.
So what happens when negative feedback is left and how do we deal with it? What happens when that feedback is from someone who can't be placated? What happens if that feedback isn't wholly accurate? What if it's libelous?
Worst case scenario here is that the company you work for, which you strive to ensure operates in a manner which puts customer service right at the top of the pile when it comes to commitments - looks like a disaster.
In an era of online reviews, the days of one-to-one resolution are gone - but also missing is the other side of the story sometimes.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote* "you can't please all of the people all of the time". He also wrote "half a truth is often a great lie".
What if the client was totally unreasonable? What if they were rude to your staff? What if they didn't pay for months? Where is the right of reply for your company? Does it look petty to comment on feedback left?
It's often difficult to know which way to turn in situations like this - but we believe we've found a solution to the issue.
It's called the Honest and Fairness test - the "look in the mirror" test if you will.
If we can't really dispute what has been written, then we have to accept it, move on and make sure that we don't make that mistake again.
If we can dispute what's been written then we'll reply to the criticism offering our point of view and hopefully the problem can be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
Whilst it's great that these companies who promise to look after your "social media reputation" have managed to find a niche in the market, surely it should be YOU who performs this task for your company.
After all, who has the most to lose?