Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Managing Negative Comments

When I give introductory talks in Singapore, the #1 question that everyone asks is "How do you manage negative feedback?" My answer, "People are already doing it now, its just that you may not be aware of it. To manage negative feedback, you need to be transparent and engage truthfully to resolve the problem. Find out exactly what happened, and FIX IT!"

Usually after some discussions, people generally agree that with or without their participation on social media, negative comments about their businesses is going to happen. However today, there is generally a lot of interest in getting on social media as many companies see it as another form of PR or advertising.

After more than a year of talks, classes and consulting, I've revisited some of these companies, and most of them have some form of Facebook / Twitter / Blog. I would congratulate them for taking action, but my pride for them was short lived as many of them can't seem to deal with negative feedback and practice, "Selective Censors."

I would not blame them as they probably just followed what the government does. In the article by SMU "Managing social media: An exercise in managing organisations" The government is seen keen to engage on social media, but deletes all negative feedback and comments. This was documented on a couple of blogs and word quickly spread over the selective deletion of comments, which led to accusations that the constituency did not care for negative feedback.

On the hand, many big brands actually embrace the negative feedbacks and comments and in return they do become a stronger brand as they are seen as respecting feedback and responding to comments. Gap is a good example, as recently, Gap change their logo and there was a large amounts of people who hated their logo. And as a result, they actually changed their logo -- AGAIN!

Gap Logo Disaster – Could Social Media Save The Day?

The Gap had a very bad situation at the start of the week and they probably all had some sleepless night after the logo they thought was the future was derided all over the web. Rather than sitting back and ignoring the critisism through The Gap have stepped up to the plate and used social media to try and fix their problems. If they are really smart they will turn this negative in to a huge positive and involve all their customers in the process of finding the new logo. They will say that yes we were wrong and open the competition up to people all over the world. Imagine the good will and buzz The Gap would create by having an open logo competition. This example just goes to show that no matter how bad things are and how much abuse you are getting online there is always a fix and if you listen to what people are saying and engage with them there is always a way out of the online disaster. I think The Gap seem smart and fairly clued in and will probably end up coming out of this pretty well.

I wonder if it is Asian culture to be defensive and never admit a mistake? I still strongly feel that one can definitely crowd source for ideas and leverage on the network, and engaging fans and supporters with social media should be the way to go when using social media, and build up a strong brand.

-- Robin Low

No comments:

Post a Comment