Blogging, social media and negative feedback

One of the things one has to contend with using social media, including blogs, is negative feedback. In fact, one client recently told the story about how their US principal had a bad experience where a negative feedback got magnified and this has caused the company to reconsider using Facebook. In fact, they’ve opted out because of the experience.

Some thoughts come to mind about this issue. First of all, let’s look at the positive side of this. Whilst before social media, and I include blogging here, bad feedback also existed. But, then if there was a customer who was unhappy with a product or service, he or she would have complained with his/her circle of friends. While this may seem that this would have been contained within the circle, that circle could also pass this feedback along their circles and so on.

And, you, as the business owner or manager, may not have heard back about it. So you probably never got a feedback directly (or indirectly, through some backdoor means).

The good thing is getting feedback, good or bad. Unless a person wrote in or phoned to complain about a bad product or service, you would never have learned about this in the past. So, there’s the positive side, getting feedback.

Now, let’s step back and consider the source of the negative feedback: a dissatisfied customer.

Let’s face it, the reason you exist as a business is your customer or client. No customer/client, no business. Customers are not only a source of income to any business but their reason for existence.

Now we consider their experience with your company. This can range from the glowingly positive to the downright unhappy or even disgusted.

Here we posit five customer categories as suggested by blogging specialist, Jeremy Wright.

Evangelists. These customers are super positive about your products or services. So much so that when your company name comes up even remotely in a conversation, this customer has to tell everyone around him/her about his positive experience with the company. Consider how satisfied Apple customers are so passionate about the product that you can’t even mention Microsoft to them. So, you get what I mean. It’s Apple only!

Regular Customers. These customers enjoy your product or service but may admit that it’s not exactly the best in the world. They buy your stuff because they see the value, or maybe you’re the cheapest or the about the only one they’ve found. And, they’re positive about your product/service.

Reluctant Customers. These customers have had negative or bad experience with your company. The experience may actually several bad ones. They may expect this to be the norm, but may sometimes find a pleasant experience on occasion and may leave that experience contented. But, generally these customers feel that they have to buy from you, for whatever reason, but not exactly out of loyalty.

Occasional Sufferers. These people don’t enjoy your product or service. They buy because they have to and only because they feel that they have to. A good example of this is someone who eats at fast food restaurants, who will not give positive feedback on the restaurant/s, but continue to patronize the restaurant/s when they feel they need to.

Saboteurs. These customers have had so many negative experiences or maybe just a few but these being so bad in their respective minds that they will to go to whatever ends they can to do harm to your company/business. And, the important thing to note is the word “harm”. And remember that these customers are really out to get you—at every chance possible.

It’s the last type of customer that can cause you the most harm. As their negative experience/s are so bad, they want to get even.

I will put up some more thoughts on how to deal with negativity, especially from the last type of customer on another blog post. Watch this space.


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