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Visible Criticism - Useful Tool or Silent Enemy of the Entrepreneur?
by Startacus Admin
Effectively any web based or tech startup is probably going to end up using a comment section somewhere on their pages, and most businesses today are engaging in social media outlets to further their business and communications. The question then arises, how beneficial are these public forums to businesses? If so, can they become toxic and ultimately ruin a business outlet? Let's take a look.
The first thing to remember; opinions are very different to Lamborghinis; everybody has an opinion. From the most enlightened, experienced and cultured individual to the people who think it’s the funniest thing in the world to spam posts with racist remarks, memes and general content that is in horrible taste, the unfortunate truth of the matter is this, the Internet granted the world an unprecedented freedom of speech. It’s unfortunate that people choose to exercise this freedom despite having nothing of value to add.
(For reference - check out any popular video on YouTube. The Comment sections are some of the funniest (and horrifying) things you may have the misfortune to read).
But ultimately this leads back entirely to a marketing standpoint. If people on your site see horrible comments and content posted, will they continue to use your service or purchase your product? Probably not.
Another side of the dice (there are more faces to this than a coin, hence the creative dice metaphor), if there isn’t any feedback at all, is that going to inspire customer confidence? Probably not.
This is the part where things get complicated; the balancing act.
One of the best things you can do is to make sure any public discussion of your products has a diverse mix of feedback, all the while making sure that the positive definitively outweighs the negative. Ideally there shouldn’t be negative but let’s face it, there’s no way to please absolutely everyone.
“Why would I leave negative feedback visible?” – Good question! The answer’s simple - to convince people of your customer service. By deleting it just means that you’re a dictator, whereas if you were to calmly address the issue, and promote yourself, you can improve the appearance of your customer service all the while proving to potential customers (who can see your response) that you’re not as bad as any feedback may indicate.
Comments and feedback are just opinion, and someone having a bad day whilst also having had a relatively mediocre experience with your company may absolutely SLAM you in a feedback setting. It’s your marketing and customer service teams’ role to control the damage. That isn’t to say however “Censor all of the bad things! We are the Masters of our craft!” Calm down Adolf. You’re a company run by fallible humans who can make mistakes! People need to be aware of this! People also need to be aware of the fact that you’ve learned from any mistakes and are seeking to build on it and ensure it won’t happen again. Too much of a good thing can be bad for business, showing that your service will only get better and better!
The only thing you need to monitor (and this is a definite NEED) is obscenity and something decimating to your company’s reputation. These are the things your team needs to take very seriously and handle with the utmost professionalism.
Ultimately however, this all comes under your marketing for your brand, This is Your venture and Your policy. It’s only fair that someone warn you before starting up, so you can be ready to deal with any eventualities that will come up from doing business online.
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