Let’s face it. It can be highly damaging. When someone attacks you online, that is. Whether it be slander, petty and unjustified comments, bad reviews and so on…People are still prone to doing stupid things online, without thought and all it does is feed their own egos and leave a negative trail for BOTH parties.
There are hundreds of great folk out there trying to support and grow their companies, brands, products and personal careers but there are still a lack of education, direction and the tools in place to guide them into using their online sources in a positive manner. There is nothing worse than reading a negative post, reply or email on something you have offered out. Ok, if the food was dyer and you got food poisoning, then do complain, by all means, but do it in the right way.
First? Give the restaurant a chance to make it right, if you are still not happy, then feel free to write an honest and fair review. Remember, how you complain says alot about who you are. One muse in this whole process is Ebay. They do it right. You can’t just leave negative feedback without reasoning with the buyer/seller first and following their complaints policy through the resolution centre. This is exactly how YOU should work. I mentioned in a post a while back that the bigger companies are now using social media in an effective way to deal with complaints.
There are too many people using social media to vent anger and all that does, as in real life, is create more of the damn stuff! I had a guy comment on Facebook last week under a link to a major online tracking tool that I had been using. The actual tracking tool posted (not me) and his response was simply ‘Bad review Andrea’. Ahem. What does that comment achieve? How is it justified?
A waste of time in my book, plus it gives me an insight into that person. A waste of time in my book.
I suggest 3 things to do before you type what’s on your mind:
- Breathe. Think about the problem in great detail. Are you hurt? Angry? Frustrated? Ok. You are allowed to be. But then give some thought to the person/company/brand you are going to put down. Will you really be happier once you have denigrated them? What will it achieve?
- Social Media is about communicating and sharing. You as well as your ‘present online enemy’ are just trying to protect yourselves and better yourselves. Would you like it if someone did that to you?! More importantly, what does it SAY about you? Nobody likes a grass. Nobody likes unjustified anger and nobody likes someone that has time for it. Ready my post on Tweeting too hastily here.
- Give great thought to who may be affected by your negative behaviour. I promise, you, it will NOT be worth it in the end and if you are a believer in karma, as I, it will come back and bite you on the arse!
I recently posted a negative tweet. I found it justified and am following through with the complaint. I did, however, speak to the company on the phone, for over a period of 2 hours and the grounds in which I was complaining were justified. (For the record, I found a heavily pregnant and hugely emotional girl at a UK train station, in tears, with no money having found out she had booked her ticket back to London for the wrong day. Clearly a pregnant brain mistake. Nobody in the station was willing to change her ticket and nobody at ‘said company’ was willing either. In my opinion it was a true example of how society is ran by the ‘red tape rule’…’computer says no’ and there are no exceptions for human error any more, which saddens me. Truly.)
I suppose, the answer to all of this is, if the shoe is on the other foot and you are protecting yourself from negative online communications, is to have an effective social media policy in place. Something you can offer your readers, to train and manage content. Include the things you accept and don’t accept and you will benefit from the outcome plus, encourage positive, juste and productive communications. Again, using Ebay as an example, implement a way to reward your readers for offering positive feedback and sharing positively. There are countless ways in which you can do this. Get creative!
Massive impacts can happen in seconds online and last for months even years. Save someone the heartache and be fair.