Archive for December, 2010

Searching for customer satisfaction

For many businesses the mantra that the customer is king can be found at the heart of their business. Such companies like John Lewis and Emirates (to name just two) believe that customer satisfaction leads to business success. We all have personal experience of those brands that don’t seem to value our experience as highly and as a result we are left feeling slightly unloved.

When we experience bad customer service we tend to act in a number of ways, but these ultimately boil down to suffering in silence, ranting to those people who unfortunately are nearest to us at the time, or venting our anger online. The latter reaction is where it gets interesting; Google have announced that they are going to penalise those brands with poor online customer relations. Up until now it had, believe it or not, been known for some brands to deliberately abuse their customers, prompting those customers to post (poor) reviews, resulting in a higher placing on the Google search engine!

With these changes, suddenly those unfavourable online reviews are going to carry a lot more weight. For brands spending a fortune on SEO, all that investment could be directly undone by poor customer service. In addition if Google starts displaying customer reviews and ratings next to search results, imagine the impact on customer decision making.

For those responsible for managing brand reputation, being part of the customer service process has just become even more important. After all, Google does rule the world, or to look at it another way, potentially just one bad customer comment or review could drop you from the first page of the search results to the Siberian wastes of the second page.

Media time delay

While we all pick through the aftermath of our failed World Cup bid, the one glaring insight that arose yesterday afternoon was the huge time delay between the different media in play. Anyone following on Twitter yesterday would have known the exact result even before Mr Blatter launched into his long winded riff on the origins of football.

Here in the UK, Ashling O’Connor from the Times had already accurately posted the outcome on Twitter 21 minutes before the envelope was opened, which resulted in the TV broadcasters having to tentatively report the result while being stymied by FIFA’s own pomp and ceremony.

I look on yesterday as a clear demonstration of the media power of Twitter and as a warning for all of us involved in issues and crisis comms planning, underestimate its influence and impact at your peril. The race to be first with the news is well and truly hotting up and if you don’t have systems and plans in place to manage this, it could be you squirming in your seat wondering where it all went wrong.