The Australian: Negative Comments Impact Bottom Line

We’ve all vented one time or another about a negative customer service experience. Maybe it was the rude flight attendant, or the twelve-transfers it took to speak to a live human being to resolve an issue.  The challenge for many brands today is that Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and other forms of social media make it possible for hundreds or thousands of people to see and hear these negative experiences.

I like the analogy that Rohit Bhargava used last week that when there’s an unanswered negative review online, it’s a bit like having someone next to you have their phone ring but they don’t answer it.  You might think, what’s wrong with you – why are are you ignoring your phone?  Social media makes it possible for the entire world to see that person – or brand – choose to oddly ignore their ringing phone.

A recent article from The Australian shows that brands who choose to ignore what’s being said about them in social media have not only a PR challenge, but a real business problem as well. According to the survey research quoted in the article, a surprisingly high number of consumers would actually boycott a product or brand after reading a negative review online, while a large percentage of people would be open to hearing from a corporation or brand after posting something negative on a social network.

Here are the statistics quoted in the article:

  • One in four Australians are boycotting a product after reading negative comments on social networking sites
  • 60% of consumers say they want a response from the corporate in social media.

While a full-on boycott might be a bit extreme, certainly there is a clear trend of negative reviews influencing the purchase decisions of consumers which will ultimately hurt the bottom line of any business. As such, setting up an ongoing Listening Post (an Ogilvy-branded term for active monitoring) is one of the most important first steps that any business should take in social media in order to keep track and respond to negative reviews online.

The Daily Influence is one tool we’ve created in partnership with Netvibes to help keep track of what’s been said about a brand, product or issue in social media. You can register for a free account here, and customize the “My Listening Post” tab to pull in Tweets, blog posts, videos and images that match a keyword.