Tuesday, June 3, 2014

When The Crisis Explodes, Don’t Focus Your Eyes On The Tip Of The Iceberg.

Focusing on the tip of the "iceberg"?
According to the experts, only one ninth of the iceberg is visible above the water surface, and the rest remains submerged. Never to be seen, unless we dive deep into the water and, only then, we would be totally shocked for sure: If that thing is huge out of the water, imagine confirming it’s up ti 8 times larger underneath the surface. It must be an awesome, breathtaking sight.

When it comes to managing the reputation of your business online, it works the same way: When the crisis finally breaks through, you're only seeing a small part of the whole process that led to it. The remaining, the greatest and most important part, stays under the water, and never makes it to the surface.

I'm going to tell you a real life, recently lived story which completely reflects this whole process and I’d like to share with you why I consider it important for you to take your business’ reputation management seriously, and going even beyond that, why you should take the service you provide to your customers seriously, regardless of their company’s size.

You start off with the wrong foot when your sole goal is to close the deal.

Just over a month ago, some friends and I made the decision to hire the services of a company. This company offered three different "packages": Basic, Professional and Advanced.

I must admit we did spent a while discussing which would be the best package for us to choose, maybe a little more than usual, however this was an important decision for us take and we didn’t want to take it lightly.

We decided to buy their “Advanced” package, on the belief we would receive a better treatment than we would if had gone with the "Basic" package. What a huge disappointment it was!

As it turns out, once we bought their “Advanced” package, and after receiving the corresponding "Thank you for your purchase" and "We are at your service for whatever you need" automated messages, nothing else happened.

And even when we have emailed them several times after the purchase, trying to communicate them our concerns and asking them for their assistance in a couple of points, there hasn’t been any response so far, and it’s been more than twenty days since our purchase.

What’s our conclusion? You buy, you pay and then the magic is over. It would have been better to buy the "Basic" package instead of the "Advanced" one, save the extra money and be on the understanding that we’re going to receive their “basic” services, as it has been so far.

A frustrated customer is a reputation crisis in the making for your company.

As I mentioned before, several weeks have gone by since we decided to hire this company’s services and so far we’ve not received a response from them in regards to emails we’ve sent, and we do not expect to receive it either.

Since my colleagues and I move within these social networks world, we have been evaluating over the last few conversations whether or not it would be worth to bring this issue to social media, raise our voice and see if the company decides to pay attention to us.

All company deserve an opportunity to recognize their mistake and make it up to you. Do not keep them from it.

But we’ve thought that, as professionals ourselves (and since we are in social media with good vibes and attitude), it’s well worth to give the company an opportunity to listen to us, without bringing the situation to social media.

An opportunity to review things, recognize the mistake they’ve made servicing  their "Advanced" customers in such an non professional way, and avoid what could represent an important reputation crisis for them: Having 5 social media professionals sharing with their respective audiences how frustrated they have came to be for the bad service received.

Which would be the tip of the iceberg in our situation?

The tip of the iceberg would afloat if we were to decide to speak out our minds and make our complaint public on social networks. At that time, the company would surely turn their eyes towards us and, perhaps, listen.

But only at that time, once the issue has already made it to the spotlight, for everybody to see, with consequences that are difficult to measure.

Why wait for the crisis to explode, to serve customers who complain?

But at that point, the damage would be done already, at least for us as their customers. Our feelings towards them have changed radically and we have came from considering them serious and professional individuals to just one more company, another one on the bunch, like so many others.

Are we likely to do business with them? For sure not. Will we recommend our peers to do business with them? Certainly not. If we were to take a customer satisfaction survey (those that are so trendy now), which do you think our response would be?

Learn to recognize the part of the iceberg that does not come to the surface.

As I mentioned above, we have not yet decided to make our complaint public, and our of good consideration, we probably wouldn’t go for it.

And the same thing would probably not happen to you as your angry customers, those who have received a poor service from your company, will never make their complaint public. You might never see the tip of the iceberg you’ve created afloat, but that doesn’t mean that damage to your company’s reputation has not occurred.

How many angry customers have to raise their voice against you, so that you take action and pay attention to them?

Because, at the end of the day, to a disgruntled customer it’s the same thing whether you have just one or a thousand customers who feel like him. He would simply stop doing business with you, will not say good things about your company if asked for his opinion, and definitely will not recommend you to anyone.

Remember that it’s been statistically proven that every unhappy customer will share his bad experience with up to 15 people within his own network.

If that’s something you consider important as an entrepreneur, then learn to recognize the crisis itself is only the visible part of your customer’s discomfort and beyond that there is always an unhappy customer who, as it has happened to us, has done his effort to make you aware of their frustration through available ways… if available at all.

And they haven’t been able to do so because you haven’t taken the time to listen, because you were too focused on your one goal of closing more business and nothing else.

Your customers are equally important. Whether they’re big or small, all of them deserve your best treatment.

Copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

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