From the book: Responding to negative word of mouth

This week we’re talking about how to deal with negative word of mouth using tips from the new chapter in the revised edition of Andy Sernovitz’ best-seller, Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking.

When it comes to negative word of mouth, you should almost always respond. Some exceptions include:

  • A really small or obscure blog or message board where giving a response would actually give attention or credibility to something that no one saw in the first place
  • An attack that is so obviously outrageous, rude, or nutso that everyone who reads it already knows that the writer has a personal problem
  • A known attacker who is trying to provoke you to respond so he can attack more

The basic response strategy

  1. Respond calmly and offer to help. Post a simple, reasonable response and try to fix the problem. Offer a way to contact you.
  2. Do not get in a fight. You will always lose. It’s their website full of their loyal readers, and they’ll get the last word. Use good vibes and a good sense of humor and be a person who cares.
  3. Be human. Don’t respond with a corporate, canned response. It’s easy to yell and scream at an anonymous corporation, but when a real human representative politely shows up, everything changes.
  4. Write for the record. In many ways, your response is not really for the original critics. You’re writing for every future reader, letting them know you saw a problem and tried to fix it.
  5. Follow up. Remember that now that people are watching, you need to follow up and deliver on what was promised. A one-time visit is not enough.
  6. Do something wonderful. Every so often, do something amazingly nice for your critics. Replace a product with a huge upgrade, send flowers, mail a handwritten letter, give a gift — whatever. You’ll make new friends and they’ll tell everyone how cool you are.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Featured Downloads

9 Things to Share That Start Conversations

Use the examples in this guide to help inspire ways to make your message more portable and shareable.

Read More

3 Must-Use Word of Mouth Marketing Tools

These tools will help you kick off any word of mouth campaign no matter what topic, industry, or budget.

Read More

The Top Four Tips for Multiplying Your Word of Mouth

These tips can help you get your marketing to do more work without a lot of extra effort.

Read More

10 Ways to Turn Around Negative Word of Mouth

The most effective ways to stop negative WOM with examples from Zappos, FedEx, Dell, and more.

Read More

The New Topics Worksheet

All word of mouth starts with a topic of conversation — a simple, portable, repeatable idea that gets people talking.

Read More

The Word of Mouth Action Plan

Create a complete word of mouth marketing plan using this worksheet’s eight simple steps.

Read More