Just kidding. You know we love our clients. But someone, somewhere on the vast network we call the Internet, may be saying this about your company. The better known your brand and your products, the greater the chance that someone is taking a pot shot at you. The issue is not whether the criticism is justified but how quickly you find out about, and respond to, it. The difference in finding out within hours as opposed to days or weeks can be measured in millions of dollars and, once in a while, can even become a matter of survival.
If your company was “slammed” for no good reason, you can set the record straight. If the criticism is justified, you can fix it quickly and win points for your lightening-speed response and exemplary customer service — a perfect opportunity to make lemonade from the lemons you’ve been handed.
So how do we find out as soon as possible? By using a set of tools readily available online. We’ve covered some of these before, but they are worth mentioning again:
1. Google Alerts — http://www.google.com/alerts. A content monitoring service, offered by the search engine company Google, that automatically notifies users when new content from news, web, blogs, video and/or discussion groups matches a set of search terms selected by the user. The service is free with a Google account and is easy to set up. The key is to set up alerts for numerous terms, including product names, as well as those of key executives. I would even go as far as to suggest that one of your alert terms should be “your company name sucks”. Most of our clients have been using Google Alerts for a while and we are working with them to gain even better leverage with this tool.
With Twitter growing by leaps and bounds on a daily basis, you absolutely have to monitor conversation in the Twitterverse. Recent stats tell us that users currently generate 2 billion (that’s a “B”) per month.
I previously recommended in this space Tweet Beep (www.tweetbeep.com) which enables anyone to receive alerts by email whenever a specific word or phrase is tweeted on Twitter. Here are a couple of other options for Twitter:
2. Tweet Alarm – http://www.tweetalarm.com/
3. Tweet Alerts – http://www.twitteralerts.net/. With this service, you have a number of options when it comes to notifications, including SMS.
To see the effectiveness of Twitter as a customer response and service tool, Comcast is the classic example. Read the these stories and you’ll become a believer:
Savvy online service can win back customers – http://bit.ly/apZlyP
My @ComcastCares Customer Service Story – http://bit.ly/dqx3L7