They Are Watching You: How Public Forums Can Make You (or Not)

What do Comcast, Dell and most recently, Rogers have in common? They’ve felt the burn of online criticism and taken solid hits to the reputation of their brand because of it. Unhappy (and creative) customers are a powerful forceit’s the online version of that old saw about how a happy consumer tells one person while an unhappy experience leads to 10 times as much sharing.

And sometimes, anger manifests in a way we can all enjoy:

Now, the power of this force is being harnessed by the savvy companies that are leveraging the public nature of online complaints to solve, or at least respond, to issues in a public forum. The Boston Globe has a great article on how Comcast is now leading the pack in addressing individual gripes quickly and publicly:

When C.C. Chapman noticed a blemish in his high-definition television’s reception during the NBA playoffs recently, he blasted a quick gripe about Comcast into the online ether, using the social network Twitter.

Minutes later, a Twitter user named ComcastCares responded, and within 24 hours, a technician was at Chapman’s house in Milford to fix the problem.

Now they just need to make a video for YouTube. But seriously, can publishers and booksellers leverage this? What about authors? I bet an online critic would appreciate engaging with an author in some reasoned dialogue.

Public opinion can make you or sink you which makes leveraging the best possible outcome worth a lot.