Most of our well-meaning community managers or social media managers continue to work under the tacit umbrella of two extremely dangerous ‘good’ philosophies that end sooner rather than later, wreaking havoc on the online reputation of the people and brands they are targeting. They must represent and defend …
- ‘Everyone is good’
- ‘The customer is always right’
Regarding the first one, it goes without saying that this is unfortunately not the case. In our daily work in social media we find people who can result from malicious and harmful for all kinds of reasons (aggressive competitors, overt enmities, political or religious sectarianism, personal or professional envy) to unbalanced, intoxicated or simply They are having a bad day. The deal with them (although I hasten to indicate that they are almost always a small but problematic minority) is one of the touchstones of this difficult art called online reputation management. To pretend that they do not exist, to think that they are not going to touch or affect us or to be mentally and tactically prepared for their presence, is reckless if not irresponsible.
Today I want to focus on the second assertion, which although it is an excellent starting point generic as a policy of customer service does not hold up when we face the usual scenarios of cross-criticism. Cross-criticism occurs when our customers or followers make negative assessments about an aspect of our product or service and its opposite: for example, when after a presentation to some it seems’ short ‘and others’ long’ or a software program ‘ too simple ‘for some and’ very complicated ‘for others. Since according to the laws of logic that Aristotle left us one thing can not be at the same time itself and its opposite, it is impossible that both clients ‘are right’ when their perceptions on the same subject are radically different when not opposed:
Perhaps to the two philosophies already mentioned we would have to add another one in which our community managers use with determination and illusion and how sad the number of hours of sleep that sometimes they lose in it !: that ‘we have to make everything happy the world’. Experience shows us that in many occasions this is utopian and unrealizable, and that even trying can sometimes send a message of weakness and fragility about our company or brand that can be highly counterproductive. If most of the evaluations and / or criticisms are positive (the so-called rule 90/10 that I have defended), or we find ourselves with a percentage of crossed critics, the best policy is always to explain with respect, education and elegance our position accepting and understanding that we live in an imperfect world and that we will not be able to please everyone.
The client always has the right to an opinion, but is not always necessarily right. It is up to us to explain it (when the majority evidence supports it) with education, respect and elegance but never renouncing our idiosyncrasy, our values, our style or the proactive defense of our work.