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Archive for the ‘Consumer Complaints’ Category

 A Smarter Way to Protect Your Company’s Reputation

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

By Christopher Elliott

You probably already know the value of managing your company’s reputation.

But just in case you don’t, here are a few points to ponder:

* BP’s handling of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is a classic case of a company in dire need of a managed reputation. Yeah, it tried buying adwords on Google after the incident, but it was too little, too late. By then, BP’s name had already become a punchline, and it will probably always be synonymous with a disastrous gusher, linked forever like Exxon and Valdez.
* Remember United Breaks Guitars, the video I showed you last week? That rep management slip-up reportedly cost it $185 million. Had it managed the crisis better, it might have lost far less.
* Last month, a video of GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe made the rounds online. You’d think someone as Internet-savvy as Parsons would try to avert the damage with a sophisticated rep management campaign. Instead, he suggested his critics were clueless, even after calls for a boycott against the domain name registration company. “GoDaddy lost customers after that,” says Kent Lewis, president of Anvil Media. “I was on an email list of Internet pundits, where the major discussion was who offered the best alternative to GoDaddy for hosting. They all left.”

Saving money and face are great reasons to manage your reputation, of course. But experts say that’s not good enough.

Customers Demand It

Do it for your customers.

“Reputation management, and reputation management firms, are largely tasked with disaster cleanup,” says Scott McAndrew of the digital marketing firm Terralever. “They come in when things are bad, and, in many cases, use tactics that hide what’s bad, and try to court what’s good.”

But rep management like that is the rough equivalent of treating the symptom without looking for a cure. It’s crisis PR plus.

How Protecting Your Reputation Improves Customer Service, and Vice Versa

“Even the best reputation management can’t hide a business that is truly lousy in customer service and their are simply too many other choices out there then to buy from a business that does not value you,” says Marc Karasu, founder of the customer-service site MeasuredUp.

Reputation management can drive better customer service, though.

Instead of rebranding themselves whenever there’s a reputation problem, companies should try to use the tools of rep management to determine where customer service problems are — and fix them.

Yesterday, I covered one company’s bold plan to embrace the bad reviews it gets. What if negative reviews could be incorporated into a more comprehensive reputation management program?

Read the rest of the article here

 New iPhone Photo App Changes The Way You Go Shopping

Friday, December 17th, 2010

The Next Step in Customer Engagement?
By CM Arnold

Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right, but an unhappy customer can do a lot of damage. Hence, the implementation of telephone and internet surveys by retailers like Macy’s, CVS and Walmart.

More and more, sales receipts include toll free numbers and website addresses accompanied by calls to action encouraging customers to give their opinions. How many people actually do that, even if they had negative experiences?

In many cases it is not convenient or possible to find a customer service person in the store, and in most cases, if and when you do find someone to speak with, he is either incapable of solving the problem or doesn’t want to help you, said Marc Karasu, founder of, who believes his company’s new “Hotline App” for the iPhone will solve that problem. The Hotline App allows you to “document” something at the store that is not right: long lines, incorrect prices, messy aisles, dangerous situations etc. Likewise the App can be used to “report” a complaint or say thanks for a job well done.

Customer satisfaction is a key element to any company’s success. The instant gratification aspect of’s new app, which would actually allow a customer with a complaint to receive a response from someone in management within minutes, might increase the number of people who give honest and constructive feedback. On the other hand, such a feature could lead to a massive influx of frivolous complaints that might otherwise have been posted on someone’s Twitter or Facebook page. Caveat venditor.

Read the article here

 Twitter Does Not Work For Businesses

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

By Marc Karasu

The only thing worse then bad customer service is no customer service.

Twitter seems to exacerbate this problem or at least companies are not really using Twitter correctly.

In recent months we are starting to see those ubiquitous little twitter icons on tv commercials and print ads the same way every ad in 2000 had the novelty of a “.com” url to go along with the company logo.

The difference is that a customer that actually does go to Twitter to find a company is more often then not going to be let down by the poor to nonexistent customer service they get from the company on twitter.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule like Zappos and a few others who have great traditional customer service. But the majority of companies with a Twitter account burp out a lame tweet or two every few hours and in many cases only once or twice a day. And the tweets themselves are skimpy. Usually a promotion or some pathetic twaste like “Thanks for the props. We love your comments”. Often these companies don’t even answer the customer tweets. This is the dirty secret.

They are trying to position themselves as consumer centric and while in reality they have just built a new room where the lights are on but no one is in the office.

Thanks for nothing, is what they are saying and what the customer is left thinking.

Is this what “Digital customer service” is in the twitter age?

Happily some more useful business applications like, and Angies list exist that actually provide value to both the consumer and the company.

This is not to say Twitter is a bad service because it is not. And in full disclosure I manage

Its just that the companies that use Twitter appear lazy and often seem to be relegating their twitter accounts to the intern or junior marketer which means huge lapses in coverage when invariably the people managing the account leave for other jobs. Twitter is in fact littered with empty company accounts with old stale comments. In many cases there are several company accounts with similar twitter account names which is surely a sign that the company could not figure out the login info and had to open another new account.

Worse are the twitter accounts that seem to be run by either a third party or hack in the marketing department that simply churn out promotional white noise. This is not a help. It is in fact part of the twitter problem which is that seemingly half of all tweets are some schmo trying to sell you a get rich quick twitter scheme or a company heaving some crappy offer at you.

The bottom line is that companies today are not using many of the real online business tools that exist and are twasting everyones time with rinky dink attempts on Twitter that are so annoying it would be better if they had no account.

Clearly Twitter is trying to push itself as a business tool but if companies keep taking the low road they will over time ruin twitter and completely turn it into a noise machine.

If consumers care enough to hit the internet to find your company, then you should be smart enough to engage them meaningfully and convert them into sales. If you do not then expect your competitors that do figure it out to take you behind the wood shed.

 Small-Business Marketing Strategies

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

New small businesses pop up every day trying to get footholds in larger markets. In order to attract desired patrons, they must market themselves in unique, fun and interesting ways to a wide variety of consumers. In today’s world, effective consumer marketing strategies always include using the Internet, with online surveys or reviews playing a large part.

If you are a small business, it is important that you leverage the Internet to better market your company, said Marc Karasu, founder of, in an e-mail interview.

Karasu shared his thoughts on how small businesses can use Internet marketing to broaden their customer horizons.

1. Take charge of what is said about your business online. Unbenownst to you, there may be many unflattering things being said about your business that you need to refute or correct, Karasu warned.

2. Consumers use the Internet for shopping research. If your company does not come up near the top of searches on sites like Google or, worse, has bad reviews associated with it, then you could be losing out on new sales.

3. Build a great customer service brand to increase sales and engender customer loyalty. It’s more important than ever for small-business owners to join the conversation online and help to manage their companies’ reputations.

Establishing a good rapport with consumers is probably one of the biggest challenges that faces small-business owners as they try to break into larger markets. Providing quality products and services are only half the battle. The other half, as Karasu pointed out, is creating effective marketing campaigns, which include taking the time to create comprehensive consumer surveys that will allow small-business owners to know going in just what consumers require.

Read article here:

 Should the 3 million dollars spent on the SuperBowl been spent on customer service

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Spending 3 million dollars on :30 seconds of an ad is a scary thing for many companies.  However if you have the right brand for the audience, the right product and the right idea for an ad it can be a great investment in your company leading to increased sales, traffic and brand.

Given the economy this year it is an even more risky bet to run an ad in the Superbowl.

At MeasuredUp we think many companies that advertised in the SuperBowl could have spent their moeny better by investing it in customer service programs, social networking and reputation management.  These efforts in many cases would have increase revenue more then an ad in the SuperBowl.

Having said that we think a few companies spent their money wisely and put together effective ads in the SuperBowl.


Hyundai – New products, good prices and an implosion by Toyota could help Hyundai step up to the big time. – Smart ad, good message, well executed.  A great way to take leadership in the category. – The first ad from google is distinctive, smart and clear.  Not sure who does not use google already but if they saw the ad they do now.

Why bother:

Bud Light – Keeping your brand top of mind is one thing. Dumb commercials dont sell more beer.  Try creating a quality message.

Sketchers – No idea why this brand is here.

Bridgestone – No message.

Total waste of money:

Boost Mobil – Might have well given phones away to customers with the money to build usership. – Reliably running the worst ad each year.  Too stupid to comment more.

Vizeo – Garbage ad. Totally useless.

Each year advertisers as a group largely miss on this event.  While blame to ad agencies is clear it also takes a supremely stupid client to buy off on many of these ideas.

The shame is that too many of these agencies and clients are trying to win a popularity contest that means nothing.  What they should be doing is creating a smart ad on message that pays off on what their brand does.

 How Search Works With Social CRM

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

From Media Post

by Laurie Sullivan,

Search technology: Some companies will license it, while others build it from scratch. It depends on the egos of executives working at the company. Real-time search and social media have pushed technology to the forefront. Companies need sophisticated algorithms that can sort and index structured and unstructured data.

A recent Accenture report titled “Social CRM: The New Frontier of Marketing, Sales and Service” ties it all together. Joe Hughes, senior executive from Accenture’s customer service and support business, confirms that enterprise companies have begun to build search engine technology that will integrate into software applications and consumer hardware to help marketers, advertisers, agencies and others sort through the mounds of data created by social media.

Hughes defines social CRM as the conversation data from social media networks. And as marketers continue to try and make sense of the mounds of data flooding in from real-time search, Twitter streams, Facebook status updates, and behavioral targeting tags, they will need a faster method to sort, index and access data. Wow, are you overwhelmed yet?

Marketers need technology that can move feedback from customers and call center agents between channels with as much automation as possible. That will become the only way to analyze the data. Natural language query processing will also become a focus, to search through documents of unstructured and structured data as the mounds of social media data continues to mount.

Last year, tools measuring buzz metrics in social networks emerged. This year, the focus turns toward integrating the social data into traditional CRM platforms from companies like software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Salesforce, which late last year integrated the feature, allowing people to search on that data in real time.

Until now, CRM packages did not allow marketers to view data collected on Twitter alongside traditional queries. But the real-time search movement has sent companies looking to improve search results back to the drawing board to build engines that can process structured and unstructured data, as well as sentiment analysis, taxonomy, classification and entity extractions, according to Hughes. “The strategy of combining structured and unstructured data will become more important,” he tells me.

Read the rest of the article here:

 GM puts focus on customer service as company rebuilds

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Of The Oakland Press

The delivery of exceptional customer service is at the heart of the effort to rebuild General Motors Corp.’s reputation and image.

“GM, of course, is a dramatically different company than we were a year ago. And while we still have a long way to go to get to where we need to be, we’re making rapid progress in building a new company from scratch,” Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, told an audience at the Automotive News World Congress.

“Within the company, we’re simplifying the way we operate. We’re focusing on fundamentals,” he said. “Our new vision for GM is to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles, and everything we do as individual employees and as a company is being re-evaluated now on its ability to support this simple vision.

“There was a time when GM did a great job being all things to all people, when we had a U.S. market share of 50 percent. We made refrigerators and locomotives and aircraft engines. Then, the U.S. government was concerned that we were taking over instead of going under,” Reuss said. “Well those days are gone, and that company is gone.”

However, GM has an opportunity to rebuild by doing something it hasn’t done in a long time — listening to customers and asking them what GM has to do earn their business, he said.

Read the rest of the article here:

 Customer Service Will Be Nexus One’s Achilles Heel

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Google simply doesn’t have the kind of customer support that mobile-phone users are accustomed to.

Tom Kaneshige, From

Google’s comeuppance is at hand, as two of the most innovative Silicon Valley companies face off. I’m betting the veteran Apple iPhone clobbers newcomer Google Nexus One in the early rounds.

It won’t come down to cooler technology, nor better battery life. Wireless carriers? Nope, despite a great many iPhone owners and wannabe owners begging for Apple to end its exclusivity deal with AT&T. Google’s arrogance will lead to its downfall.

For whatever reason, Google is selling Nexus One directly to end-users. That means many users are turning to it first, reports IDG News Service, and the search giant doesn’t have the kind of customer support that mobile-phone users are accustomed to.

Wireless carrier T-Mobile lacks Nexus One support documents and refers people back to Google, according to a customer going by the name of Roland78. IDG News Service also reports that Google appears to be only accepting email customer queries and pledges to reply in one or two days.

Among consumers, that’s not going to cut it.

Read the rest of the article here:

 The Value Of Real-Time Customer Care

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Allen Adamson08.11.09, 05:30 PM EDT

In a virtual marketplace, brands that add a personal touch will stand out–and win.


One of the best parts of vacationing in a small town is visiting the local video store, where the proprietor–a scruffy guy who loves everything related to movies–will recommend films that he thinks you’ll love. There’s no scientific algorithm to his suggestions, no data analysis or statistical assessment. The owner makes his recommendations based on bits and pieces of casual conversation with customers.

I was thinking about that video store as I read about the contest hosted by Netflix ( NFLX - news people ), which offered a $1 million prize to anyone who could significantly improve its recommendation system and ended in July. While digital technology has made our lives more convenient in many ways, especially in the way it helps people make buying decisions, smart companies realize that there are some things even the most sophisticated digital applications can’t do. Above all, they can’t replace the personal touch that often helps consumers distinguish one brand from another. In a tough economic climate, real customer care–not virtual–can be the differentiating factor between two competing brands.


Read the entire article at

 BBB gives advice on how to respond to online customer complaints

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

The old adage is that a satisfied customer will tell three people and an unsatisfied customer will tell 10. However, with the advent of blogs, Twitter and YouTube, disgruntled customers can now share their rant about a company for the whole world to hear. Consumers are taking their complaints online. The Better Business Bureau advises that responding to complaints is necessary if a company wants to maintain a reputation for great customer service.

“The Internet empowers customers to air their grievances like a megaphone to the world which can be a scary prospect for a business owner,” said Kathy Barrett, BBB president. “Instead of being scared, companies should view the Internet as a great tool to work directly with disgruntled customers, fix the issue and hopefully turn them into a repeat customer.”

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