Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to Address Criticism about Your Association's Service in Social Media

A recent blog post by Drew McLellan has great ideas for dealing with criticism about your organization's service that may appear in a blog post. I believe his tips also apply to associations and certain criticism in various social media, including blog posts.

Summary of the right things to do, according to Drew:

1. Monitor your name, such as with Google Alerts. Then make contact if there's a negative post/comment about your association you believe warrants follow-up - such as if a member had a bad customer service or program/product experience. Suggests the first step is to address it in the blog post's comments section directly, to start the conversation, and so others can see it too. With the situation in the blog article, a company rep called Drew directly but did not include a comment on the blog post.

2. Talk like a human, "not a corporate drone." Tone is everything. We all know the difference.

3. Apologize. More than once. If someone believes they got bad service to the degree they will even write about it, at a minimum you can apologize that your organization made them unhappy. Other times you will sincerely regret that the mistake or bad service happened, and they should get an apology for the action.

4. Explain what you're going to do with the information. It's what I want to hear when I complain, so others surely want to hear it when they complain to me.

5. Do not chastise them for writing about your association, or ask them to remove or alter the blog post. It will be tempting, but don't. (Of course, you can silently pray they will remove it.)

6. After an issue is resolved, offer a goodwill gesture if you can. One time my dentist kept me waiting longer than usual and his assistant gave me a $5 gift card to Dunkin Donuts as an apology after the appointment. Even if it was a small token, it did make me believe my time was valued and the inconvenience recognized.

My additional tips:

1. Be sure the entire staff knows about the issue and comment when it happens. Others may ask about it; plus it will increase internal awareness about how bad conversations don't always end when the phone call or moment ends. I sometimes find if one staff person gets it wrong, others might be on the verge of getting it wrong too - either by having the wrong information or not knowing how to correctly resolve or address a specific problem.

2. Create your own case studies. If there are situations you believe or know COULD go wrong, preemptively discuss how those situations would be managed. Ask your staff what they would consider an appropriate goodwill gesture at the end of a problem that needed an apology.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Plural of CEO and AE

Once and for all I am deciding the plural of CEO is CEOs, and not CEO's. And the plural of AE (Association Executive) is AEs, not AE's.

Like my earlier dilemma of cancelled versus canceled, neither CEOs or CEO's has ever looked correct to me.