How Brands Can Deal With Negative Online Sentiment or “Badvocacy”

Maria Ogneva, the Head of Community at Yammer (an enterprise social network used by 100,000 organizations, including more than 80% of the Fortune 500) recently wrote an article about “badvocacy”. I’m sure you’re wondering what that is, as was I…

At VIPdesk, we talk a lot about brand advocates, the importance of rewarding your advocates and how to identify them. Well, not often enough do we talk about the flip side.

In most cases, “badvocacy” is simply a result of negative experiences with your brand – which in turn, creates “badvocates”. On a grand social-scale, think David Carroll, United Breaks Guitars.

Luckily for most brands, cases of “badvocacy” aren’t quite as viral – but as we know, most unsatisfied customers won’t say much, if anything at all. Some research shows that 80% of people who do not receive good customer service do not complain, they simply take their business elsewhere.

So, in order to eliminate (or greatly reduce) “badvocacy”, it is important to not only provide a consistent quality experience across all channels and touch-points, it is equally as important to listen and read between the lines.

Maria provides actionable steps to finding and fixing “badvocacy”, so I will just point out those that I feel are most important:

When you suspect a case of “badvocacy” – simply acknowledging the issue or “badvocacy” is one of the best first lines of defense; as often, people just want to be heard. I know there are a lot of brands that are still hesitant to participate in social media; however, as we’ve said time and time again – your consumers are talking about you, whether you are present or not!

Next, it is important to take sensitive and confidential issues off-line and most important of all – you need to figure out if you are able to fix the problem and how you can regain that customer’s trust.

One last thing I’d like to point out that she mentions is influence – please be sure that you are not just focusing on those with high influence. All customers are equally as important, regardless of their Klout score.

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