Rotten Review Revenge
Location: A medium-sized business with a strong online retail presence.
The situation: The company has been achieving success selling their products through a number of online resources. They have been so successful that they have hired Damian Detritus and his company to manage their PR and marketing. However, a few of the online retail outlets allow customers to leave reviews and some of the customers have not been happy. They have left some negative comments and complaints. Detritus has responded by hiring consultants to attack the reviewers, calling them names, mocking them and being outright rude in an attempt to discredit them. The resulting backlash has been blogs and other online medium exploding with even greater amounts of negative publicity.
The solution: The Spotlight, using his superhuman sense of fair play and monitoring the online situation, decides he must swing into action against his old nemesis and help out the company.
The Spotlight immediately arrives at the company headquarters and, using his Spotlight of Truth ring, paralyzes the forces of Damian Detritus, stopping them cold in their tracks and preventing them from leaving more comments and committing more attacks against the customer reviewers. He then moves with superhuman speed to talk to the marketing managers of the company.
He quickly sets up a blog section on their company website and then instructs the company to address the concerns and questions from the negative reviewers directly. The Spotlight also instructs the company on setting up a Twitter account and to construct a Facebook page, encouraging people to leave comments and problems there. The Spotlight also sets up a special email account just for those who have issues and comments and makes sure it is reviewed daily.
This begins to turn the tide of negativity against the company. It also creates several public forums where customers can address their concerns and the company is shown being responsive to customer needs. The Spotlight then crafts a press release announcing the new initiatives that the company has put in place and publicizing where customers with problems can submit their issues. He then, over the course of the next several months, issues more releases discussing the decline in customer complaints and highlighting customers who had issues resolved to their satisfaction.
The local press responds to the wave of publicity and gets positive comments from customers who, prior to that, were disgruntled, but now admire the way in which the company resolved their issues and turned them into returning customers with a positive attitude.
Eventually the negative reviews on the various websites stop, replaced with positive ones about how the company is willing to make right issues that crop up. In time, there are more positive comments than negative and all of it without the company attacking customers. Damian Detritus is again defeated, but promises to return and get his revenge against The Spotlight.
The Spotlight says: When you feel that your company is under attack, your first instinct is to attack right back. Even some large marketing and public relations companies have the initial instinct to attack anyone who has anything negative to say about a product. Given the sheer volume of sites that allow customers to leave reviews, it can seem like you are being attacked on all sides. Just remember, however, that those are customers and that your attacks are public. Companies that attack first and ask questions later are often the victims of later bad publicity. Use the public forum to demonstrate that you are human and that humans make mistakes, but that you are willing to make it right. The good publicity you will get from doing that publicly will turn the tide of negative comments more effectively than attacking.