Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

ONLINE REVIEWS: Sometimes we – the customer – just don’t want to discuss negative reviews any further 😱👎⭐️

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You’ve probably heard me talk about that responses to online reviews and really any customer feedback publicly or not publicly are usually better than no response at all.

But sometimes additional discussion from the perspective of the customer, i.e. the person leaving the review – is not something that’s desired.

This really hit me over the head when I visited a business and really didn’t enjoy most parts of the experience. As I often do I decided to leave  it a review on Facebook. Sometimes I leave a written review and sometimes I do star reviews only. In this particular case I gave it one star and moved on. I left no written details further detailing what I experienced or what I felt justified the one ⭐️.

Less than two hours after I left the review the business responded with something that I actually would recommend as a response in a case like this. 

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In a nutshell and paraphrased they said: 

We’re sorry for your experience and we would love to hear more.

It’s really a great response and pretty much in line with what I teach my social media clients. But here’s the thing that dawned on me as I was reading this. In my own personal scenario I would’ve written a review with more detail if I actually wanted to share more details of the experience. In this situation, however, I just didn’t want to share anything else from the beginning. 

So I was really torn on what to do based on professional experience, the perspective of the business owner and then of course myself as the customer.

From a professional experience I recommend the responses.

From a business owner perspective I certainly would want to know why people feel the way they felt.

From a customer perspective I can see how customers sometimes don’t want to provide anything else and don’t want to discuss anything else about it.

And I have been there before myself. Somebody would leave me a negative comment – for example on a speaking feedback form and I wish I could ask them more questions about it. In fact, if I knew who left that particular comment I probably would ask for more details. But the next response might not come natural or wanted to attendees.

There was a time when I asked attendees of talks to text me a score. The reason I did that is because it gives you immediate feedback after a talk and it also allows attendees to ask any follow-up questions if there are any digitally and privately.

At one conference one person came up to me after the talk and had a couple questions and then before she left asked if I could remind her of the phone number to leave her score. It was pretty apparent to people that this was my cell phone and I would see the score right away. Of course I gave her the number and she left and literally walked around the corner and texted me the score, which was really positive  but nonetheless she still didn’t give it to me in person and instead left and then texted it literally seconds later. 

It probably has something to do with that giving feedback-negative feedback for sure and maybe even positive feedback-is hard. Or  we think it’s hard or at the very least uncomfortable.

And then of course when we do get feedback people ask for more.

“That was great.”

“Oh thank you. Which part exactly?”

“How could I’ve made it even better?”

That kind of conversation can go on for a while and most likely is not what the person who offered one piece of feedback signed up for to begin with. They just wanted to give you a quick comment.

Something to keep in mind is what is the user’s intent? For example, when people come up to me after a keynote to tell me how much they enjoyed it I really only say one thing: “Thank you so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.”

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Do we really always need to know more? It can quickly feel like those surveys teams send out to customers that go on and on and on.

Of course, the channel matters too. On social media for example, the response is for the person who left a review but it’s also for the other people who are reading the review later. Because responsiveness actually signals engagement and at least an attempt at good customer service.

That would not apply in a one on one conversation after a talk at a conference. 

Something to keep in mind and it was certainly not something that crossed my mind until I was on the customer’s side of things.


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Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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