November 13


Turning A Negative Into A Positive – Negative Word Of Mouth

By Ian Cantle | President, Chief Marketing Strategist | Outsourced Marketing Inc.

November 13, 2015

Customer Service, Negative Word of Mouth, Social Media Marketing

Turning Negative Word of Mouth Into A Positive

You need to have a plan for dealing with Negative Word of Mouth

The Positive Power of Negative Word of Mouth speaks to the fact that you have the power to turn a negative customer experience into a positive outcome.  In a recent meeting of business leaders the issue of negative word of mouth was raised as perhaps a reason for not being actively involved in social media.  Most business leaders have come to the conclusion that you have to be on social media today in order to connect with prospects and customers in order to connect, build and nurture relationships, and they are absolutely right.  However, as with any reputation management challenge, a business needs to understand the risks and prepare a plan for dealing with negative word of mouth.

In 2013 I had the pleasure of developing an infographic and research whitepaper for LoyaltyOne on this very subject, and I would suggest that the truths learned from that research are as relevant today as they were then.  Below is the infographic ‘The Positive Power of Negative Word of Mouth’, which walks you through how to have an Action Plan for dealing with negative word of mouth.  It’s good learning for all of us who are active in social media and want to ensure we’re building strong relationships with customers who will become referral partners for our business.  Of course knowing our customers intimately and creating clear expectations will guide our business decisions and help us avoid the negative word of mouth in the first place.

The Positive Power of Negative Word of Mouth

In short, the Infographic recommends you develop a plan that includes the following:

  1. Test the temperature
    Identity where your Negative Word of Mouth commentary is on the temperature range, as indicated by keyword choices.
    Words that show CONCERN: Doubt, Surprise, Confusion
    Words that signal RISK OF LEAVING: Disgusted, Angry, Outraged
  2. Treat The “Hot-Negative”
    Select and respond to the most vocal members posting negative comments.
    Impact of the Hot-Negative posts:
    Angry words and threats had a negative impact on downstream purchase frequency.
  3. Support The Passion
    Maintain ongoing communication especially when implementing a program change, to keep your most passionate members happy.
  4. Respond Thoughtfully
    Remind angry posters of your program’s benefits to boost downstream transactions.  Your response reassures customers that the brand cares.
  5. Go Public
    Ensure that all customers who are reading the negative posts also see your positive response.
  6. Conclusion
    Outspoken critics often react angrily because they are actually among the brand’s most passionate customers.  Arguing is not fun, but making up is, and a smart recovery plan can spur surprisingly positive behaviours from even the bitterest grumblers.

You don’t have to have a loyalty program to learn from this case study that if your business is active in social media, and it should be; that you need to have a plan to handle the negative word of mouth.  These insights will help you develop a plan to turn negative feedback into a positive force to not only regain momentum with clients, but build a level of trust that takes those relationships to new heights.

Want to Explore Partnering With Us to Build a Great Online Reputation

Outsourced Marketing is uniquely positioned to help you from a strategic standpoint and also from a day-to-day implementation perspective.  We work with clients every day to build a great online reputation, protect and recover their reputation, and drive 5-star reviews that get picked up and repurposed on Google, their websites, Facebook, Twitter and other important channels.  If you’d like to learn more about how we can make it easy for you: book a free discovery call or call us at 905-251-8178.

Taking it further

If you’d like to keep learning about this topic, check a great case study from Hallmark in this video:

Hallmark: Integrate social learning to help your organization become more consumer-focused, presented by Camille Lauer from SocialMedia.org on Vimeo.

About the author

Ian Cantle is the President and Marketing Strategist at Outsourced Marketing. His 20+ years in marketing and communications in a variety of industries have provided him with a unique perspective on what works and what doesn't in marketing. Ian founded Outsourced Marketing to fill a gap in the marketplace between businesses and sound marketing strategies and marketing systems. His goal is to take the mystery out of marketing and show business owners how a systematic approach to their marketing can provide exceptional results while easing the burden on them. Ian has also co-authored the book 'Content Marketing for Local Search: Create Content that Google Loves & Prospects Devour' that provides local businesses with an unfair competitive advantage, available on Amazon. Want to discover the Outsourced Marketing difference? Book a free discovery call or call us at 905-251-8178.

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