One of the interesting things that about the last 12-18 months is how the Cloud has put the power into the hands of consumers. What I mean by this is, imagine the following scenario in the world pre-cloud:
“A user buys some software over the Internet or Shrink wrapped. They receive it and install it. It either does not work for them or they cannot figure out how to use it so they basically write off the cash and don’t use the App. End of story.”
Now lets looks at what happens on Cloud:
“The user either buys an Application from an App Store be it desktop or mobile, or a holiday from a holiday store, and then decided either the application is rubbish, does not work for them (or they have not RTFM) or has a bad experience on holiday. The user then use Social networks and/or the review forum on the App Store to comment on the bas experience”
In the latter case this “review” and negative experience puts off other people of trying the App / the holiday / the hotel etc. In some cases it can mean the difference between continually selling product or selling nothing as users look at the last bad review and then move somewhere else to continue their search to buy. One person can have the power to seriously undermine your whole product marketing and application strategy.
Even worse, many of the review forums (Apple’s App Store and Google Marketplace come to mind…) don’t even let you post a counter-review to explain that either the user has got it wrong, or misunderstood, or to genuinely offer to correct a bug. Worse still, some vendors can use a strategy of targeting competitive products to “put people off” purchase. In some cases this has led to the vendors involved seeking out legal action.
So what can you do to protect your product and your reputation ?
Well the first step has already been taken, you are at least thinking about it and conscious of it which is half the battle. What you should do is have your marketing or support team have a strategy that includes:
– Monitoring App Stores and review forums where your product features
– Monitoring social media for keywords about your product or company
– Set up Google Alerts keywords to inform you of keywords about your product and company
– Ensure you check your Twitter messages and also posts on LinkedIn and Facebook pages. These are easily missed.
When you see responses, always make sure to try and follow up with the user and engage and resolve their issue, even if this means refunding them, Even if a refund seems like the last thing you want to do, offer the refund, it is not worth your reputation. As part of the process try and see if they will change their review, even if it is only to neutral.
The Cloud brings power to the masses in more ways than one and a single user can have a dramatic network effect on your business if you are not careful !