Andy Sernovitz writes a great post about the power of being nice taken from Seth Godin’s blog. I learned this lesson ten years ago by watching a more savvy office- mate finesse a phone customer service rep I knew she was angry with. She kept her calm, was incredibly friendly, and ultimately got what she wanted.
Being nice has served me well in my career too. Some years ago, I started a customer community that ultimately ended up with about 20k customers. For anyone who has never interacted with customers online I have some news for you: they can get a LOT more angry online than they ever would in person. Being nice and calling on any and all humility I could muster got me through a lot of really unpleasant situations relatively unscathed. It also allowed me to establish friendly relationships with some of the very people who were so ticked off in the beginning. I count those folks among the people I’m most proud to know in my business life today. Whenever I’m thinking of undertaking a new major work project I even call one at home to get his feedback – he gives me great perspective.
To those just getting started in social media, I have this advice for you: when someone talks about you or your products, acknowledge them kindly, even if they’re not being so kind to begin with. Here’s the formula I use:
- Thank them for their feedback. (This is harder than it sounds)
- Tell them how you’re going to handle their issue/complaint
- Tell them what steps you’re going to take to keep it from happening in the future.
Thanks again Andy and Seth, for the great post.