Friday, September 11, 2009

A pragmatic way to respond to negative feedback

The primary benefit that I've received from joining BloggersBase (the empoprises profile is here) is the exposure to some very good writers about business and other topics. In fact, I highly recommend this post from Joan Koerber-Walker entitled "Responding to Feedback in a New Age of Communications." Here's how Koerber-Walker begins her post:

One of the most important things any business can do is listen to feedback from its customers and partners and put it to good use.

One of the worst is to assume that poor service or unfair dealings will go unnoticed.

Now Koerber-Walker was talking about serious service issues, such as television service not working (yes, Francine, the story continues to spread). But other types of negative news can spread, also.

As you can probably tell by the title, eSarcasm is not necessarily the most serious online publication. But they do delight in finding press releases that could have been slightly better. (Tip - don't have Jesus Christ endorse your product.) For example, they linked to a press release that begins as follows:

Is Your Product Launch Doomed?

Companies that introduce products to market with just a launch checklist are doomed to fail, says industry expert who describes 10 ways to identity an impending product launch disaster in new e-book and seminar.

And for people like me who missed the problem with this introduction the first time, eSarcasm spelled it out:

That’s right: For a healthy fee, you too can obtain the checklist of 10 ways to launch your product without making the mistake of using a checklist to launch your product.

And J.R. Raphael had to carry it a little bit further:

Stay tuned for Pragmatic’s upcoming seminar for business owners, entitled “Why Attending a Seminar Is Bad For Business Owners.”

OK, MBAs and those who never got MBAs, it's time for a business case. Pretend that you're with Pragmatic Marketing, and a blog called eSarcasm just ridiculed your press release. What would you do?

Let's check back with Joan Koerber-Walker. She suggested several steps to take, and while they were specific to service providers, they could also apply to press release writers.

Her first suggestion was to review your processes to make sure that the mistake didn't happen again. I'm not sure what Pragmatic Marketing will want to do here, but they obviously have several options, including submitting their press releases to eSarcasm first, seeing what they find, correcting it, and releasing it to the general public a day later.

Koerber-Walker's second tip was to fix service failures immediately. As of Thursday evening, the press release hadn't been edited, so I guess this advice wasn't followed. To be fair, I'm not sure what would have to happen to retract and resubmit a PRWeb press release; perhaps it's more cost-effective to leave the bad press release as is, figuring that minimal harm was done.

The third suggestion was to know who is talking about you, and the fourth is to refrain from "putting up your dukes to start swinging in cyberspace." As it turns out, Pragmatic Marketing followed both of those suggestions. The first commenter at the eSarcasm post was Graham Joyce of Pragmatic Marketing. Did he tear Raphael a new one and tell him to stop his frivolous and ridiculous criticisms? Not at all. This is what he said - this is what Graham Joyce said:

OK, you got us on this one and we deserve it. But at least we now know someone read it :-)

Keep up the great work!


Look at all of the good will that Joyce achieved from his approach to the eSarcasm post. Now this doesn't mean that Raphael will spare Joyce if another press release is faulty, but at least anyone who reads the comment will think more highly of Pragmatic Marketing, may choose to follow their Twitter account, and might even be inclined to help the company publicize its product launch seminars, and perhaps even link to a webinar that includes ten ways to...well, you know.

Just don't expect to view the webinar over Cox Cable if you live in Phoenix.

P.S. As long as I'm mentioning Twitter accounts, eSarcasm's is @esarcasm, Francine's is @hardaway, Joan's is @corepurpose, and mine is @empoprises.
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