The small gap between the marketing dream and the delivery reality is where social media lives

The small gap between the marketing dream and the delivery reality is where social media lives

What makes people comment on a social media site of any type about the product or service they receive from a company or supplier? And how bad or good does the service need to be before they comment?

When you read a company’s web site or brochure, listen to one of their sales guys or see their marketing somewhere, there is an inherent level of service or capability offered. From the easy to measure – ‘delivered free next day’ to the tenuous – ‘the closest shave ever’ an expectation is set by the marketer.

So when it comes to delivery, how does that company measure up, did the reality match the dream, did they deliver and when will they comment one way or another about what they have received.

The fact is that people, almost all of us, are more inclined to complain than we are to praise. And, given the ease with which passive complaining is possible today via social media sites the gap between expectation and under delivery need only be very small indeed to prompt a rash of online complaints. Anyone that has ever read some of the hotel reviews on TripAdvisor can see this. The smallest of issues, the receptionist didn’t say thank you, there were no eggs ready when I wanted breakfast, and the like can provoke a stinging review and a one star rating.

On the other hand getting positive comment can be very hard indeed. The range of acceptable delivery extends a long way along this line before we hit over delivered and get a positive comment.

So apart from being an interesting social observation, what’s the point here? I think there are a few. Most obviously make sure your marketing message matches your delivery, as a very minimum, deliver what you say you are going to.

Perhaps most contentiously, consider dialling your marketing message down a notch or two (unless you think you can instantly improve your service) the old adage of under promise and over deliver is more relevant than ever in the world of the instant online passive complaint. It’s better to miss one customer through not over promising in your marketing than lose the hundred that will read a bad review.

Finally be prepared to go a long long way above expectation in order to get positive comments

The fact is that people, almost all of us, are more inclined to complain than we are to praise. And, given the ease with which passive complaining is possible today via social media sites the gap between expectation and under delivery need only be very small indeed to prompt a rash of online complaints. Anyone that has ever read some of the hotel reviews on TripAdvisor can see this. The smallest of issues, the receptionist didn’t say thank you, there were no eggs ready when I wanted breakfast, and the like can provoke a stinging review and a one star rating.

On the other hand getting positive comment can be very hard indeed. The range of acceptable delivery extends a long way along this line before we hit over delivered and get a positive comment.

So apart from being an interesting social observation, what’s the point here? I think there are a few. Most obviously make sure your marketing message matches your delivery, as a very minimum, deliver what you say you are going to.

Perhaps most contentiously, consider dialling your marketing message down a notch or two (unless you think you can instantly improve your service) the old adage of under promise and over deliver is more relevant than ever in the world of the instant online passive complaint. It’s better to miss one customer through not over promising in your marketing than lose the hundred that will read a bad review.

Finally be prepared to go a long long way above expectation in order to get positive comments.

2010-07-14T16:36:32+00:00