In a post at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog, Mack Collier tells the story of Alison Heath, the director of marketing for a small company that received favorable coverage from the Washington Post. “That’s good,” he says. “Unfortunately, [though], commenters were attacking the business, based on the information contained in the article, which implied that the company didn’t provide health insurance to its workers.”
Heath decided to say something. She introduced herself, clarified that the company had offered insurance since 2007 and invited commenters to offer ongoing feedback. According to Collier, her evenhanded response had a dramatic impact on the tone of the conversation. “After Allison’s comment,” he notes, “11 other people commented, and ten of them were positive.”
Here’s what Heath did correctly:
- She politely expressed appreciation for the comments. “Nothing escalates a negative comment into a full-bore flamewar faster than an ‘Oh yeah?!?’ reply from the company,” he notes.
- She gently corrected the incorrect conclusion to which readers had hastily jumped.
- She not only encouraged further input, she offered her email address so readers could send private messages.
“If you are thankful and respectful toward commenters, even those that are attacking your company,” says Collier, “the end result will almost always be a positive experience.”