What is the threshold for a person in charge of blog monitoring to step into a comment string and try to contact an aggrieved customer?
The notion of influence and “rank” has been used in the past to differentiate between bloggers, but for some online marketers, any negative comment from an upset customer can represent a permanent scar in the search index, something which, if left unanswered can linger, or, if ignored, flare into something more significant than the initial detection might predict based on the user’s Technorati rank or known influence.
Yet, what are the rules of thumb for engaging or ignoring? If one takes the approach that all expressions of unhappiness – be it from a blogger on their blog, or from a commenter on another blog, or a commenter on an official corporate blog — are bad, then one can quickly project an extremely busy, extremely challenged operation trying to respond to all inquiries or complaints. Extend that to a multi-language operation and the challenge compounds quickly.
Triage, that emergency room cliche, carries a huge amount of risk. Some incidents, left untended, will flare into something dramatic. And, there is the Heisenberg principle of measurement — that detection and measurement of online community sentiment leads to a change in the nature of that sentiment, and indeed, encourages it to bloom as users quickly understand that a blogged comment can expedite resolution faster than the anonymity of a service phone call.
Just some random challenges I’m wrestling with these days.