RANTINGS, RAVINGS, OR RIFFS
People talk, now more than ever. They’ll discuss the stuff they care about intimately, as well as the innocuous, mundane, and matter of fact. They’ll often talk just for the sake of it. And in the center of these conversations are companies and brands, perhaps even yours.
In fact, according to 2009 research from Penn State, a full 20 percent of all “tweets” mention a brand name.
Give customers the slightest opportunity to share their love or war stories, and they will—prompted or not. At times, this input is so unstructured and unformed that it doesn’t make much sense. But at some point, and after enough mentions it will begin to resemble reviews, recommendations, or referrals, and while there may be a semantic difference between “I’ll never buy from company X again” and “don’t ever buy from company X again,” the result is ultimately the same. Either way, most rants, raves, or riffs are essentially open and urgent invitations that beg for real-time response to satisfy them or counter escalation.
Customer experiences are very quickly becoming public spectacles that are living out their voyeuristic drama in the public domain. All-powerful consumer blog “The Consumerist” was launched by the Gawker blog network43
as the TMZ of customer service. However, it quickly became a weapon against companies to exacerbate their shameful shortcomings. Not only that, but it served as a tool to help them avoid further ridicule and, perhaps more profoundly, act as ...