Quite a while ago – I created a post where I shared my experience with my pest control company – Truly Nolen. I was HORRIFIED by the service I received and shared the experience here in, “When the Pest Control Company is your most Annoying Pest.” It generated a LOT of response at the time. Even years later, new comment show up on that post quite frequently – and some appear to be clumsy, pathetic attempts at online reputation management by Truly Nolen.
Last week, I got what at first glance, appeared to be a comment from a satisfied customer of Truly Nolen. They’re rare -so I quickly approved the comment. After all – I wanted to be fair to the company and by nature – satisfied customers don’t usually go “trolling” to find blog posts of negative reviews and leave comments. While Truly Nolen’s treated me with contempt and disrespect while I was a customer – they did make things right with me quite promptly after the blog post appeared so in the spirit of fair play – if a satisfied customer had really found the blog post and wanted to add their voice to the conversation – I was more than willing to share it with the world.
Later in the day, I started really reading the comment – instead of “scanning” it. When I got to this part of the long comment …. “Maybe you should have read it before you agreed to it. Truly N. does have a corporate number that you can call and make a compalint to. Maybe they can do something about the tech issue. Sounds like you might have gotten one that really doesn’t like his job.” I started to wonder… is this comment legit?
Truly N.? Maybe I should have read the fine print? I should have called corporate?
Those “clues” set off alarms inside my head. They kind of fall into the category of:
Maybe I should have worked harder to be a “good” customer…
Hint for business owners reading this post – your customers aren’t going to work harder to make your life easier.
The comment just didn’t ring true… so I unapproved it (easily done) and sent an email to [email protected] to confirm the comment. (After all – if Stacy really was a satisfied Truly Nolen customer – I wanted to allow her comments to appear on the post.) The email sent to the email address provided promptly bounced which caused me to take a look at the IP address which was registered as part of the comment.
A search for other comments from that same IP address – found comments made by Truly Nolen staff early on in defense of their company’s practices.
So it appears that one of the RARE comments claiming to be from a truly satisfied customer of Truly Nolen was simply a shill.
There have been many shill comments made on that blog post since it was posted. Most I’ve “caught” quite easily. I will give them this – they are getting smarter. This latest began earnestly – but it didn’t take long to determine that it was a shill.
There’s something about “authentic” comments that is – well – authentic. Even though the comment above had a typo – a typo still didn’t make it feel “authentic”.
I remember a while back when a blog post from this blog was scraped and posted on another blog. By the time I got to the post, it already had a few comments. I was surprised to see those comments. They were along the lines of “this is a real change in direction for you… good job.” and “I like the way you’ve changed your writing – keep up the good work.”
I’ve got to admit – I was surprised that readers of that character’s blog could pick up so quickly the “change” in voice.
You’ve got a voice – even when your vocal chords are not engaged. It comes through in your blog posts – your tweets – even your updates on Face Book. Recently one of my friends’ FB account got hacked. She sent out emails warning her FB friends not to respond to her most recent “updates”… because they weren’t coming from her. The thing is – almost everyone responded with “I knew that didn’t come from you.” The spam program wasn’t speaking in her “voice” – and because she had spoken frequently on FB – it was easy to see it wasn’t her.
As for the pest control company Truly Nolen trying to exterminate a negative customer review – on the one hand – I give them a big hand. They’re concerned about their online reputation and are trying to protect it. However, the MANNER in which they are doing it is sad and clumsy. Is it really so difficult to find a satisfied customer willing to speak up?
The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is more true today than ever. Treat customers with respect – and you don’t HAVE to worry about trying to put out the fire of a blog post after the fact.