Policies, Personalized Search & Privacy Invasion

big brother is watchingIt’s not even halfway through March of 2012 yet and backlash against Google seems to be at an all time high. Let’s take a look:

The New Privacy Policy
In January, Google announced an update to their privacy policy so that all your personal information (including most intimate search habits) are shared amongst their 60+ properties (Gmail, YouTube, Picasa and Google Maps). For those of you worried that all your personal information being spread so thin, the bad news is that you CAN’T opt out. The “good” thing is that Google assures that this information will be tailored to your preferences and enhance your search experience.

Screenwise – Get Paid to Get Spied On
Would you like Google to track your every move? How about if you could get a $25 gift card in return? Google’s next project, Screenwise, will let users do just that. Volunteers will be monitored via a browser extension and this research project is strictly an opt-in option. Anyone interested and willing to participate?

Majority of Users View Personalized Search Results as a “Bad Thing”
A survey by Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that 65% of users view personalized search results as a bad thing because it limits the information you get. Overall, 73% felt that it’s an invasion of privacy. The question is, will you continue to use? There are easy alternatives that include: search without being logged in, use non-personalized browsing (Chrome’s incognito or Internet Explorer’s InPrivate Browsing mode).

Obviously, the good still outweighs the bad by far in user experience, especially when compared with other search options out there. No one is being forced to use these free services. But what do you feel about all these new Google changes?

Why You Should Never Immediately Delete a Negative Comment

If you receive a negative comment, reply or message on any of your social media profiles, your first instinct would probably be to delete it before anyone sees it. But you can turn this negative into positive if you resist the urge to delete.

Resisting the Urge

Let’s say you do get rid of the comment – you’ll also immediately lose the chance of getting more information about that customer and getting to the root of their (and your) problem. As much as we’d like it to, deleting this comment won’t make the angry customer go away. What’s even worse is failing to recognize if your business or employees have wronged a customer. We’ve all heard that a satisfied customer might tell a few of their friends about your business. But an unhappy customer will go out of their way to let the whole world know!

Making Your Problems Worse

In fact, it could make your online reputation problems even worse. Have you ever heard of a little thing called Ripoff Report? This site is notorious for publishing all types of uncensored complaints from customers. The real kicker is that they NEVER (or almost never) remove these complaints, whether it’s unwarranted or not.  So, before you know it, that one quip on Facebook could turn into a permanent black mark on your brand’s name.

A Quick Response is Better

If you delete a customer’s comment, it will only make them more angry and ensure that you’ll lose their business. Instead, try to reach out on the public forum to show that you take customer service concerns very seriously. Converting a once unsatisfied customer could turn them into a new brand ambassador for your business, and at they may even follow up on their initial complaint. The bottom line is that you need to show that you’re paying attention to their comments and complains instead of just trying to make them disappear.

With the instantness and speed of social media sites, it’s important to learn about how to respond to all types of comments. Oh yeah, don’t forget to keep everyone on your team up to date about the response protocol. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open so that you won’t have to fear a negative comment again!