A story from Turnip of Power came across my feed reader this afternoon. It seems that they’ve had their Entrecard account deleted for making less-than-favourable remarks about Entrecard’s owner on Twitter. In addition, the Tweet feed on Entrecard has been amended to remove any unflattering remarks. Entrecard also states the following:
Entrecarders are expected to be on their best behavior. Any intentional use of profanity or harassment directed at other Entrecarders or Entrecard Staff using Twitter will result in immediate account deletion. We have a zero tolerance policy for harassment at Entrecard
So far, so storm in a teacup. But something about this story makes me uneasy. First, does it not seem a little capricious to ban people simply for not liking everything about your service? Imagine if Microsoft’s Terms and Conditions said that you couldn’t make any criticisms of their products or Bill Gates! Every company should be able to withstand valid criticism. And if a proprietor is unhappy that some customers aren’t enamoured of his profile picture, perhaps he should change it.
Secondly, the act of banning users for using a different and separate forum strikes me as overkill. If I blogged that I hated the new Facebook interface on a WordPress blog, should I get banned from Facebook? As it is, people who hate the new interface can actually set up groups to voice their opinions, and as far as I’m aware, there has been absolutely no comeback from the Facebook administrators.
Businesses can improve their processes by listening to their customers. I assume that Entrecard installed their Twitter widget so that users could see what people were saying about Entrecard. Apparently they expected all of the comments to be favourable, but the fact that they weren’t is no reason not to display them, or to ban users who had criticisms to make.
If I were Graham Landon, Entrecard’s owner, I would see the negative Tweets as an opportunity. They give an insight into what users don’t like about the service, and offer the chance to put things right by addressing these issues. Rather than banning users, contacting them to find out how they would like the service to improve would be a far better (and profitable) way of resolving the matter.
Customer feedback is important because it allows businesses to know what they’re doing right and where they’re going wrong. To try and shut it down is to alienate the people who are responsible for driving up profits. If customer feedback is ignored, a business cannot come up with a coherent strategy for moving forward. Let’s hope Mr. Langdon realises that.
[Image by Guerretto]