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Online Comments Forum

Published on: 25 August 2009

To invite clients to post comments – positive or negative – on our website, took more than just a huge dose of courage. We were potentially opening ourselves up for massive reputational damage. If we delivered consistently poor service, and all the comments were negative, it could have done more harm than good. It could have exposed us as inept, hopeless, below par.

On the positive side, however, it would portray us as transparent and truly committed to customer satisfaction and awesome service levels. It would encourage clients to trust us, because we were not trying to sweep our blunders under the carpet. It would also improve channels of communication between us and our clients. Lastly, it would highlight problem areas such as bottlenecks, to which management could react swiftly. In short, it would portray us as honest and refreshing.

Above all else, it would make us the first company in SA (as far as we could establish) to do this.

Act of courage

We decided to take the plunge and do it. We were prepared to live with the risk of malicious people abusing the forum to harm us. We decided to place everything, no matter how scathingly negative it might have been. The only exceptions are blasphemy, hate speech, racism and banalities.

Great result

It turned out to be an absolute winner. We immediately became aware of problem areas. All new businesses have growing pains; the comments forum enabled us to effectively deal with our growing pains much quicker.

The split between compliments and complaints is roughly 50/50. This is encouraging, since people complain much easier than give compliments. I believe this initiative is the main reason why we have the highest compliment ratio in the industry on the independent website, hellopeter.com. It keeps us focused and on our toes. Our staff know they have no place to hide, they can’t sweep mistakes under the carpet. They also know if they delight clients, they might be honoured with a compliment that is visible to the whole world. In short, the comments forum has strengthened our service culture.

Challenge

It remains an open question why no-one else does this? Are service companies too scared to see what their clients think of them? Or don’t they really care? Just imagine what it will do to service levels in SA if all service related businesses had comments forums on their websites……

Our pledge

At MiWay, we remain committed to awesome service. We can’t guarantee that we will always get it right the first time, but we will certainly remain transparent and 100% committed to fixing our mistakes. Over time, I believe, our transparent approach will lead to our service levels reaching incomparable heights.

Kind regards,

René Otto