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The Cloud and the Power of 'One'

The Cloud has put power into the hands of consumers

One of the interesting things about the last 12-18 months is how the Cloud has put power into the hands of consumers. What I mean by this is, imagine the following scenario in the world pre-cloud:

"A user buys some software via the Internet or shrink-wrapped. It arrives and they install it. It either does not work for them or they cannot figure out how to use it so they basically write off the cash and don't use the app. End of story."

Now let's look at what happens on Cloud:

"The user either buys an application from an app store (be it desktop or mobile), or a holiday from a holiday store, and then decides either the application is rubbish, the App does not work for them (or they have not RTFM) or they have had a bad experience on holiday. The user then uses social networks and/or the review forums on the app stores to comment on the bad experience"

In the latter case this "review" and negative experience puts off other people from trying the app / the holiday / the hotel, etc. In some cases it can mean the difference between continually selling a product or selling nothing as users look at the last bad review and then move somewhere else to continue their search to buy. One person can have the power to seriously undermine your whole product marketing and application strategy.

Even worse, many of the review forums (Apple's App Store and Google Marketplace come to mind...) don't even let you post a counter-review to explain that either the user has got it wrong, or misunderstood, or to genuinely offer to correct a bug. Worse still, some vendors can use a strategy of targeting competitive products to "put people off" a purchase. In some cases this has led to the vendors involved seeking out legal action.

What can you do to protect your product and your reputation?

The first step has already been taken - you are at least thinking about it and conscious of it, which is half the battle. What you should do is have your marketing or support team have a strategy that includes:

  • Monitoring app stores and review forums where your product features
  • Monitoring social media for keywords about your product or company
  • Set up Google Alerts keywords to inform you of keywords about your product and company
  • Ensure you check your Twitter messages and also posts on LinkedIn and Facebook pages. These are easily missed.

When you see responses, always make sure to try and follow up with the user and engage and resolve their issue, even if this means refunding them, Even if a refund seems like the last thing you want to do, offer the refund; it's not worth your reputation. As part of the process try and see if they will change their review, even if it is only to neutral.

The Cloud brings power to the masses in more ways than one and a single user can have a dramatic network effect on your business if you are not careful!

More Stories By Jim Liddle

Jim is CEO of Storage Made Easy. Jim is a regular blogger at SYS-CON.com, covering mobile, Grid, and Cloud Computing Topics.