Ginger Conlon, who I respect for more reasons than the fact that she’s responsible for getting me into CRM in the first place (wait, maybe that’s not such a good thing…), has made a great blog post about companies and the fear of going 2.0…
I know a lot of older brands are entering foreign territory when it comes to adding forums and blogs to their online properties. Thus, I wasn’t surprised that Conlon noted that she had seen a lot of companies worry about users making negative or inflammatory comments on company forums. Conlon’s response to those that seek to creatively edit their communities is spot on:
But, be warned, removing an inflammatory comment could lead to a severe backlash among customers, some of whom will share their outrage with a much broader set of people across their online social networks (and offline, too, I’m sure).
We have had a very active community in our Sugar Forums for a long time, and there are all kinds of comments in those thousands of threads. While we address concerns – and have a GREAT team that serve the community at large – we never edit or delete forum threads. SugarCRM really is about transparency and authenticity – and like Conlon suggests, we’d be eaten alive by our very bright and astute community if we tried anything sneaky.
The guidelines Conlon points out are solid. And ultimately, if you have a great product or service, you shouldn’t be afraid of opening up the conversation, right?