3 Easy Steps To Turn Business Failures Into Customer-Generating Positive Case Studies

Ever go public online with something your brand will regret later?

Alas, it’s human nature.  But there are ways to combat that!

In my group, PerkingUpProfits, we had quite the Case Study discussion…..enjoy a new take below!

(note – join our group at PerkingUpProfits.com )

Earlier, Dr.Mani Sivasubramanian commented at the close of a heated discussion:

“”Bury the bone”? I disagree. 

“Turn into a case study, and discuss?” I like that better!”

And I have to admit, that is pure wisdom.

The plain fact is, we all have the ability to knee-jerk ourselves into orbit a wee bit past the Alpha Centuri moon. I do it, you do it, we all do it. The challenge is to sit on your hands until that extraordinarily compelling urge *disappears* so you can comment without being in the red flare of unstoppable anger.

Fact 1.) Incredibly enough, the world does not revolve around you.

Your emotions might compel you to believe this but honestly….nope.

What might seen to be the opening symphony to Darth Vadar’s march to you… is barely a hum from an offkey kazoo to the rest of the world. (I’m currently going thru this myself btw, hence the massive hand-sitting I’ve been forcing myself to do).

*Dealing* with these emotions are hell! But it’s part and parcel of doing business online.

Fact 2.) Amazingly enough, everyone has failed MindReading 101 as well!


So your reality might be different than another’s reality because you possess data they do *not* or vice versa.

Thus, do not assume your views of the facts are correct.

They might be for *you*…but not for others.

Fact 3.) Most Importantly Enough: How you deal with the fallout is ‘way more important than your first engagement in said fallout.

During the fallout, more facts will come to light. Do you acknowledge them or hold onto your original argument?

Are your discussions marked by your professionalism and willingness to listen to other points of view, or do you clutch your “impossible belief” to your chest with both hands and scream, I’M RIGHT!!!!!



Within that, there definitely *is* a silver lining.

Here’s how to uncover it for your business.

Step 1.)  Lose the ego.

You might not agree with the complainers.

You might find them 100% wrong.

That’s okay.  This fallout can give you the opportunity for positive reputation management.  Remember, everything written online…stays online!  So not only will the negative comments last…but so will your public responses.  Remember, ego is kryptonite to effective public responses.

So!  Instead of viewing this as an opportunity to beat your chest and declare your undeniable stance, take it as a golden ticket to connecting with your audience.

Once you’ve dropped the ego, move next to:

Step 2.) If the situation blows up…. use Social Media like Facebook and Twitter to address

Remember the RollingStone cover?

The one that featured the Boston Marathon Bomber subject:

is their Facebook fanpage.


was the grassroots campaign that blew up 24 hours after the cover was released…it is now at 170K likes.

RollingStone firmly believes they are firmly in the right:

“Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS”

BoycottRollingStoneMagazine believes they are firmly in the right:

Indulge me for a minute if you will. There are many that don’t “get it”. As we ready to cross the 100K mark, I would like to make a statement. We’ve had many people ask “why”, why are we doing this. “what’s the big deal?”. I want to give my point of view. Let me introduce myself… my name is Chris, I’m 42 and live in Raleigh, NC. No, I don’t live in Boston. I was a fan of Rolling Stone, have been all my life. I saw the cover minutes after they posted and I thought it was a joke. Once I realized it wasn’t, outrage set in. Just seeing the picture brought back the haunting images. But immediately I thought about the victims and their families. They were going to SEE this cover. They were going to walk into a store and see this monster on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Not Time, not the newspaper, not People. ROLLING STONE.

For those of a younger generation, you may not get it. Rolling Stone isn’t the magazine it once was. But let me tell you… when I was growing up, the REAL bands made the cover. Bands aspired to make the cover. You were rock royalty if you made the cover. There have been songs written about it. Watch the movie “Almost Famous” for a glimpse into how important this magazine was to bands. This cover was mainly reserved for great entertainers, icons, rock royalty, and celebrities. I remember waiting to see WHO was going to be on the cover… many of us did. And then Rolling Stone decides to put a terrorist on the cover. It wasn’t the article, it was the COVER. Could you pour more salt in raw wounds?

Why couldn’t they do an article and allow Bostonians, heroes, victims, etc. grace the cover? How about bands from Boston? Yes, we are lucky to have freedom of speech and freedom of the press… but with freedom often comes consequences. We cannot allow Rolling Stone magazine to think this is okay. What kind of message does this send? Huge bands never made the cover, but a terrorist did. All you have to do is blow people up and you “can make the cover of tha Rollin’ Stone???”. It makes no sense. So if you don’t understand, don’t boycott… you are free to buy all the copies you want. But please don’t try to come down on those of us that held Rolling Stone to a higher standard than this.

When I started this page, I thought maybe we might get 100 likes. I had no idea we would get 100,000 in 24 hours… so I am glad I’m not alone. And don’t be mistaken, the victims and their families know what we are trying to do as well… it’s about a show of respect, it’s about honoring those that died at the hands of this man. Even if you don’t “get it”, TRY to understand why we are outraged. Think about little 8 year old Martin Richard’s family having to see this monster wearing a nice Armani shirt, on the cover of an iconic magazine, all the while reading how he was somehow “led astray”. He murdered people. He maimed people. He has no remorse. And there are more just like him out there. Rolling Stone is setting a HORRIBLE example. That’s the point of this page. It’s the COVER… not the article.

Apply this now to your business.

Passions are powerful.

How you choose to deal with them…that’s what will increase your brand’s market share or destroy it.  Remember, if you do not talk about it…others *will*.  So make sure you are out there where your customers can see you, explaining your position.

Step 3.) In all cases…empathize with the complainer’s right to *feel*.

And no, I’m not being touchy-feely here.

Again, you personally might disagree 100% with the complaints.  Sometimes though, acknowledging and validating the customer’s experience/perception and the like….is all that is required to let things drop and move on with the future.

In today’s hyperInfoBurst social media, expressing regret is often enough to satisfy the offended party.  But more importantly, when you empathize with your customers online, you are demonstrating your willingness to *listen* and *respond*.

You see, depending upon the situation, once the dust settles, *how* you responded to the original business failure can be repackaged into a business case study for customer relations.

Consider the future when someone just learns about what you have to offer but has concerns about your customer service?

You can now include your case study and showcase how it built your business/customer relations online.

Data like that is invaluable…and cannot be easily faked or manufactured.   It supports your claim that your business is the one who goes the extra mile in listening to your customers.

And that, of course, is a Very Good Thing indeed.

Grow strong,

Barbara Ling


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