487527403I manage a Yammer enterprise social network for a large, religious non-profit organization. Some members of our network are employees, but most are volunteers and members of the organization. Our engagement rates tell us that many people use our Yammer network regularly, and are able to find useful information and networking opportunities.

This is not to imply that everyone is happy. We currently have 8,000 users, and we do get reports of users who experience trouble accessing the network and navigating their way to the specific information they are hoping to find. When people are experiencing difficulties, our staff is always there to help quickly, kindly and completely.

Recently one of our users was experiencing trouble with the platform and made a post on Facebook saying that our network was “so awful.” Several of his 3,000 Facebook friends made posts in agreement.

This was terrific!

It was terrific because now I knew. It was terrific because if this post was not made in this public way, I would have been unaware of the trouble these specific users were having. It was terrific because I could now take proactive steps to help. If the complaints were only made in a private email, I never would have known, and the problems would remain unaddressed. Now, I could take some proactive steps towards resolution.

  1. I responded in the Facebook discussion how sorry I was to see such unhappy comments and to reassure people that we continue to be available for help and support.
  2. I called the person who made the post. We had a good conversation, and have scheduled an online call where I look forward to helping resolve the problems this user was experiencing with our network.
  3. I sent direct, private messages to many people who responded to the original comment offering direct help and support so they can feel better about the platform.
  4. Many people reached out to me directly in response to the Facebook post to let me know how happy they are with the platform, and how appreciative they are of the good work we are doing.

There are always going to be complaints. That’s OK. But too often those complaints stay hidden in private conversations and private emails where nothing can be fixed, and no issues can be resolved.

Embrace the negative feedback when it appears. Shine a light on it. Express appreciation for it. Recognize the opportunity you have been given, and let the negative feedback work for you. Fix the problem. Provide great customer service. Encourage others to share their feedback as well.


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