The idea behind comments is, at heart, a very simple one. It is a way to let your visitors respond to a page on your website by leaving their comments at the bottom of the page. In effect, it turns a one-way 'here is our statement' page into a conversation.
Some people are nervous about allowing this kind of interaction on their site. Some valid questions they raise are:
- Someone might leave derogatory comments about us on the site
- Someone might leave spam messages selling Viagra or similar performance enhancing drugs
- There could be an unseemly argument between visitors
- Someone might post messages with swearing and heavens alone knows what else
All of these concerns are real possibilities. Minimising these kinds of activities might mean spending extra on security features, or policing the comments ruthlessly yourself. We’re opting for a mix of both (and we’ll be refining the process as we go along.)
We think that the process - however it is managed - can add real value to your site. It is an opportunity to engage your customers (or potential customers) in conversation. If you’re friendly enough, they might come back to the site again (remember: the biggest number on the internet is 1) which increases the chance of them doing business with you down the line.
It’s also a chance for you to clarify points that people might misunderstand. We bang the drum about writing clear, effective copy, but there’s always room for misreadings to cause confusion. By opening a conversion with our visitors we have an opportunity to solve those confusions.
We’re aware that for some people, all this is old hat - and hardly worth a blog post. But first principles always apply, and as Joel Spolsky put it: eating your own dog food is the first rule to getting customer service right first time.
We recommend this kind of stuff to our customers all the time. We want people to engage and interact with us (unless they’re trying to sell "ROL3x wa6che5"). We welcome your comments - just as you should welcome your customers’.