This week I was reading a blog over at Brand Savant, a great resource of data and statistics and marketing and business. The author referenced his phone call to Delta and how he was asked to answer a 1-question survey at the end of his customer service call. After he agreed, the automated phone system took over.

When she disconnected, I was immediately transferred to take that one-question survey, which required me simply to answer on a 1-5 scale the following question:

“Based on your interaction, how likely would you be to hire our agent as a customer service representative for your business?”

What an intriguing question.

It’s simplistic yet profound. What better metric of a customer service representative is there than the likelihood that you would hire that person to represent your business?

The social media phenomenon has shifted customer service from a more traditional customer-to-company interaction to a more crowd-sourced and crowd-influenced model. Complaints are often posted publicly on Twitter, Yelp, and Reddit, potentially garnering countless views and responses.

While some companies are able to have full-time in-house social media staff, most either do-it-yourself or outsource to a digital marketing consultancy. For those that outsource, it is critical to ask the question that Delta asked above… “How likely would you be to hire our agent as a customer service representative for your business?” When you turn over your online reputation management to another firm, you need to vet that company and the people who will be representing your brand.

Here’s how to pick an online reputation management company:

  1. Check out the other things the company does. See what the breadth of their product offering is.
  2. Check their online reputation. If they promise they can manage yours, they better be able to manage their own.
  3. Ask for references. It’s okay to ask for some examples of their work for other companies.
  4. See how they work. Ask for them to explain their processes and procedures, who will be working on the account, how they handle weekends, holidays, and other potentially high-traffic times.

Don’t leave your reputation management to chance. Before you sign with a company, ask yourself, “How likely would I be to hire that agent as a customer service representative for my business?”