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How content moderation can improve your brand’s customer experience

August 22, 2023 | UGC

In a digital era where every interaction carries weight, the significance of content moderation in curating an unblemished customer experience cannot be understated.

Your brand’s growth is intrinsically linked to the customer experience (CX). Beyond merely shielding your brand image and fostering trust, it’s about fortifying the very pulse of your business – your bottom line. In an increasingly saturated market, consistently delivering a superior CX is no longer a nicety, but an imperative. Here’s the stark truth: if customers encounter harmful content or online abuse, they won’t think twice before seeking alternatives. In fact, nearly 6 in 10 consumers say that all it takes is a single poor customer service experience for them to abandon a brand.

“A significant determinant of a brand’s success is the customer experience it provides,” says Alexandra Popken, VP of Trust and Safety at WebPurify. “Almost 60% of customers say they would not revisit a brand following a poor customer service experience. It’s crucial to ensure every touchpoint along the user journey is positive and seamless, from the sign-up process and customer support to reporting problematic content.”

social media symbols coming off a phone that a person is holding

In our hyper-connected reality, the repercussions from a single negative content-related experience are far from confined to a drop in sales. The disgruntled customer is now equipped with the power to broadcast their grievances publicly, causing potential harm to your brand’s image on social platforms. With the transformation of networks like Twitter (now known as ‘X’) and Facebook, consumers have been granted a megaphone. They now have a public platform to share their experiences with your brand, including their encounters with harmful or abusive content. The virtual world is scattered with lessons of brands that mishandled customer feedback regarding negative content, resulting in a disastrous impact on their image and reputation.

“Social media has greatly empowered consumers, allowing them to share their experiences and interact directly with brands,” Alex says. “When customers share subpar experiences publicly, it considerably increases the pressure on brands to correct their mistakes or risk damaging their reputation.”

For brands that host user-generated content (UGC), if customers regard the content as harmful, the brand could be perceived to be supportive or tolerant of the content. Meanwhile, for brands that advertise on platforms that host UGC, harmful content can create problems around “brand safety.” If violative content appears adjacent to your brand’s messaging – for example, an ad appears directly above or below a harmful post in a user’s feed – there’s a risk that customers will make a negative connection between the two.

Regardless of the kind of brand that you represent, by creating a safe space for your customers, you will minimize user churn, maximize loyalty, and avoid liability.

At WebPurify, we encourage brands to adopt a “safety by design” approach. The concept of safety by design means building a product with customer safety at its core, in a way that, ideally, mitigates the risk of harmful content and violative behavior ever becoming a problem. Clear guidelines and appropriate enforcement measures, using both AI and human moderation, are then layered on top.

So what does an effective moderation strategy look like? Here are five essential aspects:

  • Clearly defined rules around illegal, harmful, and disruptive content and conduct.
  • Appropriate and consistently-applied enforcement practices.
  • Accurate and timely moderation actions.
  • An inclusive approach, where customer feedback directly informs community guidelines and brand ethos.
  • Constant evolution and reevaluation based on collaboration with third parties, including academia, civil society, vendor partners, and the public.

The last point is worth emphasizing – to stay ahead of emerging threats, a proactive and constantly evolving approach to UGC moderation is essential. Even if your brand’s UGC moderation approach has worked in the past, it may not be well-suited to address new technological or behavioral changes. For example, the rapid development of generative AI has already led to UGC moderation challenges, including more convincing misinformation and scam content, copyright violations, and even child sexual abuse imagery.

We expect that in the future, with misinformation and customer security concerns in the spotlight, global regulation will put even more pressure on companies to moderate UGC or risk substantial fines, making it even more important for brands to put agile, scalable moderation solutions in place, as well as generative AI content moderation workflows.

As well as creating challenges, technology can also help with UGC moderation. Artificial intelligence can parse UGC at scale, allowing brands to respond quickly to emergent concerns, leaving human content moderators free to address edge cases and more nuanced situations where the AI might fall short. Humans and AI have complementary strengths, and a good moderation strategy should include both.

Effective and robust UGC moderation strategies like those outlined above are essential for today’s brands, not only to ensure a good customer experience but also to avoid liability and brand safety issues that could lead to reputational (and financial) damage. Brands that fail to invest in effective UGC moderation will struggle to be competitive, while those that get moderation right will be rewarded with increased customer trust and long-term brand loyalty.

“Content moderation will only gain more importance, especially as technologies like generative AI already amplify issues such as copyright infringements, scams, misinformation, and child exploitation,” Alex says. “Companies will increasingly be under pressure from global regulations to moderate their content effectively, or they could face substantial fines.”