It’s fantastic that social media allows customers the opportunity to interact with brands. One of the most important things we learn in advertising 101 is that the objective is not only for users to see your brand, or hear it, but to also engage and interact with them! If a company has a social presence, it’s imperative for them to handle their online customers with as much care as they would in a face-to-face situation. There are countless ways for companies to engage with happy customers and give them a reason to love a brand. And there is also a specific manner in which companies should engage with dissatisfied customers and change the negative perception they have of a brand.
Recently, I had a first hand experience as a customer using a social media platform to express my distaste with a company that I’ve partnered with. In my case, the company called my cell phone immediately after my post to inquire about my experience. I was happy to take the call and talk thru my reasoning of posting the comment via twitter, but instead of the customer service representative finding a solution to my issue, they immediately asked me to remove my twitter post. It took me a little off guard, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about this request, but I immediately removed the post to satisfy their request. After removing the post and also posting about how thrilled I was to hear from their customer service department, the company ceased all communication with me. This came as a huge surprise to me, considering that before we hung up our call, he had promised that he would call me back soon with a solution. I’m glad I didn’t stay up waiting for this call, because it never occurred.
At CurrentMarketing we have a social media team that handles several of our clients’ social media brands. From time to time, they are faced with posts from unhappy customers that prefer to use Facebook or Twitter to voice their dissatisfaction. Our social media department has created a media monitoring and engagement process that they use as a guideline to answer questions or comments in a timely manner, by responding with factual information, and being wholly transparent with the customer. The follow thru may be one of the most important steps in the process. Typically, the customer will complain because they want a response from the company. It’s up to the company to take action to fix the issue and provide an explanation to the customer.
Knowing this information, I’m incredibly displeased with my experience with the company that will remain nameless. After I removed my negative comment on Twitter, they didn’t take any action in resolving my issue. The company was only concerned with removing the post, and had no intention of turning me into a happy customer. By the standards of our social media engagement process, the customer service representative would never ask me to delete the post. Instead, they would want to broadcast that they are correcting the issue and showcase that they truly care about every single customer.
Social media is an awesome platform for brands, there’s no doubt about that! But if you’re going to be in the social space, you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad and devise a plan of attack for the negative comments or perceptions that people will have in your brand.
With few exceptions, companies today depend on their website as their initial, and often only, point of contact with their customers. Even businesses like restaurants that rely