Engagement doesn’t end until the customer is satisfied

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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.


  • May 24, 2012, 11:02 am  Reply

    Excellent post, GWill. It makes my stomach churn to hear that a company would actually take the time and effort to call you to ask you to remove a post – without taking that extra step to resolve the issue. Simply outrageous. It feels dirty and as a social media practitioner it’s disgusting to think that there are people in our field who still think that’s okay. If anything, it makes you wonder what other deceitful things they do within their business.

    I can proudly say that within the 3 years of our department, we’ve only deleted a handful of posts. And those posts were only removed because they blatantly violated our community guidelines, as they were either harassing, derogatory or vulgar. And while our “everything remains transparent” thinking might make some business leaders cringe, it has proved to be nothing but successful. Because when we read something negative it is only the first step in finding and resolving an issue, which turns an unhappy customer into a lifetime guest thanks to quick and efficient customer service. It goes back to that old adage, “It can cost five times more to buy new customers than retain existing ones.” So while it’s important to connect with new customers through our social media efforts, we make certain that we’re taking care of the ones that we already have.

  • June 21, 2012, 2:12 pm  Reply

    I think you are a very kind person. I would not have been so kind.

    I would have tweeted my experience, contact, request to remove tweet, followed by no action to resolve my complaint.

    To be kind, I am betting that the rep who contacted you had the objective of getting you to remove the tweet and was supposed to pass your complaint to someone else to resolve. I suspect that something broke in the transfer process.

    I cannot imagine any organization of any size would create a process to leave customer complaints unanswered. The won’t be in business very long.

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