Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising. Even with all the latest technologies, nothing trumps a personal recommendation or complaint. Thanks to new technologies it is much easier nowadays to share your experiences to more people, much faster. Which is great when it is a compliment, but not so great when they are complaints.
Over 80% claim that they have superior #customerservice, but only 8% of consumers think they get superior customer service on social media.
— Jeroen Corver (@jcorver) January 19, 2015
Here is an example: A few months back I went to get diner at my local Arby’s restaurant. When I came home and realized the chicken was overcooked and the apples for my kids were expired, I went to Twitter to express my frustrations.
Within less than an hour I received a Tweet back from the Arby’s Twitter page, addressing the issue. With quick and prompt response they were able to switch a bad experience into a positive one. Within one week I received a gift card from Arbys with a personalized letter to me, apologizing for the situation and explaining that customer service is their highest priority. I was so impressed, that I returned the next week and I also Tweeted how happy I was with their service. By being active on the social media channels, Arby’s was able to keep a customer and they were able to promote how well they take care of their customers.
Another example, which did not get a response, was the attempted Twitter interaction I had with Fitnessbuddy, a fitness app on the Apple App store. This program was recommended by one of my social media connections and I decided to give it a try. They where running a special on their website, but did not adjust the price on the app store. When I tweeted out the price directly to the company, I did not get a response. I did not end up buying the app.
You would not ignore a customer complaint when they walk into the store, would you? You will do everything in your power to please the unhappy customer and make sure he/she leaves satisfied to not only keep them as a customer but to also reduce any type of negative word of mouth. For social media you have to treat these interactions with the same urgency. If it is online and nobody responds it will become the truth, regardless if it is or not. As more people continue to interact on social media, it will become more and more important for companies regardless of their size to respond to the messages as soon as possible.
So how do you keep track of all of this? The social media channels require your daily attention. It is your communication tool with the world. Relate this to the rest of your business interactions. You wouldn’t ignore the phone ringing or a customer that is in your store. The businesses that take a proactive approach on social listening will also be able to capture new leads and find new opportunities to take business away from their competitors. If there was a competing fitness app that would have picked up my Tweet and responded with a similar offer, I would have been more inclined to go with their service. However, nobody did…
There are many tools out there that will help you listen to certain key terms, so that you can capture these opportunities to interact. You can also use Twitter’s advanced search tool, where you can look for keywords within a geographical area. Another way to stay on top what people are saying about your business or your products is to setup Google alerts. With this you will receive notifications whenever any article or webpage talks about your selected key words. With smart management of your customers online interaction you can change many negative feedback into positive interactions that not only keeps the customer happy, but is also a great promotion to your level of service.