Time and again tales of companies, which are caught in a social media snafu of their own making, reach our eyes and ears and this week was no exception. On Monday the Victoria Taxi Association created a hashtag, #yourtaxi, and encouraged its customers to use it to share their positive cab stories. However, instead of receiving an outpouring of Twitter love, they were hit with a wave of customer horror stories.
Social media is great for marshalling your customers; if you have customers who love your brand, but if you don’t, not so much.
Was the Victoria Taxi Association not aware of its customers’ negative sentiments? How can a small business avoid a similar situation?
Provide A Great Product/Service
Genuinely audit your product/service. Are you providing the best product or service possible? How and where can you improve your product offering? Social media is great for building awareness, attracting and engaging with your customers. If however, your customers are repeatedly having less than stellar experiences, then rest assured, they’ll let you know and your profiles can easily be overwhelmed with negative posts. Social media will not miraculously save your Brand if it is rubbish, so be sure to have your house in order before growing your online presence.
Enable Effective Social Listening
Monitor social channels and conversations. Effective social media management requires continuously listening to your prospects and customers and there are numerous tools, both free-ium and paid, available. Identify relevant keywords and hashtags and create alerts for terms and phrases. Are users praising your brand? If no, what issues are they having with your product/service? Are multiple complaints being identified; suggesting a trend and symptoms of something bigger? Or is this a one-off (vocal) complainant?
Deliver Proactive and Responsive Customer service
Customers expect a quick response via social media and you must address online complaints in real time. As your customers have the ability to amplify their complaints through multiple channels, an unprepared respondent may feel pressured to overpromise what is possible. Be sure to have guidelines, set response expectations, and deliver within those guidelines. Also review your customer experience: Are your staff members doing all that they need to do to ensure that they are delighting your customers with every interaction? Are team members solving problems quickly, and to the satisfaction of your customers? What are the standard turnaround times for responding to customer complaints?
For a company actively engaging in social media, it is more important than ever to remember that happy customers are the driving force of business success. Social media empowers users, providing an easily accessible megaphone to have their complaints heard. Implementing best practices will ensure that your Brand isn’t unnecessarily placed in the line of fire.