When you tell people that you work with social media they immediately picture you spending your day tweeting funny pictures and browsing Facebook, the reality is very different. Running a brand’s social media account is so much different to running a personal one. One major difference is the audience; we’ve reached a stage where customers […]
When you tell people that you work with social media they immediately picture you spending your day tweeting funny pictures and browsing Facebook, the reality is very different. Running a brand’s social media account is so much different to running a personal one. One major difference is the audience; we’ve reached a stage where customers expect a level of service via social media channels that’s akin to that they would receive in person. A few points to consider:
Don’t ignore people
You wouldn’t ignore a potential customer stood in your store or office, so why would you online? If anything ignoring people on your brand’s social media channel has more of a chance to spread. Sure, ignore a customer in a store and the people in that immediate vicinity may see it, do it on Twitter and with a few clicks of a mouse and a flurry of key strokes it could potentially become visible to thousands. The best course of action is to treat customers (even tricky ones) with respect and head them off at the source, think of a complaint or enquiry as a fire, the quicker you stamp it out, the better.
Take a moment to think about your reply
People complain via social channels, it’s a modern day fact and one that any brand with a social media presence will see at some point. Some may just be looking for freebies and complaining for the sake of it, but amongst them will be some genuinely upset customers, both types need to be treated in the same way. A lot of social media managers may never have worked in customer service, but it’s important that they are trained to do so. Replying with a calm approach and offering a solution to even the trickiest of customers shows any onlookers (and believe me, there will be some) that your brand cares and is ready to do whatever is within their power to help.
The temptation to delete an unsavoury comment where possible (mainly on Facebook) can be overwhelming, but this can be the equivalent of pouring gasoline on that fire we talked about earlier. When the customer sees that their complaint has been not only ignored, but also censored, there’s a good chance they will be incensed enough to replace it with further grievances or even enlist the help of their own personal network to make things worse. Companies make mistakes, nobody expects them to be perfect, and admitting to a mistake (if there is one) and offering to help rectify it can be beneficial to the company and convert a complainer into a brand ambassador. If a mistake hasn’t been made and no help can be offered then calmly explain why things are this way, you may not win back that customer but it saves anybody else reading from wondering why.
Social media can be a powerful marketing tool for companies when used properly, and that’s why so many are scrambling to get in on the act. These three points will go a long way to ensuring that your social community stays happy and you’re not the latest victim of a viral outpouring of hatred. Each company is different though, a strategy specific to your industry or company should be thought about at the very start. Staff manning social accounts need to know how to deal with any enquiries or complaints in advance. In the modern world, they are your front of house staff and represent your business in the public forum.