Here’s a general observation I’ve developed in the recent months: Everyone is a critic. I will be the first to admit that I’m one of those people. From product reviews I’ve read online, to Food Network reality shows I’ve watched – all this has made me believe that I am an expert on subjects ranging from cell phones to cupcakes. And I’m not the only one. With the explosion of social media in the last several years, conversations and complaints that people were once having in private via comment cards, e-mails or phone calls are now blasted out in the public forum. In college, I worked customer service at a popular pizza chain. We would hear in our meetings that a customer who had a bad experience would tell 8-10 people on average. Well now the average Facebook user has 130 friends, and most Twitter accounts are public. Add in the fact that it takes literally seconds for someone to send a picture or Tweet via their mobile, and now the number of people that know your crappy experience has multiplied greatly!
This knowledge can leave some companies, especially start ups, a little more than cautious about creating a social account where people can vent openly about your business or product, even tag you in their posts. What is a company to do? The answer is two-fold.
1. Go!! Make that Twitter account, don’t shy away! But be prepared on how to deal with the situations that could arise. We’ve already talked about how you need to keep your social media active, relevant and current, and how you need to make social media work for your company. But how does one deal with the onslaught of complaints, frustrations and dissatisfied customers? Some brands have taken to using their accounts to respond directly to customer complaints. Some have even created separate accounts that solely carry out customer service functions. Trust me – it IS important to stay attentive to your audience. Currently only about 20% of brands use their social media to combat the issue of customer dissatisfaction. However, in all my years of customer service, I’ve also learned that there is just no pleasing certain people. Whether the experience was that bad, or you are just dealing with a difficult person, you must face the truth that you can’t always win. Don’t get discouraged though! What you need to do is this:
2. Create your own story! Again, it’s important to show your awareness when customers have problems. However don’t fall into a trap of creating conversation that is centered around “damage control”. Create your own story instead. Goodwill gestures like giveaways and customer appreciation deals will create positive conversation about your brand. If you can make even 1 person post a picture of a dozen cupcakes they just won in a giveaway – you’ve created hundreds, maybe even thousands of positive impressions and started a social conversation about your company on YOUR terms.
So think about what you can do to write your own social story. Need some guidance? Rock Candy Media can help, just give us call!