There are key aspects to the social media landscape that all businesses need to be mindful of or risk embarrassment or failure. As an example, I recently had the most frustrating and appalling experience with my ISP’s call centre. To cut a long story short, with no resolution in sight and with apparently no way to be able to voice my dissatisfaction to anyone with any authority, I went to the ISP’s Facebook page and left a pretty blunt post.
You would think when you have submitted two online support requests (plus another while on the phone to [ISP Name]) and are told that no requests were received that someone in the call centre would be interested in looking into the fault. Then when you ask who you can email to report the problem and voice your dissatisfaction they won’t give you an email address, instead saying you need to submit a support request – using the same support request form that hasn’t worked in the past! Come on [ISP Name], sharpen up and when someone wants to write an email of complaint at least have the courtesy of providing them with a means to do so. Or is this a policy of ‘zero complaints’?
I have never resorted to social media to vent my frustrations, as I am normally more than capable at getting this across by phone or email. So this was new territory for me and I was interested to see what the response would be.
Now it was on a Friday evening so I didn’t expect a prompt response. To my surprise within about 15 minutes there was response on Facebook with a contact email and their commitment to fix the problem.
Social media could make or break you
What this highlighted was that although the call centre experience rated 1/10 (that’s being generous) and clearly wasn’t a priority for them, they recognised that social media could make or break them. Because of this they had dedicated people to respond quickly to any negative feedback that appeared. To their credit, the problem was fixed as promised.
And potentially that is the downside to social media. You don’t have to be a big brand to be on the receiving end of bad publicity, but you do have to be prepared to act on it appropriately. If this company had chosen to dismiss or play-down the negative posts they get, this would have an incredibly detrimental effect on their brand. They recognise they are in the type of industry that consumers love to hate, and that we get very vocal about bad experiences with internet and other telecommunications companies.
By being pro-active to bad feedback they manage to keep their brand reputation in tact. So if you are going to have a high profile on social media, you need to be prepared for the odd brickbat, because not everyone who goes to your page is going to have had a great customer experience and want to congratulate you for a job well done.
How effectively you handle the situation will be out there in a public forum for all to see, so it pays to get it right.
By Aaron Enright