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Tag Archives: Social Media Marketing

Responding to customer complaints on social media

Bridget B. No Comments

“Dear John, we are so sorry to hear you had a problem with our product. Could you please go to our website, click on this link and fill out this form so that our customer service department may have a better understanding of your problem and serve future customers better?”

Many big corporations have dedicated entire departments to Social Media. Social Media teams interact with consumers via platforms such as Twitter and Facebook everyday–responding to queries and addressing complaints. One common trend I have noticed with many companies, is asking consumers who have posted a complaint via Social Media to go to the company’s website and fill out a customer complaint form. Every time I see the company respond to the complaint and then proceed to provide the customer with a link to fill out more information, I cringe.

If a customer is so upset they took to Social Media, why would you think they want to help you in addressing the problem by spending additional time writing a detailed description of the issue?! Why give the customer additional work because of your mistake? This is a sure way to lose some of your best clientele.

Another way to respond to complaints via Social Media would be to:

  1. Publicly apologize for inconveniencing the consumer and make sure to publicly assure the customer that your company will take every step necessary to rectify the problem.
  2. Privately contact the consumer and ask them for their contact information (private email or phone number). Make it YOUR business to get the entire story and go out of YOUR way to ensure the customer feels as though their concerns have been addressed.

Making the customer feel as though they matter to your company is one of the best ways to ensure customer loyalty, despite any negative experiences they may have had with your brand.

Like human beings businesses make mistakes too. Forgiveness is possible if the response is appropriate.

 

Using Social Media to Enhance Your Organizational Reputation

Bridget B. 1 Comments

I recently did a research paper which focused on how–if at all–organizations use digital communication tools in reputation management. The results of my study showed that online communication between organizations and their publics is in fact being used as a means of managing corporate reputation. More importantly, I found that specific tactics such as active listening and engaged responses lay the foundation for reputation management via online communication.

Let’s just talk about social media –blogs, microblogging (e.g. Twitter), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), professional networks (e.g. LinkedIn), video sharing 9e.g. YouTube) and content driven communities (e.g. Wikipedia)– these mediums have all significantly altered the way that businesses provide services, interact with their stakeholders and manage their reputations.

Stakeholders now use social media to comment on a company’s actions in public forums. Customers Tweet to companies and expect immediate feedback, investors conduct their due diligence online and employees leave reviews about their experience at the workplace on Glassdoor.com. Recently someone posted a photograph –to Instagram and Facebook– of a store they had visited. This person was basically telling everyone on their friend list not to patronize this store because customer service was terrible. This is how your organization’s reputation can be tarnished online.

How can a business act in a situation such as the one above?

Get on social media and respond. It’s important that business owners be present on social media, not just to market their brand or product, but to listen to what is being said. Use social media to interact with your customers, answer queries, apologize for bad customer service and build strong relationships. In a 2007 study conducted by S. U. Yang, it was found that favorable organizational reputation can be obtained by quality relationship management between an organization and its strategic publics. Put simply, building strong relationships can help you to develop positive perceptions of your organization which by extension influences your overall reputation.

Here are four (4) recommendations which can be implemented if you wish to use online messaging systems to support your reputation management processes:

  1. Utilize online messaging systems to hear and address your stakeholders concerns. These messaging systems facilitate convenient instant communication between your organization and your publics. External stakeholders will not be restricted by your business hours, which usually delays responses and sometimes results in matters remaining unresolved.
  2. Your online engagement team should be trained to actively listen to customer concerns to get an understanding of the underlying issue. Training personnel in active listening helps staff to be alert for cues, which in turn helps determine the root of the issue and can significantly reduce the number of instances where customers feel as though their concerns have not been addressed. Active listening also mitigates miscommunication between the employee and the customer.
  3. Dedicated personnel should be assigned to engage with stakeholders via online mediums. Dedicated team members assigned to social media and online communication will be better prepared for customer interactions. Familiarity of the online communication system can boost efficiency and accuracy of the information communicated to the customer.
  4. All internal departments and teams should share information and collaborate to find customer solutions. Including other departments when developing the guidelines and processes for customer interaction ensures that the correct information is always communicated to the customer, reduces the risk for internal conflict as all departments are on the same page, and mitigates litigation.

Strategic use of social media for communicating with customers can positively impact your organization’s reputation. Employing specific tactics such as active listening, engaged responses and internal collaboration, you can build strong relationships with customers and empower your employees to take the necessary steps to resolve issues.  Remember that strong relationships with your stakeholders can have a significant positive effect on your organization’s reputation.

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About Blog

I blog about communication and marketing strategies for small businesses, consultants and non-profits. I am specifically interested in how digital communication can be used to improve organizational reputation and growth of the business.

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