Social Media and Customer Service
We work with a variety of different-sized businesses, but I find that many of the smaller ones have a lot of questions and sometimes even apprehensions about putting social media to work for them. I would say that 1 out of every 10 conversations that I have with these owners regarding Facebook, Twitter, etc., has this sentence in it:
“I am afraid to use social media because people will use it to complain about my business, and everyone will see that.”
Here’s what I think about this:
If you really think that many of your customers are going to complain about your company and services, you’ve got a lot more to worry about than social media.
What about all the ones who want to talk about how great your service is? Don’t they matter?
They do, Mr. or Ms. Business Owner. They matter big time.
I cannot tell you how many times I have personally sent out a love message to brands regarding service that I have received (naming staff, too, I might add) or how amazing their new widget is only to be met with the sounds of crickets.
Nothing. No “Hey @KristenDaukas, we’re so glad you enjoyed your new widget!” No "What do you like most about it?" (and missing a good opportunity to see what's working). No acknowledgement whatsoever. I just gave you a huge box of love, and you’re not listening?
Are you kidding me?
Companies are so hypersensitive to monitoring the BAD that filters thru the social media channels and addressing those concerns that they miss a huge opportunity to address the POSITIVE pieces of news and virtual "fist bumps.”
I realize there are a lot of community managers doing damage control because they have to. Addressing customer issues and putting out fires is a vital piece of social media. Without it, many brands would never know about the issues their customers are experiencing. People, by nature, are much quicker to complain than to compliment. They have been subconsciously programmed into thinking that if they yell loud enough, they’ll get what they want.
How did this happen, you ask? Not only have we developed this habit of rewarding bad behavior, we EXPECT it.
You don’t like your meal? Don’t pay for it. You don’t like the room? Here’s a free night's stay. We don’t have your size? Here’s a 50% discount.
So you give them what they want and what... they love you forever? They go away? Do you think they’ll make as much noise about how you resolved the issue? Do you think they’ll become brand ambassadors for you?
Maybe. Maybe not. Even if they do, I doubt the “love” will last very long.
What if we took a page from the Dr. Spock parenting books and did a better job of rewarding the GOOD behavior?
Consider this...When is there a better time to make a brand lover even happier than when they’re already happy? If I’m tweeting how amazing your company, service, or product is, imagine what I’m going to do when you acknowledge that love. I am going to turn around and blow even more sunshine around the world about you. There won’t be a person within earshot who won’t know how amazing you are. Sliced bread will have nothing on you.
And that’s just from the FIRST exchange.
What about when we start to have a conversation and share witty banter?? Wow... we’re FRIENDS now!! And I don’t EXPECT a thing. Nothing. If you choose to give me a little freebie love, that’s only going to make me happier and make me talk more. And then what happens if someone says something bad about my friend?? What do friends do? They protect you, of course! That very passionate person all of a sudden becomes your biggest ally.
See where I am going with this? It’s all in your approach—glass half full versus half empty.
Are there people who do nothing but complain? Yes. Are there more people who want to see you succeed? Yes.
Do them a favor and let them help you.