I recently inquired with a local company via their Twitter about how I should contact them if need be; they had changed the company name, the twitter account had a link to the new website which when you clicked on it, took you to a page that said ‘website coming soon’ and there was no telephone number or email address to be found….so naturally I sent them a tweet! I waited 3 days for a response and received nothing, so I sent the same tweet –
“Hi @xxx how do we get in contact with you for support now?”
The response that came finally was less than disappointing –
“Sorry, we don’t monitor Twitter for support”
Not only is that a poor response, but you do realise that its 2015 and refusing to monitor Twitter for support is nothing short of a bad business decision. Further to that you still haven’t answered my original question! I still don’t have any contact details and you have dismissed my Twitter inquiry! What’s a girl to do?
To put things into perspective, Twitter has 232 million active monthly users and 500 million tweets are sent every single day. With these sheer volumes of users engaging each day it’s clear to see why ‘social media care’ should be high on the agenda for every company and why ignoring complaint tweets is a flawed business decision.
45% of Twitter users use the social platform to complain – that’s around 104 million users (and a lot of potential complaints!) Think of twitter as your “social telephone”; many businesses wouldn’t dream of ignoring phone calls for hours, but are more than happy to ignore complaint tweets from their customers, fearing that the public nature of the complaint will draw negative press to the company.
Let’s be honest, people use social media platforms to complain BECAUSE of the public nature and brands should feel obliged to respond! And actually failing to acknowledge any tweet directed at the business is considered poor form, let alone one where a complaint has been made. It is in every businesses best interest to respond to complaints or enquiries directed at them on social channels because failing to do so will attract negative attention in its masses and can hinder future business because people will have no faith in your ability to meet their expectations. In more recent cases, customers whom have felt that their complaint was not being listened too, have taken to taking their complaint to a wider audience and the next level by using sponsored posts – proving that ignoring complaints may influence your customers to go to drastic measures with potentially disastrous consequences for your business.
There are however, some businesses that are going out of their way to become the ‘poster boys’ of social media;
- JetBlue are so hot on customer service they monitor and track keywords and relevant hashtags to make sure they respond to anyone talking about them.
- Nike have a separate account purely for customer service queries and issues and they are ALL about quick response times.
- VirginMobile are renowned for their empathetic and personal responses, each operator signs off using their initials.
Most of the time, all the customers want is a timely and empathetic response, in fact a Maritz study reported that 83% of customers that complained remained loyal to the brand because they responded to the complaint. Using complaints to showcase your brands ability to engage with your customers, the fact that you use a human element and are not a faceless company will enable you to relish the opportunity to develop strong, trusting and lengthy relationships.
The first question you need to ask yourself is, ‘How important is customer service to your business?’ The answer of course, should be ‘business critical’ and if this IS your answer, incorporating social media into your customer service strategy should be your next move. Especially when you look at the statistics surrounding the reasons customers stay or leave – Bain & Company report that a customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price or product.
So with that in mind it’s important that there are some clear objectives set for the way that complaints and enquiries are dealt with;
- Be aware that it is in your best interest to acknowledge and respond to all tweets and brand mentions (Nike have 4 million followers and manage it – you can manage it)
- Set a time frame in which tweets should be responded too – most users expect responses within one hour, but the average is around 4.
- The tone for responses should be empathetic, polite and professional (even when this is the last way you would like to react!) mimicking the language used and signing of with initials gives the responses a personal touch.
- Be helpful! Provide links to anything that will resolve an issue or query, it helps if you write helpful blog posts that you can link back too!
Providing excellent customer care over social media is not a difficult task, it becomes difficult when you are required to firefight bad PR. There are 3 steps – be vigilant, be empathetic and find a resolution.