Whether companies like it or not, social media has become a major player in the world of customer service today. Disgruntled customers often turn to these outlets to vent their displeasure with a specific product or company. Others head online to find out which businesses their friends and family recommend for a wide variety of goods and service. Companies that learn to make the most of these channels will be in a prime position to take customer service quality to the next level. This reality may be particularly true when it comes to social media complaints.
Lack of Response
A recent survey found that less than one-third of companies that receive complaints via Twitter ever respond to those complaints. The research, which was conducted by Maritz and Evolve 24 and reported on Convince and Convert, found this to be true despite the fact that customer satisfaction could be greatly enhanced by a simple Tweet from the company in question. It does seem the logical moral of this story is that if companies want to use social media to their advantage, they must first actively engage in the network so they can respond to customer complaints and concerns promptly.
It isn’t just that one customer that tweeted that companies have the opportunity to satisfy. Keep in mind that social media is a widespread presence today. When someone complains about a company on Facebook or Twitter, that complaint is seen by dozens or even hundreds of viewers. Some complaints may even go viral, opening the exposure to a global level.
That said, the same network that allows bad news to travel like wildfire can also be the tool used by companies to manage customer dissatisfaction in a very public forum. Companies can show other customers and prospective clients they are willing to respond to complaints and do everything in their power to right a wrong. This process is one relatively easy way for a company to build trust and confidence throughout a relatively wide market base.
Keep it Speedy
As companies begin to interact with customers on social media, it is important to keep in mind that the rules of the game are very different in this medium. When a customer calls or emails a business, they may give that company a number of hours to respond before frustration sets in. On social media, that time frame is often reduced to a matter of minutes. Companies need to understand the urgency associated with social media and respond appropriately, in order to maintain a positive relationship with that customers and others that might be looking on.
In a brick-and-mortar establishment, disgruntled customers may simply leave the store vowing never to return. The company may never know why the customer left – indeed, the company may not even be aware of the fact that they lost a customer in the first place.
Complaining customers provide an opportunity for companies to retain an unhappy customer, whether the customer vents in person, by email or on Facebook. Companies that learn to manage those complaints across all channels will be more likely to build and retain a loyal and happy customer base.