- Customers want fast responses when they complain, or they leave you.
- Creative and empathetic responses to complaints turn negative experience into positive.
- Social media is a powerful channel to engage and pacify complaining customers.
Dissatisfied customers want fast responses that effectively address their concerns. Therefore, a customer-centric approach to social media is to listen to and engage with complaining customers, not just dump them marketing messages unilaterally. Customer-facing staff should also be given room and training to creatively and empathetically respond to complaints, and turn negative incident into relatively positive experience.
Customers who are unhappy with your service, or don’t feel listened to, increasingly publicise their complaints on social media. They hope a wide reach of their complaints elicits a fast response. However, many organisations are still using social media mainly as a marketing tool, blasting their followers with marketing messages but ignoring customers who complain or need assistance.
Make the most out of social media
When you are offering a service, the experience is your brand. When customers are blasting you on social media, they have likely tried other attempts to resolve the issues or contact you but to no avail. Therefore, ignoring upset customers likely escalates their frustration and impacts your brand.
In fact, through social media, organisations can monitor and engage proactively with customers in public conversations. This also helps anticipate complaints and resolve issues before they are escalated. It pays off to shift front-line customer communication to service from marketing, and train staff to monitor and handle customer needs on social media.
Turn negative into positive
Things do go wrong. That’s part of life. Customers may not expect perfect service, but they do expect you to handle it satisfactorily. When a negative experience occurs, you must listen to your customers, show them that you care and are empathetic. This way, the incident can be turned into a positive one.
Ignoring customer issues is detrimental to your brand. For example, the use of hashtags such as #BrandFail is common practice among customers who are active on Twitter. It has become a tool for spreading a negative reputation online that is difficult to control.
Customers don’t complain, they leave
A competitive advantage
Customers accept that product or service failures can occur. Perform above expectation by making them feel taken seriously while resolving their issue to their satisfaction and you are performing above expectation. Customers that have experienced a well resolved service failure are more loyal than customers that have never experienced an incident. Using incidents as an opportunity to construct relationships, contributes to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Empower your staff on social media
Over 65% of customers defect because they think a service provider is indifferent to them, versus 15% that leave because they are dissatisfied with the service. Defection has little to do with the quality of the service but the quality of the relationship that is built from the beginning and over time. Investing in customer relationships improves the overall satisfaction, customer retention and loyalty.