Noted speaker and author Christopher Lee once famously said, “Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what Google says it is.”
In today’s age of always-on, 24/7/365 social media awareness, your brand can be trashed before you ever even know that it has happened. When you get a difficult client’s complaint it may be very tempting to lash out and put them in their place, but not so fast. How you respond to a negative comment can mean the difference between building brand champions and having the twitterverse eviscerate your brand’s image.
But how should you respond? Who should respond? What should they say and do? Unless your clients are 100% happy 100% of the time, you probably need to think about these things.
The key with handling a social media crisis is to have a game plan ahead of time. Some things to consider as you develop your social media response plan:
Who will respond to a negative comment? Do you have a separate customer service twitter handle? Companies like Nike do, and the team that monitors this twitter handle as well as the main @Nike twitter handle, are charged with being the front line of defense against complaints and negative comments. Will a single individual be charged with handling customer responses, a team, or will use a social media moderation company? Companies like ICUC do a great job of real time monitoring social channels for companies that need to keep their brand image intact.
How will they respond? This is not as cut and dry of an issue as it may seem on the surface. Normally, you’d just do what it takes to make the person behind the tweet happy, but that’s not always possible. Plus there are cases where some degree of research must be done before giving a response. There may be regulatory or legal implications. In certain instances, complaints should be escalated to executives or even legal. The key is to know what constitutes those cases. Is the person in charge of responding empowered to act to make the individual happy? Just something to think about.
When should they respond? The answer to this should be ASAP! If you wait until business hours, it could be too late. 5 hours in real hours is an epoch in the social media world. A complaint in the virtual world can span the globe (literally) in that time. That’s why 24 hour moderation is best where viable.
This is an example of what not to do:
Let’s face it; generally speaking the buying public is pretty forgiving, particularly when you own up to your mistakes. The worst thing you can do is to try to spin the situation. Take Boloco as an example:
Boloco owned it! They responded immediately. They clarified the situation. Took ownership of the situation and strived to resolve it. Their reward?
Sincerity and honesty can take you a long way in real-life relationships and online relationships are no different. For example, statistics show that a person is 79% more likely to try a brand again if they respond to a complaint. That’s a powerful statistic! You may not be able to resolve the complaint to their satisfaction every time, but by trying you can gain brand champions and develop a positive brand image.
Do you have a twitter complaint story you’d like to share? Let us know. We’d love to hear it!