By Jamie Berman, Account Coordinator, Consumer Group
Social media has become the soapbox of the 21st century, a swift and efficient vehicle for the world to deliver complaints 24 hours a day. When those grievances involve a specific company, they’d better be ready to quickly face the music or they may lose valued customers. In fact, according to Talk to the Manager, 58% of customer complaints voiced through Twitter never receive a response and by 2014, ignoring a complaint logged through social media channels will be as harmful as ignoring an email or phone call.
As PR practitioners, we love that social media allows us to easily and freely communicate with our audiences, but what happens when they communicate back? Here at Schneider Associates, we offer three basic rules – a code of conduct, if you will – for our clients in the social sphere. Using a recent personal incident, let’s walk through these top three rules to turn a complaint into a positive experience.
First, some background: As a recent college graduate, I’m saving money by commuting from home and chose to streamline my day by paying my MBTA commuter rail parking fee through my phone using Parkmobile. In theory, this should be efficient, but one unfortunate week I received THREE ‘nonpayment’ tickets from the MBTA despite having the digital receipts to prove otherwise.
On the evening of my third ticket, as the social media savvy often do, I took to Twitter to air my frustration. With this first “Tweet-plaint,” we will see where good social customer service can make or break your brand.
Rule #1: Scan For Potential Issues. Parkmobile had a great start; their community managers were actively looking for customer feedback and criticism, and when I woke up the next morning, I found this waiting for me:
Rule #2: Be Timely and Informative. Parkmobile representative Dee Q had responded to my inquiry overnight and within two hours of her initial tweet, my problem was resolved. I also had a nice email in my inbox with an explanation of exactly what went wrong, how Dee was fixing it, and next steps to appeal my ticket.
Rule #3: Take Proactive Measures. Dee Q could have told me how to appeal and sent me on my way, but she reached out to the MBTA and resolved the issue once and for all – for me and future customers. By doing so, she eliminated future similar complaints and kept more MBTA and Parkmobile customers happy.
Overnight (literally), Dee turned me into a brand advocate with her attentive social customer service skills. Social media is king in this digital age, and using these three rules as a foundation, you can expect to see increased brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Oh, and the best part…every ticket was dismissed! As they should be.