One of the realities of social media feedback from customers is that it would feel more comfortable to not receive that feedback at all—the harsher stuff at least—in an open forum.
It’s undeniably nicer to have your customers voice their complaints to you directly and discreetly rather than hit the social media ‘‘airwaves’’ with them. So, one part of dealing with social media feedback from customers is to reduce the need for it by making sure your customers know, as directly as possible, how to reach you.
Think about it this way: If your friend saw you had your fly undone, would he tweet about it? No, he’d quietly tell you. [And if nobody tells you when you’re fly is undone, you clearly have no friends!]
Use the same principle to your advantage here. Why should customers address issues to you indirectly via Twitter or their blogs when they can use email, the phone, or a feedback form on your website and know that it will be answered—immediately and with empathy?
With their round-the-clock access to the social airwaves, make sure that the first impulse of customers is to reach you—day or night:
• Have ‘‘chime in’’ forms everywhere; this is akin to building escape valves for steam into your machinery.
• Where your FAQ’s fail to answer customer questions, be sure you offer a direct, immediate way to get a personal response by chat, telephone, or email.
• Don’t send out mass emails to customers from “please do not reply” addresses—your goal is to make it easy to reply.
You get the picture. If you’re Amazon.com or another online aggregator, with a vast product line that’s supplied in large part by outside vendors, your sensitivity to open conversations will be lowered; your customers can let off steam with zero downside for your overall brand. But most of us, obviously, aren’t Amazon.com.From Micah Solomon – author, keynote speaker, consultant on customer service excellence, sales, branding, and transforming company cultures in our socially connected world.
See Micah in action — including video and free resources — at http://www.micahsolomon.com. Or, click here for your own free chapter of Micah Solomon’s customer service bestseller,” Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization.”