Overcoming the Fear of Embracing Social Customer Feedback

shout! by su neko

Some brands are actively scared about using their social channels to provide customer services, but they don’t realise the opportunity they’re missing.

In general the thinking goes something like this:

  • If we let people leave negative remarks, then they will put off other potential customers.
  • It’s impossible to solve every problem through social channels – so why try?
  • If someone has to answer all the queries, that will mean having to hire more staff.

Let’s look at each of these in detail.

Firstly, it’s a mistake to believe that just because you don’t let people post negative comments on your facebook page or forum that you are somehow controlling your brand’s image throughout the entire internet.

If your customers feel truly aggrieved, then they will vent about it somewhere. In fact, some people are actively driven to be more critical of firms that they perceive to be aloof or non-responsive. Twitter comments, blog posts and Amazon reviews… just how many platforms for criticism are there, over which you have no control?

On the other hand, if customers are given an obvious place to voice their concerns that is branded, you then have a platform from which you can try and address their problems directly. You may even find that your customers’ complaints highlight a key problem or offer a suggestion that you can implement. In addition you may also find that other customers are in a position to join in and also offer advice or explanations as part of a community.

Brand advocates and other engaged customers frequently play a significant role in defending, promoting and objection handling for their favourite brands. As they are not directly employed to do this their words and opinions sometimes carry more weight that official responses as their responses are genuine and more impartial.

Secondly, you shouldn’t expect you social channels to replace all your other customer service roles, or to be able to deal with every single query. Customers often just want signposts to a solution or to be guided towards what they are looking for, and they are happy to be told the correct means of solving their problem if it gets them closer to a final resolution.

The speed of response (even if you’re only saying “we’ll look into this”) is the key aspect here, though the opportunity for direct dialogue does allow you to begin building a relationship.

Finally, while it’s true that there are set up costs with implementing any Social CRM strategy, if this is done correctly you will not only be keeping your customers happy, you’ll be ensuring that they actually remain your customers. Beyond this, as you build relationships and develop your strategy, you will also have a tremendous opportunity to upsell to these customers as you begin to benefit from their improved perception of your brand.

In the long-term you will also see additional sales driven by word of mouth as your customers share their positive experiences. Don’t forget – no brand ever lost customers from providing customer service that was too responsive.

So while some brands keep their heads in the sand and remain scared of using social media tools as a customer service channel, just ask yourself – can you afford not to?

Photo (cc) su neko.