Social media allows your company to do many things, one of these things is collect feedback. Feedback in the past used to be via email, telephone or comment cards. All of these are personal my nature, one providing and one receiving. Today however social media acts as your comment card and email, this changes things because the conversation or feedback now is made public.
Companies can get intimidated, put off, and ignore social media for this very reason, however I am asking you to embrace it.
You must allow your consumers to speak freely, to feel comfortable posting the good, the bad and indeed the ugly.
Our Facebook page is relatively new and we want to grow it into an online community for business folk, entrepreneurs, start-ups etc, and we consider Facebook a great platform to host such a community. Our goal is to make sure it’s a place people can share tips, ask questions, post comments about us, share things related to this community and so on. Our main goal is make this a happy place, a caring place and an open one.
Comment cards allowed people to be brutally honest and they hide behind the fact it is not face to face, but in a way this provides important feedback for the business. Feedback provides an insight to how you are perceived from a customer’s point of view. It enables you to see both your weaknesses and positives, what needs work and who needs to be praised.
Embracing social people and creating an open site means yes at times you will received negative comments, but build up your supporters and they will have your back from time to time too. Creating a fan base can give your brand credibility, spread your message for free and help you grow your company in the way you need to. I like to look at companies and I’ve found a few very successful ones have these mottos…”the customer is always right” retailer Marks and Spencer, and “the customer is boss” consumer product company P&G. Both of this company’s really where innovative in their approach when starting these. They came out of the big corporate nature of their own company and decided to make more of an effort giving the customer what they want, showing they care needless to say it worked, it worked well.
Key points for comments online: Reply to everyone! Delete nothing! And make it personal.
Social media allows you to broadcast to your audience your success, if you reach a milestone your fans want to know, if they like your product they want to share their experience. Hopefully you know how social media works, Facebook works by ‘liking’ posts, Twitter by ‘re-tweeting’.
If you are presented with a comment card and somebody says how exceptional their experience has been, would you A. Look at them blankly and then simply walk away? B. Take the comment card and put it straight into the bin, in front of their eyes? Or C. Appreciate the positive feedback, and say thank you?
A lot and I mean ALOT of companies cannot find the time to say two words….thank you. I promise you, you will be amazed at how many positive comments just get ignored.
Put your consumer cap on, you hand in a comments card to a manager, or you send an email, or find it necessary to call up, to thank someone in person. How would you feel if you were ignored? With social media the idea is to keep fans happy, if someone tries to give you a hug, hug them back, you never know next time it may be a kiss.
What I’m saying is Joe blogs may have 200 followers on Twitter and 160 friends on Facebook. If they feel the need to write praise to you, spend 5 minutes to say thank you back. They will like your comment or re-tweet it, they will mention you and re-tweet you in the future. Their best friend on Twitter may have 40,000 followers, they may have a blog or YouTube channel that you are unaware of, with thousands of viewers.
You must make everything personal and take everything seriously, the world is more public and more social than ever before. Every comment good or bad must be taken with the caution of what might happen both ways good and bad.
It’s not hard to say, “thank you (name), your feedback means a lot and we are happy you enjoyed your stay…
- please do come again
- please do tell your friends
- please share our website
- your awesome, great, amazing
- have a nice day etc,etc, etc
The fact is they will become your no 1 fan, free promoters and are essential to your growth and fan base.
Invite comments good or bad and DO NOT delete the ugly.
Think of it in the comment card scenario again, you hand one in annoyed about your service, as soon as you do you are ignored to your face, and the card in full view is ripped up and thrown in the bin. What would you do? How would you feel? Let me guess it would certainly make it worse and at the very least you are likely to tell a friend?
Today one person can do a lot if they feel they need to. People can not only share to their 200 twitter followers and share it with their 160 friends on Facebook.
Someone can quite easily set up a Facebook page and call it facebook.com/wehate(yourcompany)
And start a fan page for all your negative customers, they can also create a video which may be a song about their experience and how much they hate your company. This could become viral and seen my thousands if not millions. They could write on their blog, share with friends who could potentially do the same.
Some people out there have more Followers or fans than most so-called celebrities, now would you ignore them if they posted a negative comment?
Also reply to all comments even when bad, and guess what, this time its two words…”we’re sorry” or “I’m sorry.”
Again put your consumer hat on. If you where to post negatively on a website, Facebook page or to them on Twitter. Imagine if within 24 hours you got a reply “Were sorry you had a bad experience this time (name), due to high volumes we cannot guarantee to get it right every time, please check for a private message we just sent you.”
Now by doing this you’ve calmed the situation and got the customer to be considerate if it was a little problem, and it probably does as much good as if they left a good comment and you said thanks. You are showing you care, that you have listened (which is mainly the reason people leave comments btw…to be heard), and that you want to help.
The turning point of a private message provides you with an opportunity to go that extra mile, for example;
- discount coupon
- be creative with it, a goodie bag, a personal and more in-depth response, invitation to tour your company, a job.
I use this last one ‘a job’ because I know it has been done before. A very annoyed customer suggested ways to create a better product, the company loved it, asked for his C.V and to meet (interview) and indeed they offered the same guy a job.
These things could cost you money but it will save your reputation, it could also provide a great opportunity for an additional sale.
Firstly, people care about being noticed, secondary a personal public apology goes along way, and third the extra mile offer makes them re-think everything they previously thought.
Are bad comments but with a purpose, intent or threat etc. Always make a public apology and then provide a private message, this will stop any further comments and take it out of sight.
The message will be a contact that will deal with this direct and provide a one on one relationship to resolve the issue.
In the past companies thought saying sorry makes them legally liable for the problem, this most certainly is not the case.
Think of it this way if you hand in an angry comment, the manager apologizes and offers a free meal, or a free membership etc you’re not going to react in the same vein. I’m sure you will at the very least see what your next interaction with the company was before you do make any negative movements.
Social media allows you to grow and engage with your audience. A broadcaster or advertising based company struggles on all these platforms. The way to grow and have support is to offer that detail, to be different and care. Being human and building relationships is what all companies lack and should invest in. Think social media as ROE and not ROI, the ROE being Return On Engagement. Your Investment should be in the time and effort to communicate and be SOCIAL.