By: Victoria Guskiewicz
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have progressed into developing platforms for marketing and advertising. Social media provides a stage for consumers to voice their comments and feedback with ease through the click of a button without ever having to physically go to a store. Thus the rise of social media now makes the customer complaining process, easy, and more efficient than ever. Never before have consumers been able to reach out so effortlessly and directly to a brand as they now can through social media channels. The reality is, customer service expectations are constantly rising, and consumers are looking for their favorite brands to stand up to these expectations. This article describes, the good, the bad, and the ugly of crises management through social media, and offers advice to businesses and management of how to handle these situations and prevent a major public crisis from occurring.
These public relations “catastrophes” can offer both opportunities as well as various threats for companies. The way that a situation on social media plays out relies heavily on the company’s ability to respond quickly and in an effective manner to resolve consumer’s problems and needs. The article gives excellent insight and examples for companies to be able to respond and handle various situations before they spiral out of control. The biggest take away is to remain aware of your customers, and always be present on social media. There are a lot of various services and tools available to companies to support them. For example, Google Alerts is now easily available to business. It is also important to take into account whether or not a company responds publicly or privately to consumer complaints. This relies heavily on the company to make this important decision depending on the complaint. If they choose to respond publicly, it is recommended only if the situation offers a simple solution, and if that solution will benefit other customers with a similar question about a product or a concern. It is recommended that businesses respond privately to customer complaints that are more serious and require more attention. Furthermore, there are many opportunities that can arise from these consumer complaints that businesses can capitalize on. Social media can offer free publicity for firms that can directly benefit them. Or they can cause serious public crises that give the company a bad reputation among consumers. In other words, companies must always keep an eye out for such complaints, and be equipped to respond appropriately. It is important for businesses to use each and every complaint as a way to brand the business in a positive way to attract new customers, and keep loyal customers happy. For many companies, negative comments, and complaints are a small price to pay for the many opportunities that come with connecting with customers online. If managed accordingly, it can turn into a positive to enhance a customer relationship and may even create a loyal returning customer for life. However, as social media continues to evolve, and matures, the looming question becomes, how will the complaining process also change?
Source: Managing Social Media Crises With Your Customers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly