Social media has completely changed the internet from few closed web pages to an orchestra with large number of musicians playing in amplified voices. Social media is an important tool for businesses that allows them to connect, interact, engage and establish trust with the existing customer base plus the prospective clients. In the era of consumer driven marketing we may call word of mouth as the best form of marketing, but we should never lose sight of the fact it is also the worst form of marketing. Connecting and engaging with customers is a great way to present the humanitarian side of the organization and generating trust. But the devastation starts when something goes awry and negative responses starts flooding in. While some might consider it as devastation others might see it as a great opportunity to provide real feedback and resolution. While social media may provide spark to the complaint boxes, responding timely to the complaints can showcase company’s strong commitment towards customer satisfaction and excellence.
There are different ways organizations plan to respond to critical negative feedback, however using the right strategy at the right point of time can do wonders to the image of the organization. On a survey carried out in the hospitality industry it was found that out of the customers who posted a negative feedback; 33% turned around and posted a positive one after a response from the organization and 34 % deleted their original negative remarks.
An ignored customer always gives way to an ignored company. While many managers feel that Head in the Sand approach is the right way to tackle criticism, however neglecting negative feedback never resolves the issues rather poses an image that the organization is not concerned about its customers and their values.
Pressing a “DEL” on a customer feedback, might invoke a counter “Shift+DEL” from the customer towards the companies. Deleting a customer feedback might hide it but it only heightens the anger that the customer has against the organization. It is important for organizations to access what is to be deleted and what is to be not. While popular networking sites have wider reach and heavy traffic so nothing goes unseen; an ignorant attitude on such platforms might cause an exponential increase in the negative responses. Company should have always maintain a proper plan of action; responding to every piece of feedback on the internet might not be the best solution, so organizations would properly access what needs a reply and what can be ignored.
Social media represents a real and legitimate customer, one that has raised real concerns based on hardcore realities. The platforms of service might have changed but customer service stills remains as the core nucleus of marketing may it are over a telephone, over a desk or a social media website. Always remember customer is always right- no matter how wrong he is! Be sure to empathise, apologise and offer a resolution.
Apology and a solution; “I apologise for the inconvenience and we will make sure to correct the things immediately. Brands sometimes forget that handling complaints over the internet is more or less similar to handling complaints from an individual over the desk. This approach helps turn a dissatisfied customer into a brand evangelist. An individual who buys a company’s product, connects with the organization on the social networking front is surely the one loyal to the brand. A loyal customer would always want the organization to respect the customer’s needs and emotions. Effective grievance handling procedures provide great word of mouth publicity for the organization presenting its humanitarian side and customer value.