We Indians by nature are conservative…at least most still are! The same reflects through the cultures of the companies we set up. So when Social Media made a splash some years back, many companies still stayed away from it. They were happy with a quintessential WEBSITE and they believed they were all over the world wide web with it. People could visit their pages and acquire all the information they needed – information which the company intended to provide. What about the feedback a visitor or customer may have? Well he can write a mail for that (Psst… You see if the feedback is negative it is only between the two of us and the whole world will still believe only the good things we write about ourselves on the website)
Unfortunately what these brands did not realize was that Social media pages are not the only places where people can write negative about them. If a client is irritated, he would go to third party websites like Mouthshut, Tweet or Blog and drown your brand in a muddy puddle. The better thing to do therefore is to be more in control of what the world has to say about you. No better way to do it than being present on at least the most popular social channels. There are immense benefits that Social brings to a brand, the foremost being the ability to communicate DIRECTLY. It is challenging no doubt…but who said running a business was anything otherwise?
So what is it that a brand can do to stay Socially effective in the wake of increasing negativity from customers?
- First of all know what is being said about you and where. There are services you can subscribe to which help you keep track of all the mentions of your brand as well as the tonality. It pays to pay for these services. Unless you know what is being said, you are a sitting duck waiting for the world to shoot you off!
- Act, don’t React! Negativity never goes down well with any of us. Brands are no different. But, instead of getting emotionally carried away with the negative comments and replying back with something hurtful, try to get to the cause of the commenter’s concern. Attack the problem and give him the solution and then politely respond to his comment. There are chances that the mistake was at the customer’s end, but even that should be communicated in a manner that doesn’t offend.
- Timeliness is next to Godliness: When it comes to social media, your response time can make you or break you. If you feel that the matter is complicated and you can’t resolve it within a few hours, at least acknowledge that you are working on the matter and will come back within XX hours .
- Never shy away from a Sorry: An apology from a brand on social media, only goes on to express the human side of it. People admire brands that have a softer side to them and we all know to err is human. So don’t let ego come in between you and your customer.
- Make them happy!: Many customers take their complaints to the social media in expectation that the brand will resolve their problem. If you leave them unattended they would be more furious and may write worse things. So ensure that you not only pacify them but delight them. You do not have to try to communicate over the social channels alone. You should ensure a call goes out to them to understand their problem better and provide a solution to them. Once the problem is resolved and the customer is happy, he would under high probability go back to the forum or media and leave a good comment for you.
So brands, go all out and embrace Social…its where your prospect and customer is! Be Brave, Be Social!
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