You would like to think that all brands understand the shift in technology, and by doing so are getting social with their audiences. This means that brands interact with their audiences, and reply to their comments. Social media is the prime spot which customers are coming to sing or withhold your praise, and your inability to pay attention to them will cost you money in the long run.
Take the company Nintendo (of Canada) for example. As a gaming company (literally, people can actually play your product online), you would think that Nintendo (of Canada) would want to do everything in their power to keep their audience happy. If not happy, then at the very least, appease their audience, however, despite the community concern, Nintendo (of Canada) stays completely quiet on social channels as they post thought-provoking content, but engage with no one.
Remember, It’s the people who love your product who have given you the reputation, which you hold. Therefore, as a business, of any size or credibility, it is your job to go above and beyond to let your social audience know that you care because that’s where your audience is. People are living on their phones and tablets. Is really not possible to say that social media doesn't matter or isn't making an influence because it is.
As we move forward and stride further into this millennial-driven culture, we easily see that the world is living and breathing on social. Social media is the place where people come to make testimonials and complaints, but also the place they come to for information, answers and help. It is a huge market of business, which is crucial to many industries and should not be ignored.
Nintendo (of Canada) is one example of many who need to implement strategies to address the massive amount of social interaction and discontent of their customers. People are creating GIFs of Pikachu crying saying things like, "I can't find the NES Classic!” People are ignoring the content of Nintendo’s social media, and instead, posting complaints, making suggestions and asking questions about products. Isn't this a gold mine for Nintendo (of Canada)? An offered up analysis of games and products, which can be improved over time?
Hiring someone to address the concerns on social will help to improve the quality of the brand. It will let the world know that Nintendo (of Canada) cares about its customer.
While every company chooses a different social media strategy, it is the global recommendation that Social Media Managers address customer feedback (positive or negative), whether this done on a larger scale or through an intimate capacity. Communications needs to be made.
Canadian company Lululemon currently has over 10 employees who are hired solely for the purpose of social media management. On the wave of the now, Lululemon ensures that every customer gets addressed and that engagements aren’t ignored. Businesses should value their customer and take their insight seriously, as it’s those people who want to see the best for your brand. It's those people who will become return shoppers.
Maintaining customer loyalty is a part of the goal, but also is maintaining business. One Nintendo (of Canada) customer is so frustrated by the lack of product that he threatens “or I am done with Nintendo”, and this comment is "liked" by three people. That’s four people who potentially think less of your brand because you did nothing to address the problem. A simple, “we empathize with your frustration and are working hard to resolve this matter. Or, “we value you as a customer and appreciate your patience, and in all honesty, are working hard to solve the matter” --can go a long way. Why? Because people don’t waste their efforts not to be heard. You always want a response, especially when it’s regarding something you want to buy. People hate to be ignored, it infuriates them. Imagine you worked hard on an important (perhaps emotional) message, and that person never got back to you. Wouldn’t it make you feel terrible? It would certainly make you feel less about the person on the other end. People will lose interest in a brand if they aren’t good to their people. Customer services and good service overall are more important than your product. As a business, you have to be more than just a product, you have to be a movement.
Millions of people are reaching out and are using social media as a platform to do this. It is highly discouraging to post something positive about your company, only to have it swarmed with complaints. You have to get into the mindset of now and acknowledge how technology is changing the world. People want to interact online, they want to buy and return products online, and they want to complain online. People expect customer service on social media. If a walk-in customer had an issue, would you ignore them? No, you’d respond promptly and do whatever you could to make the sale or ensure that the customer is happy. We live in a world where we learn about each other’s lives online, and use apps to tell us how much to tip or find out how close a cab is. According to a study from Maritz Research and Evolve24 about 70% of customers complaining on social media are largely ignored. From a universal standpoint, this is considered seriously bad business.
Social media is no passing fad—it is only going to get bigger, brighter and bolder. Baby’s favorite toy isn’t her doll anymore, it’s her iPad! As we evolve, social media is the communication channel that more and more buyers are turning to. The customer experience management company, Market Force, points out:
"The emergence of social media has given consumers a whole new way to interact with the brands they love — and a forum to complain when brands disappoint. But what many companies have learned is just how powerful connecting one-on-one with customers can be when those consumers take the time to post."
In other words, if a customer makes the effort to contact you by means of social media, you better respond. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a bad position. Here are three key reasons why you should not do this:
1. Customers Hate Being Neglected
Hypothetically when customers use social media to make a complain it’s likely because that company has already failed to satisfy that customer through traditional customer service channels. They’re also upset, so pushing them on through inaction and ignorance is ill advised. Social media customers might bring up issues you as a company are trying to avoid discussing, but you still need to address it in some regard.
As mentioned, social media will dictate how people feel about you. A study from Conversocial found that the way customers are treated on social media has a considerable effect on their feelings toward a company. In fact, if ignored by companies on social media sites:
- 45% would be angry
- 27.1% would stop doing business with the company completely
- The Customer Experience Impact Report for Oracle reports even more important stats: 50% of consumers give a brand only one week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them
- 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience
It is noted that if you do not reply within a week, your customers may switch to a competitor.
2. Other Customers Are Observing
When upset consumers use social media to complain, the whole world is watching. The people who are curious about you and your products will check out your social media to learn more—it’s like your page in the phone book (your customer comments are your reviews). This obviously includes current and potential customers, as stated, people who were once loyal can easily become turned off. When you ignore an issue so strongly people lose the respect they once had for your business.
Conversocial discovered that approximately 88% of customers will do business with a company that ignores social media made complaints. Believe it for not, but people will pay extra for a better customer experience.
3. You Can Switch a Negative into a Positive
People just want to be heard. You will learn how easy it is to appease people with a simple reply or alternative acknowledgment. Regardless of whether or not you can resolve the problem, the fact that you’re listening and show that you care, goes a long way. People just want to know that their desires are valued and that the business will do what they can to meet your needs. For example, The Maritz study reported 83% of complaints who got a reply, appreciated and liked the fact that the company replied. Customer experience can be improved by the simple gesture of a response. This can even lead to positive testimonials about your business. It was found by Oracle that 22% of customers who got a reply ended up posting a positive remark about the company.
Assign a role (or adding this responsibility to a current role) with the task of replying to customer feedback via social media even the positive stuff—is imperative. It takes two seconds to like a post, and it makes customers feel loved, but it also withholds your loyalty with your audience. People like real, brands that they can relate. People they can feel good about giving their money too. If you get too exclusive in your ways, people will start to shy away.
Provide guidelines for relevance, and decide what deserves a response and what doesn’t. Construct a social media engagement policy that adheres to all of your company policies. If you prefer not to offer full support via social media, redirect complainants by responding with other contact information, such as email or telephone number. Though, social media really is the best way to catch them at once.
- Whatever channel of communication you settle on, remember to do the following when dealing with complaints:
- Listen. You can improve your business, takes this feedback wisely.
- Don’t get aggressive or rude, try not to make excuses, but certainly apologize for how they are feeling –trying to empathize with them.
- Empathy will help you acknowledge the customer’s concerns from their point of view.
- Be grateful. Say thank you, and show appreciation that they took the time to provide helpful insight.
When you draw a blind eye to customer feedback on social media, you miss out on the chance to make positive tweaks and changes to your products and services. You never know what someone might throw your way—it could be the next big thing. Social media helps you stay connected to your fan base like even if we’re all so far apart, we’re still so close together! Make a real connection with people, because most importantly, if you don’t, you lose customers entirely.
And it goes without saying that without customers, you have no business at all.