In this day and age, social media can have a big impact on the health of your business. While Foursquare check-ins and positive tweets can go far to bring in new customers, unanswered customer complaints over social media can result in tarnished reputations, a loss in customers and a fall in revenue. You’d think this would be common knowledge by now, but judging by the way some brands interact with customers on Twitter, the news hasn’t hit home yet. Shockingly, the majority of brands are unprepared to handle negative social media attention from dissatisfied customers, according to a new report by Social Media Marketing University (SMMU).
Social Media Customer Service Strategies
In a recent survey of 1,036 social media strategists, C-Level executives and entrepreneurs, SMMU found that over 55% of brands have no effective strategy for managing customer complaints on social media. Of these, 24.5% plan to develop a strategy, 23.4% do not plan to develop a strategy at all and 7.6% use ineffective strategies.
Even brands that do have strategies in place need to be quicker to respond to customer complaints. SMMU’s survey found that only 17.6% of brands respond to complaints within an hour, compared to 52.2% that respond within 24 hours and 21.4% that rarely or never respond to customer complaints over social media.
This reality is exasperated by the fact that most brands receive customer complains over social media at some frequency. According to SMMU’s survey:
- 58.2% of brands receive customer complaints via social media “occasionally”
- 10.9% receive them “somewhat often”
- 4.9% receive them “very often”
On top of this, these brands have been harmed as a result of the negative social media attention. 26.1% have had their reputations damaged, 15.2% have lost customers and 11.4% have lost revenue. Yet they still don’t plan better social media customer service strategies?
Meeting Customers’ Expectations on Social Media
When a brand sets up shop on a social network, customers expect those platforms to be a place where they can engage with the company and have their voices heard. If a brand treats its Twitter or Facebook profile as a one-way street for marketing its goods, though, and doesn’t respond to what its customers have to say, well, that brand won’t be very successful. As SMMU founder John Souza said, brands need to aware of the responsibility that comes with social media:
So many brands are buying into the ‘friending equals spending’ mentality. They want the benefits of social media but aren’t truly aware of the investment of effort that’s required to see a return. As a result, this lack of effort rarely produces desired results and can lead to alienation of customers, fans and followers. It can even escalate to a backlash of negativity.
If you want to maintain happy customers, please: don’t get lazy with social media. Use your social channels to seek your customers’ feedback and engage them in conversations. And be prepared for the moment when a customer publicly shames your brand on social media. Decide ahead of time which of your team members will take the reigns and how they will win your customer back. Your efforts will go a long way!