No one can underestimate the importance of customer service. Studies have long shown the value of a long term customer retention vs. the cost of recruitment of a shiny new one. We have increasingly seen the re-structure of companies to prioritise CRM programmes, and of course social media which is (rightly or wrongly- that’s another article) viewed as a valued CRM touch point.
Traditionally dealing with customer complaints was a 1 on 1 experience, whispered in hushed tones down the telephones or scrawled onto a piece of paper and mailed into the ether. Social media, as with most things, has flipped this process on its head. Now customer complaints and issues are aired for all to see – including stakeholders, competitors and most importantly those other customers whom you are pretty keen to hang on to.
I actively encourage my clients to be open and transparent when they enter into social media as this tends to have a direct correlation on success, so I am obviously not trying to say that we shouldn’t be dealing with complaints in this space. We absolutely should. Isn’t it better to try and mend a fractured relationship and have a conversation with that individual rather than let them go and have that exact same conversation with ten friends instead of you?
My problem, however, is that social media law is never to argue, debate or reason with a customer on your page, and more often than not bow down fearfully in front of the thousands of watchful eyes. But what about if the customer’s complaints are inaccurate, untrue or just plain fabrications? Where is the line between defending your brand and reputation to all those other customers and being acquiescent?
What I have found from working in social media is that consumers, above anything, value honesty—even to my surprise if the answer they are given isn’t to their liking. This has given me the confidence to say that in 2013 I want to see a few more brands showing their teeth and defending their patch. If we have evidence that complaints are untrue or unjust then we should be confident in showcasing that.
2013 should be the year of no shit in social. Stand up for your brand and remember the importance of the people watching and their right to an honest and truth representation of your brand in social spaces.
- Abi Morrish is an account director at Fuse. @AbiMorrish