In today’s world where instant gratification is the norm and word of mouth spreads not only in your neighbourhood but worldwide in seconds; monitoring your online reputation through all forms of social media is a must. Your customers have the power in their fingertips now, either they can ‘Like’ you on Facebook, follow you on ‘Twitter’ or blog about you – do you know what they are saying? Customer experiences whether or good or bad are shared instantaneously here are my five tips on how to prevent a customer catastrophe via social media.
1. Appoint an Online Community Manager. To try and monitor all the social media platforms out there yourself; would be a job in itself – one that you are probably too busy to do effectively. My advice: appoint a dedicated employee to do this for your company. They should monitor all sites, update pages, engage with your followers and build your online community. This community are your customers who like talking about your product or service and are therefore going a step further by engaging with your brand online. Treat them as special customers. Let them know first about upcoming discounts or new stock arriving. Make use of your current client database and engage with them on a new dynamic level.
2. Listen. Whether your customers are praising you or complaining about you. Always listen to what they are saying and thank them for their input. Tell them about how their input into your business is going to change how you do things. Most times customers just want to know that they are being heard, and that you care about their concerns and frustrations and you want to make their experience with your business the best ever.
3. Always answer. As the saying goes ‘No comment’ in itself is a bad answer. Always try to answer your customers concerns with genuine and detailed feedback. If they ask a question which needs feedback from management or operations, let them know you will be looking into it and advise them by when you expect to have an answer for them. And when you set yourself a deadline or date to answer by always go back and actually answer them. They will most likely be surprised that you took the time to answer them in the first place, but then to show commitment to resolving their issue will make them a customer hooked to your product or service.
4. Monitor like a Hawk. This goes back to point one. If you try and monitor the online community yourself you will eventually drop the ball, get busy with reports or meetings etc. If you have a dedicated employee monitoring the use or presence of your brand or company’s name online then at any given point you will know what is being said about your company. Also use this to create reports and gauge what your customers are most enjoying about your company and what they are not, these observations can only change your company for the better.
5. Think dialogue not monologue. Finally the lesson many companies need to learn is that social media is about engaging with your customers and having a conversation with them. Don’t just use social media because everyone else is and you feel you are lagging behind. Only use it when you know how and why you want to engage with your customers. If you know how it’s going to up loyalty and improve their experiences with your company then by all means venture out into the online world.