Even though the number of companies engaging with their customers through social media is growing exponentially there are still a large portion of companies who are afraid of what they might hear. Some executives fear hearing any negative feedback, while others know their brand will garner a flood of hatred.The companies hocking a flat out crappy product have a few options regarding social media.
1. They can continue to silence all communication with the outside world and keep on selling a useless or even harmful product/service.
2. They can engage with customers on a case-by-case basis, solving issues as they arise.
3. Their best option is to utilize the negative feedback that is readily available on these social media sites to make improvements to the company, quickly and publicly.
The same social media tactics apply, but with a different goal. The end goal isn’t to drive traffic to the site or increase sales, but to fix what is broken.
The tactics are as follows:
Listen: If anyone with access to an internet connection has an issue, with your company chances are they will post it somewhere on the web. Lucky for you these complaints are really easy to find.
Engage: Rants about your company will be posted on every message board, review site and social media network. Your customers are going to complain about the problems they had. Now your task is to ask them for solutions. You will first resolve their specific issue whether it’s a product defect or customer service problem. Then, and this is the important part, you must ask for their opinion about what needs to be fixed and how it should be done. Most likely, they will be flattered that you are asking their opinion.
Take Action: Take these suggestions to heart and make all necessary changes whether that means retraining your customer service team or completely redesigning the hardware.
Publish: Chronicle the improvement process as a firsthand experience. Let your customers know what changes are being made and how they will be affected. Whether you blog, tweet, stream live video or record a podcast, just make sure you have a human voice. This is the perfect opportunity to build your online community so that when you launch the new and improved whatever-it-is, you have a captive audience.
You are human and you’re not perfect; neither is your company. Social media allows you to turn an angry mob of customers into a support group for your Extreme Makeover: Corporate Edition.
See you all at Internet Week!