I was walking to work one day from Penn Station, checking my blackberry, when I noticed an exciting promotion available through Foursquare, the location-based social network. The promotion inside my Foursquare application read, “Check in at the Marc Jacobs counter at Macy’s Herald Square and receive a Marc Jacobs silver tote bag with shower gel and other gifts. Value: $250.” Now I don’t know much about fashion, but this seemed like an amazing deal, so I texted my office to meet me at Macy’s thinking that everyone could enjoy all the cool free stuff, thanks to this social media promotion.
When ten of us got to the Marc Jacobs counter at Macy’s, however, the clerk there had no idea what we were talking about. We then showed several additional staff members our smartphones featuring the Foursquare promotion, and again, they literally had no clue. One staffer said, “I don’t know anything about a text message.” A couple others rudely accused us of making up the promotion in order to get free stuff. A full 45 minutes later, and two managers into waiting, they apologized and said, “Sorry, we were told that promotion was supposed to be the other day.” They gave us fragrance samples to make up for the miscommunication. The Macy’s manager took my phone number and email address and said someone from Marc Jacobs would be in touch shortly to apologize.
Nobody called, or emailed. The experience was disappointing and frustrating for so many reasons. But what was most upsetting was that Macy’s and Marc Jacobs went from having an interesting, buzzworthy social media promotion to creating a memorable, negative customer service experience. Their staff wasn’t communicating internally and they weren’t on the same page about a social media promotion that someone within the organization had obviously planned.
Social media leveraging is not just marketing or public relations. There is no way to successfully use social media as an organization if you simply silo it to marketing or advertising. In order to optimize the results from your social media use, you have to integrate understanding and practice across a diverse group of functions and departments in your organization
Of course social media includes marketing, public relations, and advertising, but it also includes customer service, customer relationship management, sales, operations, human resources, and research and development. Ideally, everyone at your company who ever may come into contact with a customer should be trained on the fundamentals of “likeable” social media: listening, transparency, responsiveness, and engagement. Furthermore, there are numerous opportunities throughout the customer experience for integration of social networks and social media best practices. The more open and transparent you are with customers throughout the entire customer life cycle, the more comfortable they’ll feel about continuing to buy your stuff, hire you, “like” you and your pages, and recommend you to friends.
Put on your consumer caps again, and imagine the following experience. You’re at home, logged into Facebook, where you see an ad for a local restaurant your friend has “liked”. You decide to visit for lunch. When you arrive, a sign at the counter tells you to text “like DavesGrill” to FBOOK to “like” their Page and receive a free appetizer. You follow the directions and end up with the free appetizer as promised. You enjoy a meal, and your server, along with your printed receipt, encourages you to share feedback about your experience, good or bad, on their Facebook page. You post a mostly favorable review that night, but mention that the dessert was a little disappointing. A manager immediately responds to your post, saying, “I’m sorry” and offers you a gift certificate to come back soon.
How do you integrate social media into your customers' experience? Let me know in the comments!