There is a saying with regard to customer service which states that a satisfied customer will tell one or two of their friends about a positive experience, whereas a dissatisfied customer will tell everyone they know about something negative. Of course now, in an age where everyone can have an audible voice online, a dissatisfied customer has the ability to tell not only everyone they know, but also countless people theyve never met. Which is why it is so important for a business, whether large, medium or small, to have an active social media presence "with active being the operative word.
While many companies have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Instagram accounts, there seems to be a trend toward treating them like a Ronco ShowTime Rotisserie Grill "they want to set it and forget it. That however, is simply not good enough. Not when customers and potential customers expect to be able to interact with you via these channels. Your social accounts should be used to maintain an open dialogue with your customers. As an example of this, Id like to introduce you to something that I now refer to as The Dolphin Water Incident:
The Dolphin Water Incident
Just a couple of weeks ago, Id interacted with a company that seemed to understand the importance of maintaining an open dialogue via social networks. They were not only present across various social networks, but also actively posting and interacting to positive and negative feedback. For anonymitys sake, lets just call this company the Awesome Water Bottle Company.
Id purchased a nifty new Awesome Water Bottle Company bottle from a local department store on my way to the gym one evening, washed it, filled it, plugged in my earbuds and proceeded to own the treadmill (ok, perhaps own is a
slight extreme exaggeration). About 20 minutes into my run I began to notice that some of the people around me were giving me the occasional side eyed glance. Id assumed that they were just being awkwardly friendly or looking at something beside me; or perhaps that it was likely just my natural paranoia flaring up. In fact it wasnt until Id gotten into my car, sans earbuds that I realized what had garnered the quizzical attention.
Upon taking a drink from my Awesome Water Bottle Company bottle it emitted the most ludicrous sounding high pitched whine. Actually, it sounded exactly like a sick dolphin with volume control issues. So, if you can imagine loud dolphin sounds periodically ringing out at your gym while you attempt to best your fastest mile or power through some barbell 21s, then you can imagine why I was getting the side eye.
Fast forward to the next day at work, when I attempted to employ various sipping strategies in hopes that I could quell the dolphin-like squawk. Unfortunately, my bottles inner dolphin would not be silenced, much to the amusement of my coworkers, both nearby and across the room. So, like any good denizen of our modern world my first move took me to the Awesome Water Bottle Companys website and inevitably to their Facebook page. Admittedly, Id expected little by way of a positive result.
Within hours of posting a question about the bottles squawk a representative replied and after some questions, finally uncovered the source of that hellacious squawk. My local department store had sold the bottle to me without its required straw. At this point one would think that the Awesome Water Bottle Company rep would instruct me to return the bottle; however, instead, they sent over two new straws in the mail, within days. Fantastic.
Unfortunately, not all businesses are as attentive to their social audiences, and customer questions and comments go unattended to on a daily basis. The result of this can be heard ringing loudly from a myriad of review sites and twitter feeds, turning what may have started as a minor grievance into bad PR.
Of course not every small to medium sized business can afford to have someone monitor their social feeds 24/7. Its simply a matter of being attentive. Take some time out of each day to engage your followers and potential followers online, and remember that being mayor of a social ghost town can be just as detrimental as having no social presence at all.