BY TRACEY BROWN, ADMA TUTOR
As the use of social media for customer service increases, companies are responding in varying ways to the contacts customers make via social media channels.
A few months ago, eMarketingConnected looked at Catch of the Day (COTD) and the way they managed customer service enquiries via their Facebook page. At the time we found that COTD weren’t really actively responding to customer queries via their page, and we made some observations about that.
Now four months on, we thought we’d revisit the page and see whether anything’s changed.
We still find that there are a number of customers complaining about service and the products being sold through COTD. In some cases, it is best for companies to not respond and to rather allow their fans who are brand advocates respond. When fans are willing to defend a brand from negative feedback, it comes across as a very authentic response and will be more readily believed than an official response.
For the most part, COTD aren’t involved in moderating the discussions, perhaps relying on the brand advocates (and there are plenty of those) to respond.
It is interesting to note that some of the negative comments aren’t attracting any commentary are being ‘liked’ by others on the page as shown in the example below.
In COTD’s case, as the stock and offers are so fast moving, there is possibly little concern about these negative comments. The perceptions of potential customers can be influenced by these comments, so for many brands, an official response to comments like this would still be a good idea, even if only to demonstrate that customer comments are valued, listened to and addressed.
Generally, the following recommendations apply to customer commentary on Facebook walls:
- allow the wall comments to be free-flowing and don’t remove comments (unless they are spam, libellous, racist, defamatory etc)
- ensure that any negative comments are addressed – acknowledging the customer’s complaint can be a start of making them more positive about the brand
- refer people to where they can find information about these types of concerns, so that anyone reading these comments can also find this information in future
- use the learnings from social media in other areas of the site – for example, update the FAQ’s to include the answers to the frequently asked questions,
- track the volume and types of comments people are making so that you
understand what types of queries people are likely to have, and improve
information such as product descriptions, delivery instructions
From a best practice perspective, having the right structures and policies in place to address commonly occurring situations in social media is becoming increasingly important. Creating a clear policy about what to do in the case of a customer complaint
and other common situations assists in community management. Ensuring that there
is adequate resources to manage the community effectively would help improve
the customer experience.
Overall, these few complainants are overshadowed by the neutral or positive comments on the wall. As in any online engagement the individual customer experience is still important, and while these individuals might not be inclined to keep shopping with COTD due to negative or problematic experiences, there is no doubt many others who are happy to persevere in order to get the savings on whatever COTD are selling today.