No companies in the world today will want to experience what we call, social media disasters. Social media disaster can affect both the brand reputation and potential business badly, due to the lack of trust and confidence among the customers.
And the scary part is, social media disasters can happen anytime unexpectedly; and at a Speedy Gonzales pace catching brand managers with their pants down. When such disaster happens, the news will be spread all over the Internet and on social media within hours such that executives may not even have enough time to find a hole to hide.
Avoiding Social Media Disasters
Hoping and praying that social media disasters will not happen to you is NOT realistc; or stopping everyone in your company to use social media is not going to help either. It is like crossing a heavy traffic road blindfolded.
Social media is now everybody’s (including your customers and employees) living culture. Hence, whether your company loves it or hate it, your brand got to instill social media in your work culture!
To avoid social media disaster, we need to understand the 3 Main REASONS why people complain on social media:
1. Bad employees’ attitude
Your employees might be very rude to your customers. These customers, feeling ‘hurt’ from the employee’s rude attitude, may voice their grievances to their friends on social media. If they have screenshots or hidden video footage of their encounter with your rude employee, “good” luck to your company.
In order to avoid this, companies should train their workers on consistently showing good customer service. If people feel good about your company’s service, I do not see why they will complain.
2. Unhappy Service Experience
This time, you have people voicing their unhappiness about your company service system. Nothing to do with bad employees’ attitude but a lot to do with company to customers’ communication and care for customers. These customers will usually feel unhappy when your company tend to push their problem aside or not prompt in the follow up.
To avoid this, your brand got to improve on your product and service quality system such that before people complain, you ask for their feedback. Moreover, brands need to follow up with their customer fast.
3. Unhappy Employees
Sometimes it can be your unhappy employees who started the whole social media disaster in ways such as voicing out their anger on the mistreatment or unfair acts your company have on them. This is the worst disaster as it can make people feel bad and lose confidence about your brand immediately.
Well to avoid this, companies management need to go down the hierarchy to extensively communicate with the employees. Listen to their problems and propose how they can help them to solve their problems. Effective communication is the key to avoid this disaster.
You have done whatever it takes to avoid social media disasters. However at times, social media disaster may still happens and you need to know how to MANAGE it.
Here are the steps:
1) Identify and find out the cause
Quickly identify and find out the cause of the social media disaster. And then allocate the right management staffs to handle the situation. Companies could start by apologizing and then seek permission to investigate the matter further.
2) Isolate the cause away from the brand
If it is bad customer service issue, apologize to the unhappy customer about the attitude of your staff and seek his or her permission for a second chance to serve you. If it is an unhappy service experience, acknowledge your mistake in lack of customer care, apologize and ask for their second chance. If it is an unhappy employee problem, good luck!
By isolating the cause, customers will perceived that the problems as people’s problem and not the brand’s problem.
3) Let the unhappy customers/employees get to know more people in your company
You should send more superior and management staffs to dialogue with the unhappy customer/ employee. When more people are involved, the unhappy customer / employee will feel that the company is actually concerned about their problems.
And by knowing that more people in your company are there to help, the unhappy customer / employee may most likely give your company a second chance.
4) Solve “at the moment” disasters
You got to settle problems quickly, if not, they will get worse. When problems are quickly settled, complaint will stop as well. So, it is very important for companies to respond immediately when these unexpected things happen. Do not tell people to wait because the longer they wait, the more distrust they would have on your brand. Companies should empower their employees in handling such “at the moment” disasters when they do happen.
The Internet Always Remember
Many marketers may think that massive advertising could “cover” the aftermath of a social media disaster and people will usually forget. However, it is not true at all. The internet always remember especially when things are left unsolved. So, companies should have their in house social media manager to train its staff on how to avoid causing social media disasters to the brand as well as how to manage social media disasters.
With the power of social media, a moment of folly, ignorance or bad customer service can lead the brand to a lifetime of regrets.