This is the tale of three companies: Company A, Company B and Company C. These three companies were told that if they wanted to remain competitive, they needed to provide a rich customer experience on social media. Eager to follow this advice, the three companies all created dedicated social media teams; whose job it would be to instigate, animate, and manage conversations with clients on social networks.
Things were going well at the beginning. Each company’s social media team began to showcase the brand by taking part in brand-oriented discussions; thanking customers for their praise, and answering questions put forward by prospects. However, before long the three companies began to receive negative feedback; which some dealt with better than others.
Reacting Too Slowly to Bad Buzz
Company A was slow to react to bad buzz, which only exacerbated the situation. No employees were answering comments or questions for days; leading to long threads of unsatisfied customers as more and more people took to social media to vent their frustrations. By the time Company A’s social media managers started addressing negative feedback, it was too late and they were unable to offset the ever-growing force of bad buzz. The whole experience taught the company a valuable lesson: a week is a long time on social media.
A Lack of Social Media Training
Company B was far quicker to respond to negative feedback. However, though their social media team had been trained to deal with bad buzz, their employees had not. Despite the reactivity of the social media team, some negative reviews were met with defensive and often argumentative replies from employees. However, these employees without training approached customers directly without consulting social media managers. Before long, Company B’s reputation suffered and they realized that all their employees, not just the social media team, needed training in how to interact with customers on social networks.
A Rock-Solid Crisis Management Strategy
Company C created a social media strategy built on rock-solid plans; establishing a designated team and providing all employees with training in how to communicate with customers on social networks. When bad buzz arrived, social media managers were on hand to address customers’ concerns; while individual employees provided additional support by offering their own insights. This collaborative approach enabled Company C to combat negative feedback through the promotion of internal expertise and the mobilization of employee advocates. As a result, unhappy customers felt their issues had been addressed, no longer felt the need to complain; and some even thanked Company C for reacting so well.
The Moral of the Story
The moral of this story is that you need bad buzz training for everyone, not just your social media team. With the majority of your employees now active on social media, you must let them know how and when it is appropriate to respond to customer feedback; both positive and negative. On social media, everyone’s a critic. That’s why encouraging all employees to vouch for your brand not only boosts your online reputation, but enables you to build an advocate community strong enough to withstand any bad buzz that comes your way.