I thought it would be appropriate to start with this quote from Gary Vaynerchuk - The Thank You Economy: “A lot of companies resist building a Facebook wall, blogging, or starting a Twitter or YouTube account because an irate customer might post negative comments. So what? Would you prefer that the customer post them somewhere else where you have absolutely no way to reply? Or somewhere you can’t even find? If you’re that afraid of your customer, you might want to take a closer look at how you’re doing business.”
The sad reality is that many brands are petrified of their customers, they fear that they might say something negative or complain and for this very reason there are still brands that don't have any social media presence. Before social media existed and before the large adoption of mobile phones, when we had a complaint or wanted to moan about a brand we didn't have too many options besides a call centre number and perhaps Hello Peter.
Then came the social media band wagon and every brand suddenly wanted to be on social media and as we all know social media is about realtime conversations and immediate feedback. With this in mind, many brands have spent millions in ensuring their brand is optimised to handle thousands or queries and that they have the capabilities to provide service levels never before experienced, consumers were amazed and loved the fact that they now had a direct point of contact to a brand where they now or at least should get immediate support.
We have become our own worst enemies by doing this, I am not saying you should ignore your customers or not respond immediately, I am just suggesting that brands have now optimised these channels so much that the other traditional processes and procedures have basically become redundant. When was the last time you phoned a call centre to complain or try get help and if you have recently was it because this brand didn't have a social media presence?
The worst part of this change in behaviour is the fact that the other traditional channels have in many cases become exceptionally slack which just further drives consumers to complain on your brand's Facebook and Twitter profiles. Would we still do this if we got immediate feedback or service through a call centre or email address?
I am still not sure why more brands haven't created Facebook complaint's or query management apps. Not only do you suddenly create a dedicated channel for these service queries or complaints but you also remove all the negativity off your wall and newsfeed. Your customer remains satisfied because they were helped immediately and your brand doesn't have to get tarnished by an irate customer.