Depending on who you are, you will have a different interpretation of what is a crisis on Social Media. For the average person this is probably a drunk tweet to your boss. For Virgin Trains it’s most likely a very delayed train and a lot of dissatisfied customers at the train station waiting to go to work.
Why does that dissatisfied VT customer choose Social Media to complain instead of an email or a call? According to a survey from The Social Habit the participants explained that the reason they chose Social media over the other options was the response time – Which they expect it to be within 30 minutes. Indeed, 42% of those respondents expected a response within 60 minutes.
Now the question is, does your company have the resources and tools to do that?
That’s where SoDash comes in, it’s a social media monitoring tool that uses Artificial Intelligence to help businesses like yours get the most out of social media and prevent a crisis – a crisis which can ruin your brand if not handled right. SoDash will find, filter and categorize the messages that are of most importance with exceptional accuracy. It also provides easy engagement, in-depth reporting and intuitive work flows.
Here are some other ways to prevent crisis and have an excellent customer service
Timing is important
In times of crisis the best case scenario is for you to report it on social media first, before a customer brings it up. That way you show transparency and you prepare your customers of the mistake/disaster before they buy a product/service.
But in most cases the way that some companies find out is from a customer reporting it on Twitter, so whatever you do, drop everything and respond.The worst thing that can happen is for a company to be silent and let the situation escalate. If you respond promptly you show the customer that you are present and ready to dedicate time to address the issue. That way you earn your customers trust and loyalty.
When either of the above happens, you must always give instructions to your customers as to what to do next and explain how you are resolving the problem. For example a refund of tickets, when they can use the service again, a link where they can get further help etc.
Depending on the severity of the crisis and how long it will take to resolve, the frequency of your updates are important. For example, if Virgin Trains were unable to carry out their services, they would need a new update every day, as to what is happening and when it will be back in service.
Keep it up until all the customer questions are answered, and neither your brand or your customers are at risk.
Own the conversation
Customers might not only go to social media just to complain, they might offer feedback or even thank a brand, either way you should always be in control of the conversation. Again never stay silent, if you are asked a question that you don’t know the answer, let your customers know you are looking into to the matter.
A great way to do that is to choose your own appropriate hashtag for the event happening, that customers and yourself can use for that matter. Do not let the customers choose that first, it will probably not be a positive one. That way you are consistent on all the platforms and your information is met with more trust.
Choose a designated platform
Prime your customers to look for information on a certain platform, so when crisis strikes, they don’t all email at once or you get thousands of complaints online. If they know to look on your website for information before they ask for it, then your brand won’t have to suffer further consequences. You should also use the other sources of media to redirect them to it. For example one company I will not name had not delivered the present I ordered by Christmas. They had already sent me an email explaining the situation, and all of their social media redirected to a landing page for private messages. There they explain the issue, and asked that they only be contacted if the customers issue was something different to the Christmas delay, since they could not speed up the process.
Call to Action
What’s worse than having a crisis? Having customers left hanging with no instructions as to do next. Those customers will most likely be lost forever after that. Even if you have no resolution to the problem, let customers know that something is happening, even if the call to action at the moment is, keep checking for updates, an external source of advise, or tips so the emergency is handled better. A simple formula to remember is;
update/description + what is being done to fix it + call to action
In some cases you will be against false information leaking into social media as an explanation as to what is happening. Although you can react to protect your brand and censor the information or threaten for legal action, it’s better for you that you resist. That would lead to mistrust and making customers think that you have something to hide.
A crisis is not the end of the world, it happens to a lot of companies. What determines if your brand is going to survive is how you handle it.