Danger of Firefighting using Social Media

Put out the fire while it is still dancing at the end of the match instead of waiting for the whole building to catch fire. On Monday PR Tips we found out the importance of social PR and how a positive or negative experience shared by a customer on social media can either increase or hurt  a company’s profits. On Social Media Wednesday we will look at how not to use social media especially when dealing with bad customer experiences.

Suggestion boxes are widely left unused in our rushed Kenyan economy but customers will voice their displeasure especially if they have experienced it more than once. As a company/organization, these complaints should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. The problem should be fixed before people complain about your brand on social media while they are still in the queue.

Here in Kenya, instead of working to fix the problem on the ground, many companies have opted to only address the issues that have been aired on social media to save the company’s image. A quick trip to Twitter will confirm this. A lot of time and money then goes into social media to fight fires instead of seeking other means. For example, spend money on Customer Service workshops and seminars at the beginning of each financial year to avoid mishaps that could cost your company its hard earned profits.

Customer service employees, and everyone who interacts with customers, need to be coached on how to handle the customer correctly. They need to go above and beyond the Kenyan norm of mediocrity and give those who seek their services/product an experience they do not expect.

If a customer complains online and you do manage to fix their problem, they will in many cases seek out competing brands in hope of a better customer experience. These online fixes are rarely seen as genuine but as a way to save the brand from a bad reputation. A worse of class of companies are those who send irrelevant responses to queries, post links to their site or even ignoring questions and complains from the public.

Social media should be used to give customers helpful information and updates that are relevant to them, not putting out fires created by laxity. Getting it right from the get go will save your company money used in social media fire fighting and crisis marketing caused by brand bashing. 

Aim to have positive posts from clients and this will in turn help your brand maintain a good reputation. Social media should not be your first line of defense  You can however use it to handle the one off mishap that is bound to happen in this less than perfect world. 

Images courtesy of Google.

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