Hopefully, this won’t be a situation that you’ll have personally experienced, but a friend of mine was outraged at a US airline recently (I won’t name and shame it here) for exceptionally poor service. She had a long trip planned with several stopovers and the airline managed to unapologetically mess up every single leg of her trip with either delayed or cancelled flights.
She vented her frustration and annoyance directly to the airline (without much impact) and then used social media to do it. She tweeted. She opened a facebook group. She commented on other blogs. And since she knows thousands of people, she would have reached all of them through at least one of those channels.
As you can imagine, that’s any company’s nightmare scenario because a bad customer experience can suddenly be amplified by thousands or even millions of people, should it go viral. So how should service providers deal with social media and the customer experience?
In a fascinating presentation at TM Forum’s Management World Americas in Orlando, John Myers from the Blue Buffalo Group outlined three quick rules for service providers looking to use social networks to optimize their customers’ experience: Recite, Respond, Review – the three Rs.
Recite (but not too much…): It’s good to be on social media – that’s where the customers are, and so service providers should have a presence on Facebook and Twitter too. But there’s a difference between posting interesting information and spamming. Three tweets a day is good, 300 is officially Twitter spam. (And no-one likes spam).
Respond: Surprisingly, research shows subscribers think more highly of their service provider if the service provider messes up and then fixes the problem, than if there hadn’t actually been a problem in the first place. This is known as the recovery paradox. (But at the same time, if a service provider continues to mess up repeatedly, then the customer will decide to leave.) So it’s a smart service provider who will embrace online criticism and then seek to publically show how they solved the problem that’s been highlighted in an angry tweet or frustrated Facebook status update.
Review: No man is an island. Customers are linked to one another but (and this is crucial), some customers are more equal than others, particularly in the social media reality. They’re called influencers or mavens, and service providers need to use social graphs to understand not only how customers are linked to one another, but which customer is the maven that can influence others. Treat the maven right, and the others will follow!
Anyone have any interesting social media/customer experience stories to share – good or bad…?