In the past here on DBMEI, I have written on the subject of utilizing listening skills via social networks in order to provide real-time solutions to real time problems on the business end of your customer’s service needs. I’ve openly admitted that these days, I often test those skills before making a serious purchase or committing my loyalty to a brand. It only takes one experience, good or bad, to sway me, or any other consumer to an entirely new opinion of your company. It is up to you to provide the right experience for consumers vital to your businesses growth.
Bad Example of Facebook Fan Page Listening Skills
This past week I had two experiences with online businesses who had Facebook fan pages I had previously ‘liked’.
No More Coffee
Although I will not name the business, I will say that my first product related experience this week centered around a coffee company that supplies auto-delivery options to consumers. I have been a member of this coffee club for quite some time. Before the holidays rolled in I went to my account and canceled it so that I wouldn’t have any unexpected financial deductions from my account during tight holiday shopping times. It appears they suddenly charged me and said that my order would soon be shipped. Within a minute of receiving the email notification, I had emailed them back with a request for a refund and the cancellation of my auto-delivery account.
The email I had received in reply to my problem was incredibly cryptic.
Being almost totally lost on what that meant – I can get a refund but only when it ships? I can’t get one already because it already had? What did that disjointed sentence mean? Was it intended to be as vague as it was? Upset with this being the only response I was apparently to get, I went to the company’s Facebook page and posted.
I checked back on the Facebook Fan page about ten minutes later. My post had been removed and there were no inbox messages for me explaining who would be helping me with my customer service issue.
In my opinion, a complete failure in communication. Not only did their removal of my post indicate that they weren’t willing to allow others to view the possibility of their failure, but that they had no intention of addressing the issue immediately. In the day and age of instant assistance, this displays a disgusting lack of brand responsibility as well. Even more curious was that I had recalled seeing several customer service pleas and complaints on their page before, what was different about mine that it should be hidden. Shady practices are never attractive to your current or possible consumers.
I was so pleased when one of my favorite online stores to purchase from restored my faith in good business practices.
Drive-By Beta Testing for Ozbo
Not every business takes the hide-and-hope-you-don’t-find-us perspective on social media customer service as the aforementioned coffee company that shall not be named does. As I was visiting a site I frequent because of their great prices on pet supplies, I decided to venture through a couple of other categories they sell under. I headed to the Health & Beauty tab and eventually found myself facing a curiosity.
Excuse me? While I was giggling I was already opening Facebook and heading to Ozbo’s Fanpage site in my browser. I had seen their interactions with customers and while I almost felt guilty for what I was about to do, I simply could not resist. After all, even though it may be slightly embarrassing, I was still pointing out an issue that needed to be fixed right?
Not only that, but here was the chance to test a company I had so far felt comfortable with and enjoyed spending my money at. I wanted to know if Ozbo’s impressive branding techniques went as far as having a sense of humor about their own mistakes.
They did. Not only did they have the required sense of humor and self-humility, but they finally bit on my hint to give me a discount (even though I’ll fully admit to pressuring them with the beta testing comment!).
I had hinted with Ozbo before for a promo code or two to no avail, but had not totally given up. So not only are they listening, interacting, and being quite effective in building their customer relationship with me via a Facebook Fan page, but their openness and willingness to address such a simple issue as an improper image placement, shows that the 2 dollar discount wasn’t the real reward in this communication.
If You Take One Thing from This Post…
There is an important lesson here for consumers and business owners alike.
Business Owners – Do not be afraid to own up to mistakes, laugh at yourself, and appreciate those who help to beta test your products or services, and alert you when something may be awry from the consumer perspective. When possible, try to reward or accommodate consumers who are checking your listening skills on Facebook or Twitter. Prove to them their loyalty is deserved and you not only have a fan for life, but you have a fan willing to shout to the skies (and their social networks) about how wonderful and innovative your product, services, and customer service skills really are.
Consumers – Found a mistake on a favorite site’s page? Have you been charged improperly? Find a respectful and humorous when possible, manner to address or alert the business via their social media outlets. Don’t be afraid to use the stage given to ask for action or compensation, but never expect a reward or use that social platform to stage a hissy fit when your requests aren’t immediately met causing a situation that could be embarrassing for you and the business and people you are addressing.
- Social Media – How to Listen
- L-I-S-T-E-N: The Social Media Process Simplified
- 4 Steps to Create a Social Listening Strategy