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Social Media – The Newest Outlet for Great Customer Service

social-media-customer-serviceGone are the days when good customer service simply meant staffing the front desk with a friendly receptionist and answering the phone with a smile.

These days, customers expect their needs to be met in person, on the phone, and via text message, email, chats and even social media channels.

Ignoring any of these outlets for customers to get help, ask questions or lodge complaints can negatively impacts a business’ reputation in the eyes of the consumer.

The good news – and bad, depending on your point of view – about customer service moving to social media is that they are a public forum.customer service

Instead of private phone calls, texts, online chats or email conversations where consumers speak with just one or two company representatives, now these exchanges are being watched by dozens, hundreds or thousands of other people.

If customer service is handled well on a social media platform, a company can garner new fans and potential customers or buyers.

However, if the situation is handled poorly, the business can be subjected to bad PR, loss of customers, public backlash and internal turmoil.

Think for a moment about the last time you saw a company respond promptly and pleasantly to a consumer’s complaint on Facebook? Did you immediately feel more favorable toward that company? Probably. (See embedded images for a recent example from one of my own Facebook friends.)

Great customer service on social media matters.On the other hand, how do you feel when you see a business ignore any questions or complaints about their product or services on their Twitter or Facebook page. What if they respond to customer service posts or messages with short, defensive replies?

You’re probably not to eager to rush out and buy their product, right?

The takeaway from all this is that managing customer service online is just as important as manning the front desk or answering the phone at your business.

If you need help setting up your social media networks and managing them so your customers’ needs are met, please email me at 618creative@gmail.com today!

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Why I Don’t Delete Negative Comments On Social Media

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No one likes to hear negative feedback, especially if it isn’t given in the context of constructive criticism.

So I understand why it is the first instinct of many of my clients, friends and colleagues to delete any negative comments and posts on their professional social media pages and websites.

In their minds, they are removing the negativity and complaints and thus disassociating it from themselves and their business. Deleted = gone.

But there are several problems with this method.

In the various stages of my career, as a communications professional for larger organizations and now as business owner myself, I have advocated for letting negative feedback stand on business social media pages.

Here is why.

First, customer feedback is valuable in all forms. Good feedback, in the form of testimonials, positive reviews and kudos, are valuable for obvious reasons.

But negative feedback, concerns or complaints can also be valuable. Use that information to evaluate your business, your staff and the services you are providing. Was there a problem that could be remedied for that customer or for future customers? How can you improve?

Remember, the customer took to social media or your website to complain BECAUSE he or she knew everyone could see it. He or she was fully aware that the world was watching for your response. So make that work in your favor!

Instead of deleting the comment, respond with the very best customer service you can provide. Show the customer – and everyone else who is watching – what kind of service you provide to customers when they are dissatisfied.

As a consumer, I am often MOST impressed with businesses who handle disgruntled or dissatisfied customers on social media with grace and fantastic customer service.

Check out: Turning An Angry Customer Into A Happy Customer with Mindy Postoff 

If I see a business ignoring a customer’s complaint or concern, that tells me I’ll have the same response if I buy from that business and have a problem.

Deleting a comment does not make it go away.  The individual will likely comment again, and call you out for deleting their complaint.

Yes, of course you can ban them. But it is generally bad practice to go around banning people (unless of course they are an internet troll going around doing nothing but stirring the pot for no apparent reason.)

And, let’s always remember this – nothing you do on the internet is ever really erased. Someone, somewhere probably took a screenshot of the page. Truly. It happens all the time.

My few exceptions to my no-delete rule are the following:

  • Spammers – people who comment or post on your pages with content unrelated to you or your business. Delete those immediately and report them if you can.
  • Potty mouths* – inevitably, there will be some folks who get so riled up that they used foul language. My suggestion is to reply to their comment with something like the following “Mr. ??, we appreciate your feedback and would be happy to discuss this with you. However, please remove and refrain from using inappropriate language in your posts or we will be forced to delete it.”
  • Anyone posting hate speech or defamatory, libelous, illegal or any potentially harmful language – delete it. This should go without saying.
  • Trolls – there are always some folks who are just there to cause problems. They may not even be customers. You’ll know them because they won’t let it go. If you encounter someone like this – or anyone who seems to get more upset the more you try to work through the issue, always suggest taking the conversation off-line to phone or email.

But in most cases, I advocate for responding, appropriately and with good customer service in mind, to all comments on your businesses’ social media pages and websites.

Do it promptly and with the same amount of patience and professionalism you would if the person was standing in front of you. Do it as though the entire world were watching you – because they are.

Need help with your social media strategy? Contact 618 Creative.

*You should always have your profanity filter on!

If You Build It, Will They Come? Hire A Marketing Pro And They Will

Hedge apples into beauty products. - Des Moines Register
Hedge apples into beauty products. – Des Moines Register

If you’re the only gas station, store or restaurant in a 25-mile radius, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to do a successful business.

But since most entrepreneurs aren’t lucky enough to have a captive market,  they have to work a little harder.

Obviously, any good business owner wants to have the best product at competitive prices. Unfortunately, that isn’t always enough.

For example, if you own a floral shop in a community with four or five other floral shops, what is going to make a customer choose you?

You can order the coolest new purses and gifts on the market to supplement your flowers, but if no one knows you carry them, will it make a difference?

That’s where a marketing and social media strategy agency like 618 Creative can help. Our job is to tell customers who you are, what you do and how you are different from your competitors.

Our number one goal is to make sure your store comes to mind first when anyone in your region has a need you can serve.

Marketing, after all, is all about perception. Here is a prime example: hedge apples.

Yes, those bumpy, weird-looking balls that fall freely from the trees and lay on the ground around your community.

Deemed pretty much useless for a century, people typically just let them rot. Some old-timers think they repel spiders.

Recently, one clever scientist teamed up with some marketing and branding folks to come up with a new use for hedge apples.

Now, he’s selling oil from this unappreciated fruit for $85 per half ounce!

That, friends, is the glory of science and creative marketing.