I don’t think companies realize just how much good or bad customer service can make or break their online reputation. If a customer is happy because they got a good deal or excellent customer service from your business, they will sing the praises of your company to their friends online. But, there’s a double-edged sword to social sharing: for every person that shares their positive experience, there are disgruntled customers going online to share their negative options and frustrations.
I was Almost a Disgruntled Customer
Case in point: myself. Just the other day, I was shopping online and found myself intrigued by Overstock’s 10% discount and free shipping offer. To a shopaholic like me, that’s a pretty good deal and definitely one worth whipping out my credit card for.
Excitedly, I added the item to the cart, waiting for the discount magic to take place and…Nothing. Oh, maybe I had to submit my order first for the coupon code to apply…noooooooooooooooo!!! My transaction went through sans the discount.
Chatting With Customer Support
I hurriedly contacted their customer support team in an effort to get the price adjusted but I was informed that the 10% off and free shipping discount could not be combined. I was confused because the message greeting me at the top of the website said it could. The rep was polite yet firm in that I could not use both but he would be happy to honor the 10% off. But still, Bargain Britt would not be stopped and she wanted every bit of the discount promised to her right down to the last penny!
I kept vocalizing how this was not “fair” and that it was “false” advertising. I did not want to take this issue to Twitter, but if I was forced to, I would leverage the power of social media to get what I felt was owed to me.
I was this close to pulling the social media complaint trigger on @Overstock when their customer service relented one more time. He was gracious and honored both discounts.
How You Can Avoid a PR Nightmare Using Social Media
Overstock does not know how close they came to producing a very unhappy customer. In that moment, I felt really powerful knowing I could make or break a company’s reputation online but my inner Super Social Media Girl decided to use her powers for good instead of evil by informing other businesses on some of the best social media practices.
The Good and the Bad of my Overstock Encounter
Make sure all of your employees are aware of any current promotions or discounts. I could tell that the rep on the live chat was unaware of the promotion on the very website he provides customer service for. It caught him off guard and he finally relented because the proof was on the website.
Use a courteous and friendly tone with customers, especially if the error is on your end. Even if the customer does not get their way, at least they will remember you favorably and may be less likely to bash your name online. It also positions you in a positive place to further reach out to them online. Potential customers don’t just notice negative reviews – they notice how you handle the complaints as well. I will say, Overstock handled the situation with courteousness and professionalism. It actually softened my heart and made me think twice about saying anything negative so I said something positive instead.
And finally, you should always be one step ahead of your customers on all social media platforms. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, keep your ear to the ground for buzz and any sentiment expressed about your company whether it’s positive or negative. Then respond and engage in a timely fashion to get even more bonus points with your online audience. If I had Tweeted about my disappointment with Overstock, I’m sure they would have immediately tended to my complaint. A quick look at their current Twitter timeline shows they are engaged with their customer base.
If all of this sounds neat in theory, but you just don’t have the time, Xcellimark can help. We have a staff of social media professionals who can be your brand’s voice online and engage with potential and current customers. So what are you waiting for? Contact us now for more information.