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Apologies to those who work strictly in “social media,” but I’m about to blaspheme a bit.
Imagine for a second, the following scenario:
You light a match to light a candle in your living room. After lighting the candle, instead of blowing it out, you drop it on the floor. After five seconds, the rug catches fire, then the fire spreads to the curtains, eventually engulfing the whole room. Only after the fire has spread throughout your entire house, do you call the fire department, and when they finally arrive and put out the fire, you get to work rebuilding your entire house and replacing all your possessions.
You do all this because you don’t bother blowing out the match. And the worst part? This all seems perfectly normal to you, and you do it all the time.
You wouldn’t do this, right? You’re smart enough to blow out the match, right? Blowing out the match prevents a huge fire later that costs you everything you own.
Then why the hell are you waiting until people talk about bad experiences with your brand online before you do something to fix it??
Let’s face it – People are going to talk, whether for good or bad, about your company. But the majority of companies out there are spending almost all of their money on social media ONLY to fight fires! In other words, they use the logic of “Oh, someone had a bad experience and they’re talking about it online? Let’s reach out to them and fix their problem.”
Here’s a thought – Blow out the match when you’re done – i.e., Start spending money on CUSTOMER SERVICE NOW, and you won’t HAVE to fight the fires LATER!
Look – We know customers are talking about you, right? And we know customers are going to talk whether their experience is positive or negative, right? Why not divert some of that social media budget into retraining your front line staff – Your customer service employees – EMPOWER them to do GOOD – To do NICE – To go above and beyond the norm (which, let’s face it, in this country, is crap,) and give customers an experience they didn’t expect! This has to come from the CEO down, and needs to permeate the entire company.
Fact is, when you “save” a customer after they hit you up on social media, you never fully get them back. They’ve already been wounded by your lack of caring in the first place. Why make that the norm? Prevent the “saves” from ever having to happen!
Good news? This doesn’t cost a lot of money at ALL. And the amount you’ll a) save in firefighting, b) save in crisis marketing, and c) earn in new customers thanks to POSITIVE posts online, will beat out whatever you’re spending on customer service by a factor of thousands. This isn’t about delivering a steak at the airport. This is simply about being 1% better than everyone else. Best part? You can see results in real-time. Wouldn’t it be nice to see positive brand sentiment as the norm? Then stop looking as social as the first line of defense. It should be the LAST, and you should rarely have to defend on social. If you’re doing amazing customer service, the social-sphere voice should be primarily positive, with only occasional blips. Those blips, you can handle.
We need to start thinking differently, people. I’ve said for years that social media for the sake of social media isn’t going to help you. Focus on amazing customer experiences, and you can use social to do what it was originally designed to do – To let your happy customers share how happy they are, and tell the world how awesome you are!
PS: I’ll be giving a free webinar (compliments of Vocus) all about the power of good customer service, and how simply being “nice” can take your company to a brand new level. Did I mention it’s free? It’s next week, April 17th, 2pm. Sign up here.