Word of mouth recommendation is incredibly influential both in enhancing reputation and driving sales, and the rise of social media has highlighted just how quickly those reputations and sales can be affected by delighted or disgruntled customers.
It used to be said that an unhappy customer would tell seven of his or her friends about a negative experience; in turn those friends would pass on to seven others and so forth. Where this notional figure came from is anyone’s guess, but what is for sure is that now a dissatisfied customer is able to post comments on their own Facebook wall, as well as on that of the errant company, and will tweet their dissatisfaction far and wide. In short, instead of spreading the word amongst immediate friends and family, that customer, at a stroke can advertise the shortcomings of a company to hundreds, if not thousands of friends and followers within seconds.
This has clear implications for CRM and highlights the increasing importance of the role of PR in this area.
Last weekend, I visited a retail outlet hunting for Christmas bargains, having received a personal invitation to take advantage of ‘up to 50% discount’. (So far, so good – as a previous customer, CRM has identified my interest in the outlet and has offered an incentive for me to spend some of my Christmas budget with them). Imagine my disappointment to find that an item originally priced at £29.95 had been reduced by a not so massive 95p so £29. Thinking this was surely a mistake, I asked at the desk, only to be met with a shrug and the astonishing comment ‘Sorry love, I’m just one of the monkeys that work here’.
After attempting unsuccessfully to fight my way through the mulled wine queue to find a manager, I left, text friends that I’d arranged to meet there, then once home applied myself to Facebook and Twitter to complain.
Within an hour, I’d received an apology from the store owner and the offer of a gift voucher by way of tempting me back. I was delighted, my faith restored in the retailer and now I’ve Facebooked and Tweeted my compliments on a PR job well done.
Time consuming it may be, but responding promptly and positively to customer comment or complaint on social media sites is essential to protect your brand. As with my experience, a complaint handled expertly can turn a negative attitude into a positive opportunity to reinforce brand values and reassure customers that their views really matter.
To find out more about using social media as part of your PR strategy, why not give us a call for an informal chat?
In the meantime, we’ll send a bottle of bubbly to the best Christmas shopping story we hear, so Facebook or Tweet us to share your tale of woe or triumph! Contact us