You can defuse many crises just by saying, “We hear you.”
These days, it’s just as likely that a stakeholder with a question is going to turn to social media as pick up a phone and call your customer service line. Yet statistics show that some 70% of inquiries from fans or followers on social media are being straight out ignored, or perhaps not seen at all, by the organizations they are directed at.
What does this do to the mindset of the person who was perhaps wishing to vent about a small irritation? Well, it makes them more upset of course. Nobody likes to feel that their concerns aren’t being heard, and that’s why, as Amy Neumann explains in this quote from a HuffPost blog post, it’s so important to give feedback.
This step is important, and not too far from listening. But in addition to hearing what people are saying, it’s critical to let them know they’re being heard. Providing feedback can be as simple as “Thank you for your feedback, more details are available at ___,” or for more complex matters, provide and email address they can send messages to for deeper interaction. Then, of course, follow up. At the feedback stage, it’s all about helping customers/constituents feel “in the loop,” like they are being heard, because someone is responding.
Sound time consuming? It’s really not. The tone and type of conversation is, for the most part, no different than what a solid customer service phone operator would provide. Set up monitoring software for your brand name and simply handle it as you would any call. Alert comes in, customer service rep pops into Twitter (Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever), and voila, you have a conversation right there within minutes of the question going out.
The vast majority of the time people simply want to be heard, and acknowledging that will diffuse the negative sentiment they’ve been storing up. Let them know you’re passing their concern on to whatever department is appropriate, share emails or phone numbers so that both sides are able to follow up when the situation is further resolved and your now-happy stakeholder can go about their day.
Taking the time to actually respond to every serious stakeholder inquiry or question (don’t worry about those trolls just going for a dig) is a fantastic crisis prevention strategy. If you’re not already doing it, grab one of the many available social media monitoring suites and get the conversation started today.
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