Top Brands Share Advice On Avoiding PR Disasters

Social media gives a voice to everyone, angry consumers included. Brands can’t afford to ignore the negative comments flowing through the online worlds.

Numerous examples from Chobani, United or Dunkin Donuts prove this point.

Brands need to respond to not only satisfy those consumers, but respond in a way that will encourage them to share their new found love across their social channels. In other words, you need to be able to turn a negative word of mouth (WOM) into a positive.

Just recently, WOMMA hosted a Twitter Chat (#WOMMAChat) on crisis management and social customer care that included both brands and agencies such as The Chicago Tribune, Social Distillery, Zuberance, and more.

For those of you ignoring your online WOM, we think these reactions will change your minds.

Question 1: Social customer care and customer service serve different functions. How do they differ?

The overarching theme of this answer was that social customer care serves as the proactive approach, while customer service serves as the reactive approach. Needless to say, when your boss asks what you are working on, they can never dock you for taking a proactive approach at dodging a PR nightmare. Let’s see what our guests had to say.

A1. Customer service is often seen as reactive; only for problems. Customer care is proactive. #WOMMAchat

— Jeannie Walters (@jeanniecw) September 26, 2013

A: Customer care is to customer service as marketing is to advertising; One encompasses the other! #WOMMAchat

— Kristen Sussman (@KrisSuss) September 26, 2013

Question 2: What are the dangers of ignoring social customer care?

Needless to say, the obvious danger is losing customers, but we didn’t let our participants get off that easy. Ignoring your customers online can lead to bad PR, loss of brand loyalty, or growing tension within you community.

A2: Ignoring social customer care is an easy way to send your customers to your competitor – someone who cares. Easy to avoid. #WOMMAChat

— Scott Kleinberg (@scottkleinberg) September 26, 2013

A2: ignoring social customer care definitely breeds negative WOM. and fast. #wommachat

— Chelsea Hickey (@ChelseaRhane) September 26, 2013

Q2: Danger of ignoring #social customer care: ruining brand sentiment, losing customers/prospects, decreased loyalty & advocates #WOMMAchat

— Leigh Pankonien (@LeighAustinPank) September 26, 2013

Question 3: What are some great examples of social customer care?

To no surprise, the best examples came from brands that were always listening and ready to take action at the drop of a hat. Brands that constantly reached out to dissatisfied customers and continued to engage even after the problem was solved got a big thumbs up.

A3: Good customer care is linking the #social team w/ other teams w/in the organization to ensure authentic responses #WOMMAchat

— Allison Price (@amprice88) September 26, 2013

A3: @Nordstrom & @ULTA_Beauty are great. Though, any brand that consistently engages & responds to customers is #1 in my book #WOMMAchat

— Chelsea Hickey (@ChelseaRhane) September 26, 2013

Question 4: What are some poor examples of social customer care?

To not name names, we are going to keep this light. Nonetheless, we heard examples of brands playing the victim (which should never be the case), ignoring consumers, and those who don’t have a monitoring system in place.

A4: The worst #CustomerCare involves responses that don’t really provide a solution and/or fail to answer the question! #WOMMAChat

— Kristen Sussman (@KrisSuss) September 26, 2013

Q4: I’m not sure which is worse: a brand that 100% ignores, or one that responds & plays victim #WOMMAchat

— Chelsea Hickey (@ChelseaRhane) September 26, 2013

Final Question: What departments are responsible for social customer care?

If you think only your social media teams need to be monitoring your online chatter, boy are you in the wrong crowd.

Every department is responsible for social customer care, cause every one in a company is a marketeer #WOMMAChat

— Roy Dahl (@sjakkmatt) September 26, 2013

A5. Ideally, customer issues and suggestions are plugged into the organization as a whole. Today, too many silos. #WOMMAchat

— Jeannie Walters (@jeanniecw) September 26, 2013

Those are our thoughts on social customer care. What are your keys to avoiding a PR crises and monitoring your online conversations? Tweet us at @WOMMA.

If you want more tips, check out WOMMA’s brand new Social Customer Care Online Certificate Program beginning Oct. 15.

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