Responding to Social Media contacts

Social Media internet interaction has gone well beyond the simple e-mail inquiry, which is commonly direct and as thus measured by a transaction.? Customers use the Social Media for a host of reasons, often for reasons seemingly negative, complaining about a service or product, or expressing an opinion, more often than not negative.? It is best to first ascertain whether the complaint is specific or general.? The more general the communication the more the communication is a rant, for example,? ?This is the worst vacation I have ever experienced!? Rants may be too general and thus responses may best be handled by your professional association.? Nonetheless, it?s always best that customers complain to YOU rather than about you.?

Complaints via the Social Media need be responded to in the same manner as by an individual. Responses need to be timely, courteous and professional.? Timely; responses need be made within 8-12 hours, preferably sooner as the complainant is hot.? Courteous; remember to think as a sponge absorbing the persons experience, even if second hand through the Social Media.? Professional; Professionalism is always to be maintained, and as such, accountability, with the appropriate level of seniority, i.e. responses must originate from management.? Also while recognition of errors may be warranted, remember the motto; ?Losers say their sorry; winners make it up.? Always offer the customer compensation.? The Social network is your opportunity to profile your company to a host of potential customers.

Finally, a crisis may have occurred and a social network established to handle all information.? These Social Media Networks are particularly used by traditional media outlets to gather timely information and when important information need be managed.? Your particular company may be singled out for assistance or problem solving. Also, every company may have a crisis that is specific to their service.? Don?t wait for a crisis to occur. Have an action plan in place before hand.? Determine whether a Social Media forum would be warranted, who would be responsible and how it would be established.???? What kinds of problems and thus? questions would arise and what would be the appropriate response.

In closing, the social media is best viewed as an opportunity not a nuisance.? Use an ally in marketing to your marketing strategy.