Imagine a time when you walked up to a counter at the coffee shop. You just purchased a latte, but didn't receive the whipped cream that you wanted. You waved a barista over to voice your concern. Naturally, you would expect them to not only answer your concern, but also to fix it in a reasonable amount of time.
But they didn't.
No doubt that coffee shop, and the brand of the coffee shop, received major negative points in your mind. And deservingly so; the customer service you just witnessed was awful.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is the scenario many brands are facing — on social media.
Yes, Social Media Marketing University (who knew? Apparently it's in Atlanta), the training arm of Social Media Magic, did a survey about how well brands are faring with customer service activities on social media.
The results? Not well.
No, according to the survey, 26.1% of brands have had their reputations tarnished as a result of negative social media posts, and 11.4% of brands even lost revenue. Those statistics are rough, but the most surprising one was that 23.4% of the brands surveyed not only have no strategy to handle customer service on social media, but also have no plans in place to develop one.
It is reports like this that bring to light the disconnect marketing professionals these days have with advertising, sales, and customer service. Though each activity is different, one cannot survive well without the other. Advertising drives sales. Customer service keeps the customer happy, reinforces the sale, and creates an advocate. A business cannot devote more time to one of the activities and less to another.
If we choose to use these digital tools, we must develop strategies and practices that do not damage the brand's reputation. Advertising a product for a brand that has horrible customer service is not going to raise revenue.
Yes, in many cases, customer service isn't the "sexiest" thing we can talk about, but it isn't far-fetched in claiming that it is a very important issue. Customers want to be heard, no matter if it is in person or on Twitter.
If you want that business, you should listen up.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.