Recent research from Maritz and Evolve24 of almost 1,300 Twitter complaints found that only 29% of those who tweeted a gripe about a brand actually got a response back from the brand.
That means...71% of Twitter complaints fall on deaf ears.
Let that marinate for a minute...71% of folks came forward with a complaint, looking for resolution and no one responded. That's basically like hanging up on 71% of the folks who call your establishment. And while I could be wrong I can't envision any business person hanging up on customers. So why not respond - and resolve - a disgruntled tweeter?
Jay Baer believes it's because of fear and resources.
- Fear of responding to a hiccup and having it go awry in the social space
- Lack of resources as social media is a 24/7 factor running long after you've gone nite nite
Just ask the fine folks over at the American Red Cross. One lone tweet at 11:30 at night about getting slizzerd from the Red Cross's Twitter feed (and not the personal account it was intended for) resulted in late night phone calls to PR and more importantly...a prompt (and ha-larry-uss) reply.
Rogue tweet: "Ryan found two more 4 packs of Dogfish Head's Midas Touch beer...when we drink we go it right #gettinslizzerd"
Prompt reply: "We've deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we've confiscated the keys."
Probably one of da best social media saves - ever. Whew! Crisis averted.
“What is striking about these findings is the strong degree to which consumers want to be engaged online to have their issues addressed,” says Anthony Sardella, senior vice president and managing director at evolve24. “They are clearly seeking to have a greater voice in the customer service process and see social media as a streamlined means for resolution of their issues.”
Amazing how simple it is but yet still so many brands get it wrong.
Just yesterday I became one of this 71% and...from a brand I would never expect. The Ritz Carlton. (I'm not staying here - a friend is. Something I sent was delivered to the wrong person, without a note, I was charged, I wanted a refund and I'd be on my way. They insisted it was delivered by the hotel manager and days later still no refund or response.)
I tweeted to Ritz Carlton corporate looking for resolution after getting no where with staff at the property. And I made certain to not provide details as I did not see the need to air dirty laundry. Follow back. We can keep our conversation in private. I'll be on my way.
And that's when I moseyed on over to their tweet stream. @RitzCarlton was just page after page of selling their properties.
Absolutely no dialogue. As in none. Nada. Zzzziillcchh.
So much for the Ritz Carlton's social media efforts.
And that @RitzCarltonCSR Twitter handle - well I thought CSR stood for Customer Service Representative - my bad. It stands for Corporate Social Responsibility - as in their charity work. Confusing, eh?
I dug some more and the more Ritz Carlton Twitter handles I found - I discovered more of the same. Sell, sell, sell. No dialogue. And in many instances - nothing more than those dreaded non-stop Foursquare check-ins, (from the VP of Global PR nonetheless), which for the record is a sure-fire way to send your community packing. Or worse... not follow you at all...after all The Ritz Carlton's competitor - the Four Seasons - has double the Twitter following by abiding by this simple rule - converse with your community.
I was finally able to scrounge up emails to the Ritz Carlton Hawaii property and Ritz Carlton corporate office and the situation was eventually resolved. However the unfortunate reality is that Twitter simply isn't for every brand. And Ritz Carlton's was sadly a perfect example.
Big brands: Unless you're Zappos and have a well-versed social media team - yes folks - team - monitoring 24/7 - then don't even think about Twitter. Twitter is a beast. It is an all consuming, non-stop factory, churning out product like it's no one business. And simply by being there - the Twittersphere will naturally think one can tweet praise and complaints to your brand and more importantly - you'll be there to listen - and resolve immediately if there is an issue.
Small brands: If you're a small business, be well aware of what you're getting into. This is not only another avenue for you to sell your wares, and do so at lightening speed, but it's also another avenue for your customers to complain. If you set up shop - you simply must be there to resolve problems.
A loyal customer is wonderful to have. But a ticked off customer than you won back...is worth more than gold.
Whatever business you're in, making certain to draft a solid social media strategy with crisis management plan in place for how to respond to issues is your key to success.
If you still find Twitter confusing - read Shel Israel's Twitterville. It's a great book with easy to read best practices for both small and large business.
And don't forget - social media - is about what folks? Being...social. Something The Ritz Carlton seems to have recently learned judging from their tweet stream in the last hour...and did I mention this article - written days after this blog post - detailing Ritz Carlton's stellar social media practices?
Aahhh yes, my job here is done.
READERS: Have you turned to Twitter to resolve a complaint with a brand? What was your outcome?
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