Respond to your customers, and respond quickly

Shocking is the word that most accurately describes the findings of Maritz customer service research. Stuart Handley, EMEA director of communications at Dell can’t believe that brands aren’t responding to customer comments posted online.

Jo Roberts

And frankly, it strikes me as odd that 85% of people in the survey say they have never been contacted by a brand after posting positive or negative comments about it online.

Brands are always telling us that they put consumers at the heart of their business. And marketers are obsessed with telling us how they engage with consumers.

Many tell us that online allows them to have a two-way conversation. But the Maritz study appears to demonstrate that most marketers are all talk and no action.

When people post negative comments online they’re not simply venting their anger into the ether. They want a response. More than half of those who made a complaint online expect to be contacted. And they want a quick response too.

Of the small percentage who say they have been contacted by businesses following a comment, 32% say that they loved it. So by simply getting in touch and showing that you care, you can potentially turn disgruntled customers into fans.

One statistic that surprised marketers who responded to the research findings is the percentage of people who say they use Facebook to complain. More than a quarter (26%) say they have used the social network to grumble about a company, whereas only 5% say that they complain via Twitter. However, Maya Robert, content editor and social media manager for USwitch, says social media is where the majority of customer queries come to.

Marketers need to work out how their customers like to get in touch and set up their customer services accordingly. Dell’s Handley says the business has set up a Twitter account in 11 languages worldwide to ensure that the business can respond to customers in the way that they want to. In addition to that it has a social media command centre which monitors 25,000 conversations on the web and where appropriate someone will jump in an help someone if that is what is required.

Customer services is no longer just about ensuring that someone is available to pick up the phone to deal with an enquiry, people are getting in touch in all sorts of ways. It seems to me that businesses need to set up their customer services in this way to reflect the way that people are getting in touch.

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