How Brands Fail Customers on Social Media

Jurgen AppeloIt’s great to dream about all the amazing things companies can do with Big Data. But that doesn’t mean brands can afford to ignore the most basic, obvious data points they’re receiving from their customers.

As it turns out, many companies are not paying attention to the signals they’re getting from customers via social media. According to a new study from social media and analytics company Locowise, this is a particularly big problem on Facebook.

Locowise looked more than 900 Facebook pages for different brands that had collectively received about 300 million likes over the course of one month. About half of those pages allow other people to post messages to them.

The surprising statistic is that 65% of those pages that allowed publishing didn’t respond to any of the posts. Not a single one. That included 4,000 posts written by other people that did not receive a response from the company. That’s a pretty terrible state of affairs.

Overall, 87% of posts to these pages went unanswered, according to Locowise. This seems like a huge mistake for any company concerned with its brand and how customers and prospects interact with it. Fortunately, Locowise has some advice. 

Disable publishing unless you can support it. It’s a bad idea to invite people to post messages to a social media website and then appear to ignore their feedback. It’s like inviting someone to participate and never showing up yourself – a move that’s likely to leave unhappy customers feeling even more frustrated and annoyed. 

Disabling the publish feature sends a clear message that says, ‘Hey we can’t talk to you right now through this channel.’ Then, when you have the resources to dedicate to interacting with customers on Facebook, you can turn it on. Now the message is, ‘We’re here and ready to talk to you.’

Live up to that promise by acknowledging every post, even if it’s just to send a reply like, ‘Thanks for being a fan’. At the very least, brands must respond to posts that raise concerns or complain about your product or service, Locowise says. Ideally, those responses would be fast – within an hour – to show your customers you care about their experience with your brand.

This seems like basic, social media common sense. The last thing a company should be doing is taking a channel that generates feedback from customers and using it to create a situation that makes the customer service experience even worse.  Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what’s going on.

Image credit: Jurgen Appelo

Posted in Big Data, Sales & Marketing by Lisa Petrucci

Lisa Petrucci is Vice President of Dun & Bradstreet Global Alliances and Partnerships.

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