Presenting the findings of Mobility 2012 last week, World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck said more and more consumers were turning to Twitter to complain about the bad service they received.
Goldstuck said the number of adult South Africans using Twitter on their handsets had doubled from 6% to 12% in the last 18 months.
“Twitter has become a complaints channel. This is likely to shape customer care in years to come as consumers exercise the power in their hands,” he said.
Whether it's standing in a long queue or dealing with a rude call centre agent, consumers are more likely to express their discontent on Twitter than follow the official complaints channel set up by business owners.
Conducted by technology research company World Wide Worx and backed by First National Bank, Mobility 2012 is the culmination of just under 2 000 face-to-face interviews conducted in urban and rural South Africa in May and June 2012. The sample included individuals aged 16 plus and was evenly spread across age groups. There was a slight female bias as 52% of individuals polled were women.
To minimise the harm comments made on social networking platforms can do to your business, Head of Social Media at digital agency Quirk Cape Town, Su Little suggest you turn your business social.
“A social business is one that understands its eco-system, leveraging its customers as its marketing tool through positive word-of-mouth by giving as much as it receives,” said Little.
She recommends business owners do the following:
- Secure your brand's Twitter account.
- Add the Twitter handle as a channel on your website and other properties to encourage customers to direct their feedback to the brand as opposed to indirectly to their networks (behind the brand’s back).
- Set up keywords around your brand and its products under Twitter's saved searches so that you can monitor what customers are saying about you (indirectly).
- Appoint a dedicated person (digital agency, brand manager, customer service manager) to monitor the account and to search all key terms to respond to customers who have feedback to share.
- Collate feedback and complaints into a monthly or weekly insights document referencing the department that the feedback impacts (product, customer service, sales).
- Distribute the insights document to upper management as well as the heads of each department.
- Give feedback to customers/community on how their comments were used to optimise business work flow and processes, or were used for product innovation. Also note where customer feedback channels are not working and alter accordingly.
- You could also opt to use an online reputation management tool that combs the whole web and not just Twitter for comments on your brand.
- Also ensure that you have a crisis management protocol in place.
The above steps should translate into customers that feel heard and validated, who will in turn thank the business by spreading positive word-of-mouth messages about the brand and business.