Monday, 22 September 2014

Is social media getting your company noticed for the wrong reasons?




When it comes to social media it seems even the big brands can get things very, very wrong.

From inappropriate tweeting to disastrous customer relations and audience engagement that spectacularly backfired — the Internet has seen it all.

Social sharing is putting companies and their employees under a very unforgiving spotlight, where every misdemeanour is magnified and shared — often to the point of going viral.

How is this material shared?

Twitter exchanges

Today, as I am writing this blog, there has been news coverage of a Twitter exchange between clothing retailer, Joy, and a tweet about one of their greetings cards.

A visitor to one of the company's London stores had tweeted the company to point out the offence that one of their cards could cause to people with bi-polar disorder. Their response was dismissive and insensitive.

Since the exchange began, mental health organisations have got involved and there has been a campaign to boycott or 'joycott' the store.

The company has apologised and the offending tweets appear to have been deleted from its timeline but, thanks to screenshots, they continue to be shared.

Audio recordings

This recorded exchange between a Comcast customer service agent and a customer who wanted to cancel his service is another example of an episode that went viral.

The customer recorded eight minutes of an extremely lengthy and awkward conversation in which he tried to cancel and the agent was excessively obstructive.

The company expressed its embarrassment after the exchange and has since investigated the incident to identify what went wrong. 

Complaint letters published online
One customer's disastrous experience with Ryanair led to this letter of complaint being posted online. Its humorous account of the customer's dealings with Ryanair staff soon became an Internet hit.

It was followed by this equally humorous letter sent from a customer who had experienced a terrible stay at a Britannia hotel.

According to Buzz Sumo, online content that evokes laughter and amusement is among the most likely to be shared.


From broken products delivered in mishandled packages to incidents of foreign body food contamination. If your company's mistake can be photographed it can also be shared online.

Video footage

Many people now carry video-enabled mobile phones and many cyclists have helmet-mounted cameras. This means that anything from difficult customer service exchanges to [warning: the following clip contains extreme bad language NSFW]  incidents of road rage can be filmed covertly and uploaded without the consent of those involved. 

As technology becomes smaller and more discreet, we may not even be aware if we are being filmed, so maybe it's safest to assume we're always on camera.

Bad publicity like this is not easily forgotten.

Mud sticks and gaffes like these can be difficult for some companies to recover from.

With this in mind it's much better for incidents not to occur in the first place.

How do we prevent the incidents that lead to bad publicity?

Keep a closer eye on your social media accounts

Social media accounts are often considered a job for a junior employee, but this can be unwise. It may help to have a specific programme of content to communicate and for more senior staff to be on-hand to deal with customer interactions.

Encourage customer feedback

If customers have complaints it is much better for them to complain to you than to do it online. Always give them the opportunity to give feedback on their experience and if they do have complaints make sure you act on them and resolve them.

Listen to your employees

Encourage your employees to be open with you and tell you about persistent issues and frustrations they are having. Address these issues wherever possible.

Regularly review employee training

Training can help your employees to deal with day-to-day difficulties proactively, confidently and constructively.

Some of the ways employees can improve customer service include:
  • Listening to the customer and acknowledging what he/she is saying
  • Avoiding promising anything they might not be able to deliver
  • Focusing on what they can do and doing it  
  • Having a good attitude and being courteous
Drivers can minimise the risks of road rage by:
  • Driving sensibly and avoiding antagonising other road users
  • Paying special attention to vulnerable road users, such as cyclists
  • Avoiding angry/provocative behaviour, like using hand gestures or flashing lights

Remind your employees of these basics on a regular basis

Kodiak's workplace poster programme regularly covers advice for providing good customer service and avoiding incidents out on the road.

To find out more, why not visit or give us a call on 01530 456 000.

No comments:

Post a Comment