Despite problems great Social Media can create Raving fans

Are you scared of social media because an angry customer has something to say? An Australian travel company today has demonstrated how to stay up-to-date and relevant on social media and still be able to help an unhappy customer.

Recently a close family member came to me with a problem. He had double paid this travel agency when he clicked the back button on an online payment (I know, in shock and horror you will be telling me, “Don’t do that”). He contacted them months ago to tell them of the mistake and they dallied around and didn’t refund the money.

I decided to use Twitter to help his cause as numerous phone calls and emails over months weren’t fixing the problem. Unfortunately I got no response to my weekend tweet. As you can imagine, I was not overly delighted.

I went back to the travel company and reiterated the problem and hashtagged the words bad customer service ( just like this – bad #customerservice). Within a few minutes they replied that they had missed my tweet and they were now following me so that I could DM. In non-Twitter language, they basically apologised for missing my tweet, honoured me by clicking follow and then asked me to take the query offline for immediate attention on a Direct Message.

I sent a Direct Message (a private tweet) and outlined the problem. They promised to escalate it and get a resolution. I then thanked them, privately and publicly for a timely response.

I had hoped that the problem would be fixed immediately but unfortunately due to other internal factors it didn’t. It didn’t go to plan but each time I enquired the person responsible for social media replied promptly and with great empathy. They used statements like, “Thank you for your kind words and I understand your frustration” and, “I’m so sorry”.

Finally, two weeks later the money is being refunded. Yay.

I am not going to name and shame the company as I am seriously impressed with their social media responses.

I loved that they took my problem offline with tact and honour. I deeply appreciated that they responded to me immediately instead of banning, blocking me or ignoring me. I felt listened to, and for the most part I felt reassured that they were going to fix the problem.

Futurist, Craig Rispin told a group of us this year that companies today need to be high tech AND high touch. I have always advocated that no company is perfect and that every company needs systems and policies to fix problems and say sorry properly.

If you have been fearing social media because of the risk of upset customers, don’t.  Start by developing a good strategy for fixing customer’s problems and a good system for responding quickly, honestly and effectively.

Needless to say this travel company has won my affection and respect.Australia business coach Danielle Storey discusses ways to improve customer service.

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