12 January 2015
Made it back to London from New York this morning. I am amazed at how smoothly the flight went last night. It may astound a few but after 25 years in the travel industry, I will admit that I have a fear of flying (not news to my friends and family). Between the furiously fast tail winds from the various storms, the many nuts now terrorizing our freedom and just being scared, well, I am really pleased how easy it all went. The flight was empty and I had 3 seats to myself. There was absolutely no turbulence and that tail wind made our flight time very short at only 5 and a ½ hours. Wish each trip across the Atlantic could go like that.
Once I settled, I got back into work mode. Tweeting was the first port of call. I want to be more creative and engaging this year for both my own businesses and my clients and that takes time to research and write up. As I was looking around at interesting articles and information, I came across a very good blog about how to handle negative feedback onTwitter. Twitter makes it very easy to complain about and to businesses and organisations so, at some point, most of us will come across negative comments. There is a reality and that is people will more quickly tell you what is wrong than what is right about what you do – it is the nature of the beast to moan. And being able to do so very publicly makes it feel all the more worthwhile. Admittedly I have done my fair share of telling off businesses but, to be fair, I also do compliment where one is due.
As I have knowledge of both sides (told off as well as received), I have good experience at what works in a reply and what doesn’t. That blog pretty much nails it. Ignoring a negative comment is probably the worst thing you can do for your business. Don’t reply that you will respond only as a DM. The conversation may go that way but let it happen and let the public know you care enough to reply publicly. You need to be real and respond in a natural and polite way. The number of times I have been given scripted replies on twitter (you can so tell) is ridiculous.
Each complaint is individual so treat the person that way. A major pet peeve is when the responder doesn’t tell you their name (first name). It is a clear sign there is a junior answering and working off pre-written standard tweet replies. Thank the tweeter for bringing up the issue and assure you want to deal with it fairly and quickly.
None of these points are rocket science. Twitter is all about a natural engagement. The public have now gotten off the phone and on to social media when it comes to complaining. You can’t stop that so use it to your advantage. I have had very good outcomes after tweeting complaints with businesses such as British Gas, Tescos and Santander to name a few. Their replies to start off with were pretty poor but the point is they took notice and quickly. Twitter complaining works but those companies need to get their twitter customer service working better too. The reality should be any publicity is good publicity but it is how it is handled that will determine the good guys from the poor performers. Get it wrong and you could easily have a catastrophe on your hands.
Twitter is still as powerful as ever. Big businesses are putting more money into servicing via twitter. It is though down to the quality of the reply that will ultimately count.
They need to try just a bit harder.