How a company ‘gets personal’ via social media

In summary The companies who take the time to respond to a complaint, in addition to those who respond to praise, are the ones I end up recommending

Connecting with customers via social media can be immediate, personal and effective. I had an interesting experience yesterday. I ordered lunch from Jason’s Deli: a cup of soup, a tuna melt, and some baked Lay’s potato chips. After eating half my sandwich, I decided to do some research on the nutrition information in my lunch, just out of curiosity.

While still in shock, I managed to tweet my concerns while tagging Jason’s Deli. Within the hour, I was getting replied back by the @jasonsdeli account, promising an explanation from their nutritionist. This explanation did come later as an email and included:

  1. Why the sandwich was over 900 calories
  2. Recommendations for how I could alter my order next time to have a lower-calorie Tuna Melt
  3. Suggestions on other more calorie-conscious choices that wouldn’t require me to customize my order at all.

Now, why am I sharing all this with you? Not because I care about sharing my diet decisions (or think you care about my diet decisions), but as a reminder of how negative customer feedback can be turned into a positive experience for the consumer – and have them remain a recurring customer.

We get asked all the time if WE the agency can manage our client’s social media presence on their behalf. Not only is that not a transparent way of using what is intended to be a direct line of contact with the person or company these profiles represent, but how would an advertising exec respond to a complaint about the number of calories in a particular menu item? Would their response have the same level of detail that YOU could provide? Likely not.

Communicating with your customers directly gives you the opportunity to control what is being said about your company – even after negative feedback has been shared. It can act as “damage control,” or help clear up a misunderstanding. It can even point the customer in the direction of what they may ACTUALLY be looking for, but for some reason haven’t discovered just yet. In short, having that direct line of contact helps make the company appear not only human, but appear to be truly interested in meeting their customers’ needs.

Not to mention, customer feedback and dialogue over social media is public domain. In regards to my Tuna Melt of yesterday, my Twitter network AND the Jason’s Deli Twitter network viewed the dialogue I had with Jason’s Deli (up to the email, which contained information I specifically was interested in, but might not appeal to their other customers). It turned my one declaration of fault into a conversation that was two-sided, and showed that the company cared about my concern over calories.

Truth be told, the companies who take the time to respond to a complaint, in addition to those who respond to praise, are the ones I end up recommending my networks without provocation. It’s a win-win.