Bad publicity in 140 characters

Published on 15 July 2011 by in Customer Service

customer service twitter Bad publicity in 140 characters

Last week, we saw how thousands of social media users had the power to influence where their favourite brands chose to advertise. At its peak, nearly four million messages were sent on Twitter concerning the recent News of the World scandal and, according to new research, over 25.5 per cent of these tweets referenced those advertisers due to feature in the paper.

Of course, as the week progressed it became apparent that advertisers, pressured by public demand, would be leaving the publication. This incident should be a wake-up call to those companies not currently monitoring their reputation on social media sites like Twitter. Let’s take a look at the following situation:

An individual has a bad experience with a company and, as a result, shares their dissatisfaction in a tweet to their 27 followers, the average number of users who follow every Twitter account. As a result, 27 people are now aware of that company’s poor customer service.

Empathising with this tweet, three of these followers decide to share that tweet via a retweet (a method which updates the original message and posts it to their own Twitter friends). These individuals have a combined follower count of 81.

So, at present 108 people are now aware of this poor customer service.

Now, imagine someone with over 1,000 followers retweeted this negative message. Now, potentially over 1,100 customers are aware of this poor experience.

Social media gives consumers the opportunity to quickly share experiences; both good and bad. Bad news can travel quickly (as we saw last week) and companies need to be able to rapidly assess and respond to a potential public relations crisis when they emerge on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Similarly, a good customer experience can be shared just a quickly. Last month, a Twitter user posted a letter from a customer manager at Sainsbury’s, replying to a message sent by her 3-year-old daughter. This picture was shared so many times on Twitter, it became a trending topic. Sainsbury’s customer service was unanimously praised by thousands of different social media users.

Regardless of the sentiment though, consumers are talking to brands on these platforms; it’s up to you to manage their experiences.

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