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This guest post is by Daley Epstein, a contributing writer for SmartBrief. She reported live from South by Southwest in Austin for the past week.
When an angry, dissatisfied customer uses Twitter, it doesn’t matter whether he’s a big or little spender — each holds the same presence on the Internet, said Rob La Gesse, director of media marketing at Rackspace Hosting, while speaking at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival. La Gesse suggests an old-fashioned, yet underused, approach toward social media: Customer love. He offers three things to keep in mind when dealing with a customer:
- Don’t freak out. Customers aren’t evil!
- They just need your help — and they may want to vent while they get it.
- You probably broke a promise or have a broken process.
“If you don’t love working with customers, you shouldn’t be in social media,” La Gesse said. “Its supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.”
Part of the challenge, according to La Gesse, is to educate and amaze the customer. Companies can educate customers by teaching them what they are doing wrong, and how they can avoid making that mistake again.
“The customer is not always right,” he says. And when the customers aren’t right, it’s up to you to patiently set them straight. We often underestimate the effect that simple acts of kindness can have on a customer, so humanizing your relationship with the customer and showing them you actually care can be huge.M any companies fail to personalize the relationships with their customers — so every little step you take will be noticed.
Being human is crucial to social media success, so don’t be afraid to admit if you make a mistake. Be transparent and admit you erred. How you react to your mistake is the key aspect in the entire incident.
Above all, caring is the most important thing. So when evaluating your company’s success, “remember to measure your ROI in smiles — not dollars,” La Gesse said.