I’ve recommended to many of my clients and colleagues that they should start using Social Media as a customer service tool. Social Media is immediate and gives customers, clients – both happy and disgruntled – a public platform to air their compliments and complaints. If you’re going to have a presence in social media, it needs to be monitored closely, especially for big companies with big brands to protect, and your staff need to be empowered to respond.
Yesterday I was finally fed up. I had been calling Fitness First every day this week to cancel my gym membership. I hurt my back a few months ago and I went from visiting the gym 5 days a week to not going even once in 4 months. At no point did the gym contact me to see what had happened but that’s another marketing retention strategy and discussion. Anyway, I could not get through on the internet – they want you to call so they can try to talk you out of it, of course. I could not get through on the phone, to head office or my local branch, but what was most annoying was that I was waiting on hold for 10 minutes before the automated system would tell me that I could not speak to anyone. So I resorted to venting my frustration on Fitness First’s Facebook Page.
And this is where it all turned around.
I was going to cancel my membership anyway (because I prefer to support an independent gym if I can but also because I legitimately injured myself and could not go and it seemed pointless to keep paying any longer) but by the time I put up the facebook post I was furious and my opinion of this brand was terrible. But then it all changed.
- I posted my frustration at about 10am on Wednesday 30th November.
- Within 3 minutes Fitness First had commented on my post saying someone would call me.
- Within 5 minutes of that post I had a call from an incredibly friendly and helpful Fitness First employee who gave me several options but did not try to disuade, apologised and rectified the problem in a short phone call.
By using Social Media as a customer service tool Fitness First turned my opinion around in less than 10 minutes. So to show my gratitude, I returned to their Facebook page and posted my good experience so that their users could see the full story.
For companies that are risk averse and struggling with how to integrate social media into their digital strategy and communications – customer service is probably a good starting point.
Click here to read about some of my social media mistakes.