I don’t want to scare anyone but I am that bane of poor email marketing: a complainer. I know this runs counter to my British heritage, but if something I’ve bought doesn’t work, I put a lot of effort into getting it repaired, replaced or obtaining a refund.
I’ve used the threat of social media publicity but, so far, haven’t had to carry it out. A quick perusal of Facebook tends to indicate I am not the norm. The number of comments on such posts clearly shows that people will consider such criticisms when deciding on a purchase.
It should come as no surprise that email marketing is not all about the sale. The main intent is retention. We want to sell and sell again to each person on our email marketing lists. In fact, we have a need to form a relationship with them. Omnichannel provides a route to this end.
I’ve been considering a new host for a website. From Facebook comments it is apparent that some of the major players have opted for long term contracts and accepted that few will renew, the very antithesis of email marketing. The main criticisms point to way to what we should concentrate on.
1/ There is a disconnect between customer service and marketing. The sales team says one thing, the person answering a query says something different. There is no consistency in approach.
2/ Customers are passed to people who have no expertise in their particular problem. Being told they will phoned by someone who knows what they are talking about is bad enough. Not receiving the call would be enough to put off any potential customer.
3/ Customers feel it is a waste of time complaining, so are lost to the company. They are made to feel that they are at fault and are seen as a problem for the company.
4/ Some customer relations departments suggests they are out of the loop and that no blame should be attached to them. In some cases they have identified a systems fault, told the complainant who then posts it on Facebook.
If you have a Facebook page and someone complains, treat the matter as a normal complaint. Don’t criticise them as it reads terribly. A bland, ‘I am sorry that our level of service did not reach the standard you anticipated.’ is acceptable even with a ‘however, I would like to point out . . .’ following. Remember that you will be judged on your response.
Don’t just say that ‘your business is important to us’, ensure that your comments reflect it. If you’ve responded reasonably to a complaint then you will have signalled a willingness to listen. If you have failed a customer in some way you should rectify the problem and make it apparent what you have done.
Learn from such comments. There is little worse from a prospective customer’s point of view than a common problem unresolved. Get it right first time. The best way to limit criticisms on social media is to have a consistent high level of customer service across all your departments.