Hertz is the first car rental company to integrate social customer service into its business.
Customers can now resolve service problems by tweeting at the brand.
"It is time to get over this misconception that brands can ignore tweets about their brand because social media is relatively inconsequential in comparison to other channels like phone or email," said Joshua March, CEO of Conversocial, the company working with Hertz.
Conversocial helps brands merge social media and customer service.
Somewhere between 50 and 80 percent of tweets companies require actionable response, March told us.
We spoke with March about why it's important for companies to respond to customer tweets--even negative ones.
Business Insider: Are many companies afraid to respond to negative tweets?
March: There is definitely an understandable reticence towards responding to negative tweets about your brand. A study that we commissioned with NYU researchers we commissioned last year found that 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from companies when they discover they ignore customer complaints online. With Twitter increasingly becoming a prominent means of communication between consumers and corporations, brands must respond to negative tweets rather than sweep them under the rug.
Business Insider: What risk do companies take by not responding to negative tweets?
March: Failing to deliver great customer service over social channels like Twitter can carry big risks. Complaints and questions voiced on social media platforms are highly visible to other customers, and if you fail to acknowledge them your reputation can quickly deteriorate. There are certain tweets that are malicious and don't merit a response, but even those critical to a business, or especially so, need to be addressed.
Business Insider: How should companies be responding to positive tweets?
March: It’s important to think prudently when customers take the time to praise your brand via social media. Companies should proactively monitor positive sentiment, either ReTweet or @reply to the customer who provided the positive feedback, send exclusive content through a Direct Message, or give them public praise on weekly events like “Follow Friday.” In an era of transient loyalty, building those relationships in the very public forum of Twitter can make the difference between increased click-throughs to your brands’ content and driving customers to a competitor.
Business Insider: What about when tweets are negative?
March: On a high-volume, fast-moving platform like Twitter, negative tweets are bound to happen one way or another. The important thing to remember is that acknowledging mistakes and facing them head on rather than ignoring them is key.
Brands should generally ignore trolls who are just sounding off without a genuine complaint— better not to engage or encourage. But just because someone is angry it doesn't mean they're trolling. If there are general negative tweets, try and engage them positively.
Business Insider: What's an example of a brand doing this?
March: GoDaddy saw many customers tweeting that they were leaving because they didn't like the GoDaddy SuperBowl advertising from this past year. GoDaddy engaged when a customer insisted she was leaving, so GoDaddy said sorry she didn't like the advertising, and offered to help with moving domains to another platform to ensure positive experience even in leaving.
If it’s a real issue, resolve it publicly if possible so that others can see (or if needed go to private DMs, then take public again when resolved - customers will often then make a public response saying how it's resolved which is great for brand). Don't take it to other channels, as it can annoy customers and shows you're not taking social seriously. The big takeaway is to respond to customers in the channel they select.
Business Insider: How can brands build their identities on Twitter?
March: It’s key that brands engage one-on-one with their customers, be open and transparent, resolve real issues, and actually embrace the feedback received. Use that feedback you receive as a brand to drive improvement to the business. Social is a barometer of what your customers are thinking— they use it to share customer service issues, product feedback, thoughts on company strategy, etc. In the end, customers will respect you if you show that you’re really listening.
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