7 Best Practices for your Social Media Crisis Mode (Part Two)

Today, we continue with part two of our series in social media crisis management, joined again by our friend Jonathan Bevis, the director of marketing for Cook Portable Warehouses!

3. Never stonewall someone, and don’t remove their comment(s).

Sometimes the conversation doesn’t go as planned. Maybe the customers have more to say about a specific complaint, or are still angered after your initial response. That’s common. What’s important in these situations is to keep the conversation open and civil. Knowing when to move the conversation into more private sectors (such as direct messaging in Twitter, or Facebook messaging) is essential. Being transparent and honest is crucial, as anyone can screenshot a private message and use it against you.

Jonathan says:

“When deciding whether a conversation is appropriate for a public or private forum, I try to anticipate where the conversation might lead and what the outcome may be.  For example, if I believe the conversation has the potential to embarrass the customer or if I need the customer to provide personal information, I usually move the conversation to a private arena through email or direct messaging.”

Once the conversation has migrated, this is not a cue to delete the public thread or comments. The easiest way to offend someone is to try and mute them. If the comments are publically offensive (including vulgar language or images) then it is okay to remove them. Using common sense in these scenarios often does not fail, just make sure that you’re fan base knows exactly what has occurred and why you removed the offensive posts.

“There have been a few occasions, which required me to delete a post due to offensive language.  I don’t mind constructive criticism being visible to the public; especially when we are able to engage that customer in a meaningful dialog and make something positive happen.  However, I have a very strict policy against profanity or vulgarity.  If a customer decides to use that kind of language, I will immediately remove the post and make an attempt to contact them directly so we can have a conversation in private.  I have found that most people are reasonable and appreciate your efforts to resolve their complaint.”

4. Listen and learn.

A proper crisis plan is always being updated with new information and situations. This involves one of the most integral parts of any crisis situation—listen. If a customer or many customers have the same complaint, relaying this information to the proper people can help prevent it from happening again, and offer an opportunity to get a detailed, proper, and thorough response from the decision makers within your brand.

Jonathan says:

Social media, when used correctly, serves as tremendous tool for listening to your customers.  I believe social media provides the best value and ROI when it is used to actively engage your customers in conversations about things that are important to them. I am always excited when a customer engages with us and provides suggestions on how we might improve our business.  That feedback is absolutely invaluable.  I routinely bring customer feedback into discussions with our executive team and we use it to guide our decisions on a range of issues including changes to our building designs.

As an example, we recently decided to modify the roof pitch on one of our buildings due, in large part, to feedback we received through social media.  Customers suggested that changing the roof pitch would make our design more attractive and they were right.  The difficult part is establishing a culture within your company that values customer feedback and isn’t afraid to act on it.  I am very happy that we have accomplished that goal in our company.

Next time, we will conclude our series on social media crisis management. In the meantime, are you using social media to its greatest potential? Check out our next entry and see what else you can improve on, or see what else you’re doing right!

For those of us just joining us, be sure to go back to our first post in this series and read that before continuing!