The Spotlight Episode Eleven: Follow Up Fall Out Fuss

From September 19, 2011

Location: A major company located in a major metropolitan area.

The situation: The company has invested a tremendous amount of money, time and energy into creating an effective social media program to go along with their other marketing and PR efforts. They have a profile or page on all of the leading social media sites and contribute content regularly. They also have a blog and it is well-read by potential clients and existing customers. A problem arises when the company discovers an issue with one of their products. The product is not dangerous, but a defect can cause frustration among consumers that could lead to customers choosing a competitor. Although the company issues a recall of the product and they make good on any issues customers and clients are having, they choose to ignore the flood of negative feedback and comments on their social media pages and blog. The company fears leaving any public acknowledgement of the problem on their various social media sites or their blog since those comments will be there permanently. This is causing those who leave comments to feel as if they are being ignored and has resulted in a backlash on consumer websites and personal blogs and social media efforts. Before long, despite all of their attempts to correct the issue and resolve problems, the internet is flooded with almost nothing but negative comments from consumers who are angry at the company’s silence to their requests and concerns.

The solution: Because he keeps his fingers on the pulse of business and businesses using public relations, marketing and social media efforts, the Spotlight hears of the issues experienced by the company and soon spots the company’s problem. Donning his costume and his Spotlight of Truth ring he flies to the corporate headquarters. He convenes a meeting with the top brass of the company, as well as their marketing crew, and begins to instruct them on how using social media to publicly fix a problem can bring greater benefits than choosing to ignore comments posted online.

Quickly, the Spotlight helps the marketing crew construct messages that respond directly, publicly and online to the concerns and questions raised by consumers on the internet. Clear and concise instructions for correcting the problems are posted and the marketing teams reaches out directly with bloggers and others who have posted their concerns, fixing their problems, assuring them that their concerns have been heard, understood and corrections are being implemented.

Eventually, those who spend time writing their complaints now begin to post about how the company assuaged their concerns, fixed their problem and did so publicly so that everyone could see it. The tide begins to turn and the company’s image begins to change from one that does not care about customers, to one that will publicly fix the concerns of those who are experiencing problems. While this does not erase the problem that caused the statements in the first place, it shows that the company cares and works with customer feedback to create a richer and my dynamic customer experience.

In the coming weeks and months, the company begins to use social media as a kind of focus group. They ask directly for input from customers on new products and test out new concepts publicly. Before long, the company is seen as cutting edge and responsive to client needs, with good will expressed online, helping to erase the issues of the past.

From September 19, 2011

The Spotlight says: Don’t try to hide from problems and negative comments. Remember, social media is a very powerful tool and gives you direct access to your public, potential clients and customers. If problems arise and negative comments appear, don’t run from it, but use it as an opportunity to publicly change people’s minds and show that you care and are responsive to customer needs. This will create the impression of real people working for the company instead of a faceless corporation only concerned with profits and image.

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