Are you a shoe addict like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City? Well, I can tell you that I am nowhere close to her shoe collection or obsession. For most, buying shoes over the Internet is a normal occurrence. However, I typically am one that prefers to try shoes on before I make a decision to purchase them. Last week was unusual.
I purchased two pairs of shoes from an online vendor that I’ve never used before (The name will remain anonymous). I was feeling brave. The website happened to have both of the shoes I was looking for and in my size. What really sold me was their free shipping and free returns. This makes customers like myself feel safe knowing that if the shoes do not fit, they could easily return them without paying anything extra. This is always a bonus. Another thing I liked was their prices. I was able to receive a 20% discount on my shoes. I was excited because most of the places I had looked didn’t have their prices. I went for the plunge, in hopes this wasn’t a scam.
After placing my order, I received a confirmation email and then later, my tracking information. The shoes arrived faster than I anticipated, delivering after only two days. I was very impressed. I tried on both pairs of shoes, but discovered one pair didn’t fit. I was disappointed but knew I was able to return the shoes for free. I returned the shoes using their prepaid shipping label and dropped it off at the UPS store Monday morning. Yesterday I received an email saying the company had gotten my shoes. They said it would take 3-5 business days for my refund.
On this particular day I decided to do some research on the company. I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t you do that before you purchased from them? Remember, I was just going on a whim. I decided to see if they had any social media accounts and landed on their Facebook page. I learned that most people were using Facebook to complain about the company. Is that what people think Facebook pages are for? The claims on their page were quite bold. People complained about their customer service, email list subscriptions, but mostly, their returns. I couldn’t stop reading comments from customers on their Facebook page. I noticed that people complained on their Twitter page too, but nothing like Facebook. Would I be refunded? I continue looking at my checking account. No refund yet but I am keeping my fingers crossed. After reading the reviews on Facebook, I don’t have much confidence in the company about the returns.
What does my shoe story have to do about anything? After investigating this particular shoe company, it really got me thinking about brands on social media. Our society today is focused online and social media seems to be blooming more than ever for brands. Businesses are using Facebook as another way to market their brand and communicate with their customers. Research has been proven that brands that interact and engage on social media tend to have higher loyalty from customers. Yet some businesses don’t have a social media presence at all, while others have accounts but don’t seem to have any activity or engagement. Brands need to be consistent. How do you portray your brand on social media?
The shoe company’s Facebook page had numerous complaints and the administrator seemed to reply to most of those customers. While I applaud them for having a Facebook page, I don’t think they are using their social media to their fullest potential. I will explain why.
Engagement is very important to consumers. Truthfully, many businesses don’t understand the impact social media has on their brand. You have the ability to control how your brand is perceived to your audience. Because this particular shoe company has an overwhelming amount of negative reviews, there is no question that it has affected their reputation. I googled the company’s name and immediately found results that consisted of complaints and the likelihood it was a total scam. Consumers rely on the feedback from others. It is human nature for us to want to know the experience others had before making a decision. If large amounts of people are telling others not to purchase, it will make you think twice. How can this company expect to grow and become successful with a bad reputation?
Excellent Customer Service is a Necessity on Social Media
Your brand’s job is to eliminate any doubt for consumers. You should never ignore negative comments or emails on social media. Generally, customers just want to vent about their frustrations. They want to be heard. Your job is to listen and offer suggestions for how you can help ease their frustrations. You never know, you might need to adjust how you do business. The bottom line is that you have to express and show that you care about your customers. Show that you’re concerned about their happiness and solving their problems. Be genuine and don’t be afraid to admit you’ve made a mistake. Does your brand have a plan on how to handle negative feedback?
Why do consumers follow brands on social media? Most follow brands because they are counting on incentives. I know I’m guilty of following brands for this very reason. Therefore, it is imperative that your social media campaign offers incentives to customers. Incentives can range from discounts, freebies, insights into products, contests, or loyalty programs. By doing this, it will create more opportunities for engagement and eventually those customers will become loyal customers. If you think about the brands you follow on social media, you pay attention to the brands that offers exclusive deals, right?
One thing companies struggle with is managing their engagement. Are you making engagement a priority on social media? If not, you need to be because that’s where you’ll find your audience. Listening to your audience does not mean engaging. You should have conversations.
Let’s take a look at one shoe company that rock at social media and customer service. Can you guess what company?
It is no secret that Zappos has awesome customer service. They offer customers free two-day shipping and free returns. When you look at their Facebook and Twitter accounts, they aren’t solely filled with information on their products. They provide customers with additional valuable content, such as contests or videos. Further, they don’t post the same information on all social accounts. It is obvious they have different strategies for their social media accounts. Overall, their social media is positive. Many customers comment about the company’s awesome customer service. I personally like that their social media has personality. The company isn’t afraid to use humor either. I feel like I’m engaging with real people and not automated messages.
What other brands do you think rock at social media? Are you making the most out of your social media?