Vampire! The very word conjures a dark, chilly night, a full moon shining in through bedroom windows, and a tall pale creature that steps forward thirsting for your blood, or a hunky Robert Pattinson from the Twilight movies. Either image rarely haunts the minds of customer service leaders, that is until they get attacked by The Social Vampire.

Meet the Social Vampire

The Social Vampire comes from the netherworlds of Social Media and he or she wants blood — your business’s blood. These creatures leave deadly bite marks on your brand reputation and keep rising back from the dead when you thought they were gone. The Social Vampire will relentlessly stalk you in social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Customer Forums.

Steps to Fight the Social Vampire
If your customer service organization is fighting off a Social Vampire, or you fear you might become a victim, here are some steps to understand and guard against these relentless creatures.

Step 1 – Understand the Social Vampire and Their “Maker”
Storybook vampires are “made” or created by older vampires who then join the vampire ranks. Social Vampires, on the other hand, are created by companies from the ranks of their own customers, who turn and feast on their creators.

The chief cause of a customer growing social fangs and seeking your virtual throat is bad customer service. Obviously, all customers become unhappy when their customer experience does not go as desired. But unhappy customers generally go away and may tell a friend or two about their negative experience. The transformation into a Social Vampire is more complex and dangerous – they will spill blood by telling the entire social sphere about how they were wrongfully treated.

Step 2 – Recognize the Reasons Behind their Transformation
Social Vampires are driven by frustration, isolation, and a profound sense of grievance. Here are some simple questions to assess whether Social Vampires are likely to strike your brand once the sun goes down:

  • Be honest, how easy is it for customers to leave? The harder it is for them to select another provider, the greater their need and anxiety for solving problems through customer service.
  • Are your customer’s problems being addressed by the right people? The longer it takes to find the right answer, the more you increase their unhappiness. The level of frustration dramatically increases if multiple conversations are required.
  • In terms of touch points, how accessible is your operation? Customers still prefer voice conversations, but email, chat, SMS, etc. make it easier for the customer to reach you, which reduces their sense of isolation. And, if there is one trait that compels someone to go Social, it is that sense of isolation.
  • How consistent is your customer service? If a customer’s experience varies wildly across organization, from being treated like a prince to being treated like a prince of darkness, he or she will always remember the worst service.

These factors can make an unhappy customer into an irate customer who harasses your customer service representatives. But that special leap into becoming a Social Vampire requires one more thing – social fluency.

Step 3: Study the Social Dynamic
Social Vampires by definition live in Social Media. So if a customer cannot find his or her way there, then your problem is contained within your operations. But, hoping that your angriest customers can’t find their way into Social Media is a faint wish. Here’s why:

  1. Today, social media is a viable and accepted customer service channel. Increasingly, consumers are leveraging Twitter, Facebook, and the web for everyday service requests.
  2. As Marketing spends more money on Social campaigns, customers pour into the social channels and expect them as customer service channels. For the customer, Social is just another interaction channel.
  3. It is becoming an open secret that complaining on Twitter, Facebook, etc. gets results. Why wouldn’t a happy customer put on fake plastic fangs and black cape if it means a speedier resolution?

So how do you fight or at least contain the Social Vampires? Stay tuned for the next blog – The Social Vampire Survival Guide. In the meantime, find out how Genesys Social Engagement can help ensure your success in social media and avoid the social vampire.

Read more: The Social Vampire Survival Guide